The “International Uyghur Forum” jointly organized by the Japan Uyghur Parliamentarian Coalition (JUPC), the Japanese Parliamentary Coalition for Investigating and Taking Action on Human Rights Persecution in China (JPCHC), the World Uyghur Congress, the Japan Uyghur Association, and the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) was held on October 30-31, 2023, at the First Members’ Hall of the Japanese House of Representatives. The forum concluded on the 31st. The Deputy Chairman of the Japan Uyghur Association and one of the forum organizers, Sawut Muhammad, stated that there were more than 200 attendees at the forum.
During the opening ceremony, Keiji Furuya, Chairman of the Cross-Party Group on Investigating and Taking Action on China’s Human Rights Violations, and former Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission of the Liberal Democratic Party, emphasized the need for addressing the persecution of the Uighur people by “nations sharing common values.” Approximately 30 legislators from the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, and Turkey participated in the event, and nearly 30 Japanese lawmakers were also in attendance. The forum was chaired by Yosuke Mimura, a member of the Japanese House of Representatives and Director of the Japan Uighur Parliamentarian Coalition. Speakers at the event included Keiji Furuya, Chairman of the Japan Uighur Parliamentarian Coalition, Dolkun Isa, Chairman of the World Uyghur Congress, and Raymond F. Greene, Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Japan.
Keiji Furuya, who serves as the Chairman of the Japan Uighur Parliamentarian Coalition (JUPC), and a former Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, stated, “China claims that reports of human rights violations against the Uighurs are fake news, but the extent of its dissemination on social media cannot hide the truth.” He emphasized the importance of conveying the facts to the world and raising awareness.
Leitip Ahmet, the Chairman of the Japan Uighur Association, stated, “This is the first alliance composed of legislators actively addressing the Uighur issue in their respective countries. We hope to send a strong message that we will not tolerate genocide against the Uighurs.”
The conference was attended by various notable figures, including Hitoshi Nakatani, former Chief Cabinet Secretary in Japan, Satsuki Katayama, member of the House of Councillors in Japan and former Minister of State for Regional Revitalization, Ryoji Sakurai from the National Institute for Defense Studies in Japan, Tomoko Ago, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Arfiya Eri, a Uighur-Japanese member of the House of Representatives affiliated with the Liberal Democratic Party. It also had participation from international representatives, including senators from the Czech Republic, members of the Canadian House of Commons, and Erkin Khas, the Director of the Taiwan Legislative Yuan Human Rights Committee, among others.
During the opening ceremony, Keiji Furuya, Chairman of the Japan Uyghur Parliamentarian Coalition, stated, “Nations sharing common values need to work together to address the human rights issues of the Uyghur people. Our goal is to prevent China from taking any outrageous actions.”
Japanese and foreign legislators discussed measures to address China’s persecution of the Uighur people, as highlighted in the United Nations report from August of the previous year, which described the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as “serious human rights violations” with no signs of improvement from Chinese authorities. The forum aimed to strengthen cooperation among legislators from various countries to address this issue.
According to a report from the Tokyo Free Democratic Party’s Voice for Human Rights, an interview was conducted with Dilxat Raxit, the spokesperson for the World Uyghur Congress, before the conference. When asked about the significance of hosting the “International Uyghur Forum” in Japan, Dilxat Raxit expressed hope that the international community, especially Japanese society, would continue to be concerned about the Uighur people, who are currently facing a life-or-death crisis. This is in line with the conclusion of last year’s report, which emphasized that China’s human rights violations in East Turkistan may constitute international crimes, especially crimes against humanity.” Dilxat Raxit criticized Xi Jinping’s “China-style” strategy, which includes policies such as “accelerating the construction of an interlocking social structure and community environment, promoting interactions and integration among various ethnic groups,” “strengthening cooperation in industry and personnel exchange between Xinjiang and the mainland, encouraging and guiding the employment of Xinjiang residents in the mainland and supporting mainland population to start businesses and reside in Xinjiang,” and “insisting on a coordinated approach to military-civil fusion in counterterrorism and stability, economic development, ecological protection, national unity, and cadre talent,” among others. He condemned these strategies, saying that “Xi Jinping’s emphasized ‘strategy’ is evidently aimed at using the over 100-fold advantage in the Chinese population to colonize through excessive Chinese population migration, forcibly ‘interlocking’ into areas of Uighur ethnic residence that still have generally low population density in the mainland of China, leading to their compression, division, dispersion, and dilution, ultimately culminating in ‘integration,’ that is, ‘sinicization’ into a ‘community,’ backed by military force – ‘ a coordinated approach to military-civil fusion.’ This has been the long-standing Chinese-style colonization strategy of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and it is poised to be expanded and accelerated for use in all areas of Uighur ethnic residence, leading to the relevant communities shrinking and diluting to the point where they can no longer maintain their native language, culture, and identity, leaving only the ‘consciousness and ability to use the national common language and script,’ ultimately resulting in the cultural extinction and even genocide of the Uyghur ethnic group.”