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Weekly Brief, 3 May

Weekly Brief, 3 May

NEWS

World Uyghur Congress Celebrates 20th Anniversary
The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) will commemorate its 20th anniversary from May 3-6, in Munich, Germany marking two decades of unwavering commitment to the Uyghur cause. Established in Munich in 2004, the WUC boldly represents the voices of the Uyghur people and is a symbol of hope and resilience in the face of immense challenges faced by the global Uyghur community. Celebrations in Munich will feature diverse activities such as panel discussions, cultural events, and musical performances, paying tribute to Uyghur resilience and affirming our commitment to freedom and human rights. With approximately 300 participants from over 25 countries, the 20th anniversary aims to cultivate solidarity and collective action in support of the Uyghur community’s pursuit of justice and freedom.

World Uyghur Congress Calls on Thailand to Release Uyghur Refugees After 10 Years in Detention
The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) issued a press release welcoming the communication from UN experts regarding the arbitrary detention of at least 43 Uyghur refugees in Thailand’s Immigration Facilities. Five UN Special Rapporteurs and two UN Working Groups expressed concern over the decade-long detention, seeking information from the Royal Thai Government on the men’s access to medical care, detention conditions, and communication rights. They also highlighted the forcible return of 109 Uyghurs in 2015 without assessing their protection needs, urging the Royal Thai government  to adhere to non-refoulement principles. 

The WUC furthermore urged the Thai authorities and Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to promptly release detained Uyghurs, prevent deportation to China, and provide resettlement options, emphasising the risk of persecution they face. “There needs to be an end to the indefinite and arbitrary detention of the Uyghur men in Thailand,” expressed World Uyghur Congress President, Dolkun Isa. “They should not be detained for fleeing from a repressive environment out of fear of the genocidal policies in East Turkistan.”

Chinese Espionage in Europe Considered Larger Problem
On April 28, the Nikkei Asia reported on recent arrests in Germany and charges in the UK against Chinese spies, revealing a broader trend of Chinese espionage across Europe. The targets include political offices, technology firms, universities, and diaspora communities. Despite denials from the Chinese embassy, European intelligence experts emphasise that these cases represent only a fraction of the larger problem, and could be linked to China’s attempt to manipulate Europe’s political processes. Europe’s response to Chinese espionage varies. Some countries seek closer ties with Beijing, while others express concerns but hesitate to confront China directly due to economic dependencies.

The Plight of Uyghur Culture and the Disappearance of Rahile Dawut
On April 26, the Financial Times published an article on the life of Professor Rahile Dawut, a prominent Uyghur anthropologist from East Turkistan, renowned for her work on Uyghur folklore and traditions. Rahile’s work focused on documenting Uyghur traditions and oral histories, often conducting fieldwork in remote villages. She aimed to highlight the rich cultural heritage of East Turkistan, which is under threat from modernisation and government policies promoting cultural assimilation. Despite her academic accomplishments and international acclaim, Professor Dawut disappeared in 2017, falling victim to the Chinese government’s crackdown on Uyghur intellectuals, and was sentenced to life in 2018. Her story exemplifies the broader persecution faced by Uyghurs in East Turkistan, marked by mass detentions, forced labour, and cultural eradication.

The article furthermore sheds light on the personal and collective struggles of the Uyghur diaspora as they navigate grief, activism, and hope amid ongoing repression in East Turkistan. Rahile’s daughter, Akeda, continues to advocate for her mother’s release while grappling with uncertainty and fear for her  well-being.

Report Finds U.S. Investments Flowing to Chinese Companies Involved in Uyghur Genocide
On April 18, an investigation by the bipartisan US Select Committee on the CCP uncovered that major U.S. financial institutions, MSCI and BlackRock, have funnelled over $6.5 billion into 63 Chinese companies linked to China’s military expansion and the human rights violations of the Uyghurs, through the development of technologies used to perpetrate the Uyghur genocide. 

The report furthermore calls for congressional intervention, suggesting limitations on investments in blacklisted Chinese companies and advocating for stricter disclosure requirements for U.S. firms operating in China. Additionally, the report underscores the urgent need to bolster the resilience of the U.S. financial system against potential market volatility stemming from Chinese investments. 

PARTICIPATE

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.