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Weekly Brief, 21 July 2023

Weekly Brief, 21 July 2023


The WUC Concerned About China’s New Wave of “Strike Hard” Campaigns Against the Uyghurs
According to RFA, the Hotan Prefecture Public Security Bureau in East Turkistan is currently carrying out and further planning strike-hard campaigns until September 30 to “ensure the protection of security within the region”. The campaign prohibits any gatherings of more than 30 people within 100 days. Watching and sharing any forbidden content and reading the Quran are also considered illegal. A Chinese police officer said that the 100-day strike hard measures to curb activities deemed criminal are in effect continuously throughout the year. 

The crackdown coincides with the 14th anniversary of the July 5 Urumchi massacre, where hundreds of Uyghurs were killed, and Chinese police forces injured thousands. The Chinese government abused the Urumchi protest to create a pretext upon which repressive measures against the Uyghurs of East Turkistan were implemented. 

The WUC Joins NGOs in Solidarity With Chinese Human Rights Lawyers
On July 10, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), along with over 60 organisations, bar associations, scholars, and Chinese human rights activists, signed a joint statement addressed to the international community regarding the repression of Chinese human rights lawyers. According to UN experts, more than 300 human rights lawyers have been harassed, detained, and disappeared since 2015, and their profession has been “effectively criminalised in China” since then. 

In prison, arrested human rights lawyers often face physical and psychological torture and ill-treatment. Moreover, they are not allowed to speak to their relatives and have no access to medical care despite health issues. 

In the letter, the human rights defenders call the international community to urge the Chinese government to:

  • End its crackdown on human rights lawyers and defenders;
  • Immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily detained;
  • Change laws and regulations, including national security legislation, its Criminal Law, and Criminal Procedure Law, to bring them into full compliance with international human rights standards; and meaningfully cooperate with the United Nations’ human rights bodies to that end. 

The WUC Welcomes New Draft Bill Re-introduced by US Lawmakers
On July 18, US lawmakers introduced a new draft bill that would expand the scope of the past law to target companies that do business with sanctioned entities. Thus, the law could punish companies engaging with individuals or entities responsible for Uyghur human rights violations. If passed, the Sanctioning Supporters of Slave Labor Act would allow US government agencies to sanction companies such as Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC or Bingtuan) and freeze their assets. The bill is an expansion of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act that bans all entities which support the Chinese Communist Party’s violations of Uyghur human rights. US Senator Marco Rubio commented on the draft bill: “Not only should China’s genocidal regime answer for the crimes they are committing but also the companies that profit from these atrocities.”

WUC President Meets With American and Canadian Policymakers in Washington D.C.
On July 19, the WUC President, Dolkun Isa, attended the Captive Nations Summit in Washington, D.C., organised by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Each year the summit is held to display American solidarity with nations subjugated by communism. The event brings together leaders, international experts, and human rights activists to discuss the effects of communism and the lessons learned for current and future generations of human rights defenders. 

During the Summit, Mr. Isa met with Ambassador Bremberg, who most recently served as Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, and Dr. Lee, the founder of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Additionally, he met with Canadian MPs and US lawmakers to discuss the inter-parliamentary topics focused on Uyghur Slave Labour. During the meeting, the group called companies to end all links to Uyghur forced labor in their supply chains. 

On July 20, the WUC President joined a reception to honour the contributions of the Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedoms, Nury Turkel. In his opening speech, President Isa said: “I am pleased to be here today for this memorable occasion, highlighting the valuable work of my long-time friend and colleague, Nury Turkel, and the efforts of all the policymakers present today. Nury has contributed greatly to protecting the fundamental rights of his community and many persecuted peoples.”

He also showed his gratitude to Canadian MPs who were present and U.S. Representatives for their tireless work in welcoming 10,000 Uyghur refugees to Canada and for adopting the first legislation on Uyghur forced labour (UFLPA) in the world. 

The WUC Submits Report to UN UPR on China
On July 18, the World Uyghur Congress submitted a report for the 45th cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of China. The report highlights China’s use of counter-terrorism act in the name of national security to target Uyghur and other Turkic populations living in East Turkistan. Under this law the local authorities apply various discriminatory measures against the Uyghurs such as detaining them in internment camps, implementing surveillance equipment in the Uyghur region, gathering physical and biological data without permission.The document also focused on the women’s rights violations in East Turkistan which includes forced sterilisation and birth control policies, physical and sexual abuse and forced marriages. Lastly, children’s rights were also mentioned in the report.

The WUC Reiterates Criticism Over VW’s Audit of Urumchi Plant
Despite mounting criticism from WUC, investors, and human rights organisations, regarding the inefficiency of performing an internal audit at the VW Urumchi plant due to a crackdown on Uyghurs in the region, the VW group announced that it remained confident in conducting an audit. VW further stated that the audit effectively provides valuable insight into the human rights situation in East Turkistan, that human rights were a key part of its behavioural code of conduct, and that it adheres to the UN guiding principles for business and human rights.


Help the World Uyghur Congress Establish an Uyghur Cultural-Centre
The World Uyghur Congress is raising funds to establish an Uyghur Cultural-Centre in Munich; a dedicated space where the Uyghur community and everyone interested in the Uyghur culture can come together to learn and preserve the rich Uyghur cultural heritage. With the generous support and help of the Uyghur community worldwide, we have already achieved 80 % of the total amount needed to purchase the necessary facilities. Your support can help us to get the final 20 %. Please donate and share! 

Ask Volkswagen to Close its Plant in East Turkistan
Despite growing evidence of the ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs, Volkswagen continues to operate in East Turkistan. The World Uyghur Congress is collecting signatures to demand Volkswagen to close down its plant in Urumqi. Please sign here!

Support Uyghurs’ Genocide & Crimes Against Humanity Case in Argentina
The World Uyghur Congress and the Uyghur Human Rights Project have launched a criminal case in the courts of Argentina in relation to the international crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity being committed against the Uyghur people. Please donate and be a part of this historic case.