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Weekly Brief, 4 August 2023

Weekly Brief, 4 August 2023


Uyghurs in Germany Threatened by the CCP
On August 1, the German Newspaper ‘Sueddeutsche’ reported on the transnational repression faced by Uyghurs, Tibetans and dissidents within Germany. Detailing the various methods used by Chinese authorities, the Munich-based Uyghur community recounts the threats and harassment against their families in East Turkistan. “They have turned our relatives into hostages,” says WUC Program and Advocacy Manager, Zumretay Arkin. “The messages of the calls are always the same: Work for us, spy on the activists. Stop being an activist yourself. Stop talking to the media.” 

Despite living in Germany, a democratic country, Uyghurs continue to be targeted by Chinese authorities, impacting their lives and the cohesion of the Munich Uyghur community. 

Earlier this week the BBC reported on the transnational repression experienced by Uyghurs living in the UK. Chinese authorities in the UK use similar tactics to threaten family members back home in order to get intelligence on community members and active Uyghur human rights campaigners. Researchers of the University of Sheffield released a report on transnational repression against Uyghurs, finding that the intimidation tactics used against the diaspora restrict Uyghurs rights to freedom of speech, and association.

“They want to silence us, but even my silence would not guarantee the safety of my family, ever,” says Zumretay Arkin. 

New Report Reveals Solar Industry’s Connection to Uyghur Forced Labour 
On August 2, the Sheffield Hallam University published a report called “Over Exposed: Uyghur Region Exposure Assessment for Solar Industry Sourcing”. The report addresses the solar industries increasing opaqueness, which makes it difficult to verify whether supply chains are free from risk of Uyghur forced labour. Together with a solar industry expert researchers created an assessment model for the industry and its supply chains to identify exposure to Uyghur forced labour. The research assessed and thoroughly investigated ten solar companies. According to the findings six of the companies were ‘very highly’ exposed to the Uyghur Region, three of them were ‘highly’ exposed and only three had no exposure. Production in China significantly increases exposure. The report has also found that:

  • Five of the world’s largest solar manufacturers, which produce 70% of the world’s solar modules combined, have either ‘very high’ or ‘high exposure’ to East Turkistan.
  • That the region accounts for 35% of the world’s polysilicon and 32% of global metallurgical grade silicon production. 
  • Companies that have created supply chains purportedly free of inputs from East Turkistan continue to source from suppliers or sub-suppliers linked to the region Region for other product lines.

The report has revealed what was unknown about solar supply chains and provided some awareness about the way solar supply chains have shifted in response to global demand for ethical sourcing. 

IPVM Report Discloses Hikvision’s Continued Cooperation with the Chinese Government 
On July 25, the Internet Protocol Video Market (IPVM), the world’s leading authority on physical security technology covering video surveillance, obtained and verified a contract between Hikvision the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission (CPLC) in Hainan Province’s Chengmai County. The local PRC authorities awarded the $6 million contract to explicitly provide technology and Hikvision analytics to identify Uyghurs. The 85-page contract which was signed in December 2022 lists Hikvision software in its “standard configuration” and includes the video analytics of whether the targeted persons ethnicity is “unknown, non-minority, or Uyghur”. Despite claiming that the company has removed their “minority recognition” software in 2018, Hikvision signed the contract which mandates the installation of a wide variety of surveillance equipment, and providing AI software that supports “facial analysis, video analysis, and human body analysis”.

Uyghur Woman Detained in East Turkistan for Raising Concerns About Her Son’s Detention
The Uyghuryar Foundation, based in Norway, stated that Rahile Jalalidin was detained by police on July 22 for disagreeing with the authorities’ decision to arrest her son Zulyar Yasin for travelling to Turkey in 2013. Ms. Jalalidin suffered a severe mental shock after finding out about her son’s arrest and approached relevant administrative and legal authorities to raise her concerns and threatened legal action. In response to her comments, the state police warned and threatened her detention. Jalalidin’s concrete whereabouts and information about her health are currently unknown. 

U.S. Banned Two More Chinese Companies for Using Uyghur Forced Labour
On August 2, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the imports of two Chinese firms are banned from entering the country over their use of Uyghur forced labour. The battery manufacturer and the food additive company have been sanctioned under the US Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which was passed in 2021.  According to the DHS such sanctions are one way of the department to hold China accountable for its genocide against the Uyghurs. The DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated “Today’s enforcement actions demonstrate the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to holding organisations accountable for their egregious human rights abuses and forced labour practices”.

Chinese Genomics Company Linked to Leading UK Academic Institutions
On July 31, the Byline Times published their investigation into 16 UK academic institutions that have worked with Chinese genomics company BGI Genomics or its subsidiaries. Among them are Cambridge University, Oxford University, Exeter University, University of Bath, University of Brighton, Cardiff University, King’s College London, Manchester University, Liverpool University, Westminster University, Bangor University and Birmingham University. BGI Genomics runs China’s National Gene Bank, which is part of the state surveillance that facilitates the mass detention of Uyghurs. Moreover, the BGI Group is reported to have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and the country’s military. In 2021 Reuters issued a report which revealed that the company was harvesting the genetic data of millions of women around the world. It was also caught in an attempt to hack into Genomics England to gain access to the NHS genetic database of UK citizens. The BGI Groups inks to UK universities, threatens national security, data privacy and risks complicity with human rights abuses that enable the Uyghur Genocide. 


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.