Weekly Brief: December 6

World Uyghur Congress, 6 December 2019

UIGHUR Policy Act of 2019

The World Uyghur Congress appreciates the passage of the UIGHUR Act of 2019 by the US House of Representatives this week and calls on the international community to take comparable steps to focus additional attention on the issue, appoint representatives tasked with monitoring the situation, enact targeted sanctions, and raise the issue strongly in all appropriate fora.

The Bill, once signed into law, obligates the US administration to provide Congress a list of Chinese officials deemed responsible for serious human rights violations for possible sanction, impose restrictions on export of sensitive technology that may enable further abuses in the Uyghur region, and requires US companies to ensure they are not using forced labour, among other things.

WUC President Dolkun said in response, “We are certainly encouraged by the passage of the Bill and look forward to greater scrutiny by American authorities.” Isa continued, “It will, however, be critical that we now hear more and more diverse voices that are vocal on the situation—from states that have so far remained silent to Islamic organizations, the business community, and from other sectors of civil society.”

The Bill comes on the heels of the approval of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act on September 11 by the Senate as well as the decision in October by the US Commerce Department to add 28 Chinese organizations—including Hikvision and Dahua as well as the public security bureau for the Uyghur region—to its entity list, blocking them from buying American products. The Senate will now have to pass an amended Bill to be sent to the President for approval.

“In the Name of Confucius” Documentary

On the 2nd of December, WUC Program Manager, Peter Irwin and representative Ascar Can attended a panel at the screening of the film “In the name of Confucius” by Doris Liu in Munich organized by the Society for Threatened People. The film sheds a light on how China uses the Confucius Institute as a propaganda machine overseas, by indoctrinating its students. 

On the panel Peter Irwin stressed out that the Confucius Institute is one among many strategies China is applying on the international level to silence the debate on severe human rights violations such as committed in the Uyghur region. China is also putting high pressure on state representatives in the UN not to interact with members of the WUC. 

1st International Rohingya Youth Conference 

On the 30th of December, BROUK invited WUC to the 1st International Rohingya Youth Conference in London. On this Conference Minority groups including Rohingya, Karen, Kachin, Burman, Tibetan, and Uyghur were discussing social and political issues that affect their communities. 

WUC Representative was sharing here experience as a discussant on the cause of International Human Rights advocacy and solidarity Building. The objective of her speech was to  increase understanding of the political strategies and to identify gaps and areas of engagement for the Rohingya community’s participation.

The WUC is supporting the campaign “Stop Apple Censorship”

The WUC is supporting the campaign calling on apple to make a public, binding statement on its commitment to Freedom of Expression and recommit to upholding the company’s ethical principles

Yet since 2017, Apple has denied people living under China’s rule access to a free and open internet by removing over 1,000 “virtual private networks” (VPNs) from their App Store in China at the request of the Chinese Government. VPNs provide critical, safe communication channels for Tibetans, Uyghurs and Chinese dissidents and human rights defenders.

In October 2019, Apple removed HKmap.live; a crowdsourcing app being used Hong Kong residents, journalists and tourists to see where protests and police build-up are happening to allow areas to be avoided and to stay safe.