Weekly Brief April 15

World Uyghur Congress, 15 April 2019

WUC Participates in Uyghur Tibet Joint Demonstration in Brussels

On April 9th, the World Uyghur Congress participated in a joint demonstration in Brussels with Uyghur and Tibetan communities on the day of the 21st EU-China Summits. Around 100 demonstrators loudly called on the EU to stand up for European values and hold China accountable for its horrendous human rights record.

The demonstration was organised by the World Uyghur Congress, International Campaign for Tibet, FIDH and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation.

WUC representatives along with numerous other activists and organisations repeatedly called on EU leaders to make human rights, and especially the political internment camps in East Turkistan, the priority during the Summit.

While the outcome of the Summit is not yet clear, and some subsequent comments have been disappointing, EU Council President Donald Tusk stated after the Summit that the EU brought up human rights issues with China and that they remained as important as economic issues for the EU.

Uyghur Activist Testifies at U.S. Senate Hearing

On April 9th Rushan Abbas, Director of the Campaign for Uyghurs,  testified at the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations -Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific & International Cybersecurity Policy hearing entitled “Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law in the Indo Pecific Region”

Ms Abbas testimony focused on the current Uyghur crisis in East Turkistan where over a million Uyghurs and other Turkic ethnic groups are arbitrarily detained in political internment camps. Ms Abbas urged the Trump Administration to pass the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2018. Furthermore, she highlighted the struggles of Uyghur activists in the diaspora as the Chinese authorities have detained or imprisoned the family members or relatives of those who dare to speak up against the atrocities. She also stated the need for funding to support Uyghurs overseas and those working to understand the issue.

Following the hearing, Ms Abbas provided Senator Edward J.  with information about her missing relatives in East Turkistan as well as that of Yalqun Rozi, a Uyghur academic, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in January 2018 on spurious charges.

Apart from Ms Abbas, the witnesses for the hearing included Bhuchung Tsering of International Campaign For Tibet and Tun Khin who is a Human Rights Activist and President of Burmese Rohingya Organisation on rights abuses in China and Myanmar.

Uyghur Facebook Pages Subjected to Coordinated ‘Attack’ from Chinese Trolls

On Wednesday April 10th, the Facebook pages of the World Uyghur Congress and online media outlet Talk to East Turkistan, were flooded with negative comments, messages and poor ratings from hundreds of Chinese users in a coordinated effort.

Many users involved in the spamming effort used abusive language or simply copied text from the Chinese government’s White Paper on East Turkistan. It was organised by a group on Diba which had previously been involved in similar actions against Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Suspiciously quickly, Chinese propaganda outlet the Global Times published an article commending the attack. While this action did not cause much disruption to WUC’s activities, it remains a concerning indication of China’s attempts to silence critical voices outside of its borders.

WUC President Met with High-Level U.S. Officials

On April 8th, during his visit in the states, the President of the World Uyghur Congress, Dolkun Isa, met with Ambassador Alice Wells who is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia.

Mr. Isa and Ms Wells discussed China’s campaign of repression against Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other Muslim minority groups, and its impact on the security of people in South, Central and SE Asia.

Uyghur Journalist Speaks at 10th Annual Women in the World Summit

Gülchehra Hoja, a Uyghur journalist for Radio Free Asia (RFA) attended the 10th Annual Women in the World Summit to speak up for the Uyghur women in East Turkistan detained and imprisoned because of their ethnicity.

Speaking to Zainab Salbi the Founder of Women for Women International, Ms Hoja shared her personal struggle reporting for the RFA Uyghur services and the fact that more than two dozen of her family members in East Turkistan have been detained because of her work. She also highlighted the importance of speaking up for the Uyghurs in East Turkistan and standing in solidarity.