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World Uyghur Congress, 24 April 2020

WUC Welcomes Ramadan 2020
On Friday 24, the WUC welcomed the holy month of Ramadan by wishing Muslims all over the world a happy ramadan, and asking them to keep the Uyghurs in their prayers and thoughts. “For three years, Uyghurs have been waiting for the Muslim world to speak on our behalf and hold the Chinese government accountable,” WUC President Dolkun Isa stated. “During Ramadan in 2020, we urge Muslim leaders around the world to reconnect with the beliefs and values they hold and to do what is right by demanding China stop its crimes against humanity against Uyghurs.”  

To draw attention to the persecution of Uyghurs during the month of Ramadan, the WUC will be sharing a series of videos from Uyghur activists and community members from around the world. Activists will discuss what Ramadan means to them, the current situation in East Turkistan and the impacts that the CCP’s persecution has had on their lives. These videos aim to show the real human consequences of the CCP’s persecution of the Uyghur people through their various experiences of observing Ramadan. Behind the news stories of China’s repression of Uyghurs are millions of people who are suffering, cut off from their community and are being denied their basic rights.

WUC Staff Writes for the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Blog
Rahime Mahmut, WUC’s UK Head of Office has written a blog post on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Blog. As a member of the Uyghur community, she highlighted the discrimination and the persecution members of her community face in East Turkistan, as well as in the diaspora, including her own personal experience of oppression. ‘’My work as an interpreter and translator brings me into contact with first-hand accounts of suffering in the notorious 21st century concentration camps, as well as the heart wrenching tales of mothers and fathers who have lost their children, young and old… The most painful part of the job is not being able to offer words of comfort and hope in the midst of the torment.’’

She also provided practical advice on how we can all support the Uyghur cause.

WUC’s Press release on China’s Nuclear Testing in East Turkistan
The WUC has issued a press release after reports that the Chinese government has restarted its practice of testing nuclear weapons at Lop Nur in East Turkistan. The U.S. State Department found that the Chinese government has been carrying out underground tests of nuclear weapons at Lop Nur. Not only would this violate the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) of which China is signatory, but also puts millions of Uyghurs and living in East Turkistan at risk of serious side-effects. “Nuclear testing from the Chinese government in Lop Nur in East Turkistan from 1964-1996 affected millions of Uyghurs and has left a legacy of destruction and discrimination,” WUC President Dolkun Isa stated. “The fact that the Chinese government is reportedly restarting this destructive practice speaks to the CCP’s complete indifference to Uyghur lives, health and well-being.”

China ranked #177 in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index
Reporters Without Borders have recently released their 2020 World Press Freedom Index. Without surprise, China has earned one of the lowest rankings, with #177, just before three countries. Freedom of expression for Uyghurs is effectively non-existent. Many Uyghur websites have been shut down and their administrators imprisoned on charges of ‘‘harming ethnic unity‘‘ or ‘‘endangering state security‘‘. Ilham Tohti, the Uyghur economist, writer and professor who founded the website ‘‘‘‘ to promote conciliation between Uyghur and Chinese, arrested in 2014 on and convicted of ‘‘inciting separatism‘‘ remains one of the most blatant cases of large-scale attack on freedom of expression.

Amnesty International Calls to Join the Tashpolat Tiyip Campaign
On Monday, Amnesty International called on everyone to join their campaign to release the Uyghur scholar, Tashpolat Tiyip. Tiyip was the President of Xinjiang University in East Turkistan. Following a meeting of Communist Party cadres on March 31, 2017, Tiyip was removed from his position. In the same year, while he was traveling to Germany with a group of students for a conference, he was detained at Beijing airport, and he forcibly disappeared. He was detained for a perceived lack of sincerity in implementing the doctrine of the Chinese government. He was praised for his commitment to serving the party with complete obedience, including “strictly implementing political ideology,”. Sometime after his disappearance in 2017, Tiyip was sentenced to death (with a two year reprieve) in a secret trial.

China Runs Disinformation Campaign in the EU
On Tuesday, a report published by the European External Action Service’s StratCom division (EEAS) points out that the Chinese and Russian officials and state-backed actors are carrying out a misinformation campaign and conspiracy theories in the EU amid the COVID-19 crisis. China has been criticized for its mismanagement of the crisis and the heavy censorship of information related to the pandemic. Efforts are now deployed to improve the country’s image and save its reputation. “China has continued to run a global disinformation campaign to deflect blame for the outbreak of the pandemic and improve its international image. Both overt and covert tactics have been observed,” the report said.

Uyghur Taxi Driver Sentenced for 16 years
Chinese authorities in Ghulja in EastTurkistan have sentenced Shireli Memtili, a Uyghur taxi driver, to more than 16 years in prison for transporting an “illegal” religious figure and jailed his mother for a decade, according to RadioFreeAsia.