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The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) condemns China’s latest move to silence critics speaking out on the Uyghur genocide by imposing retaliatory sanctions on more than two dozen EU and UK individuals and entities. The WUC expresses its solidarity with the persons and entities subject to Chinese threats and intimidation and is determined to continue standing alongside all those who are committed to ending the Uyghur genocide and bringing justice to the victims of the Chinese government’s human rights atrocities.

“The CCP’s tactics to silence critics are a deplorable attempt in total contradiction of all principles and values of a rights-respecting international order”, WUC President Dolkun Isa said. “The international community must stand firm in its solidarity with those targeted by the Chinese government, and unequivocally condemn China’s attempts to silence its critics in East Turkistan and abroad.

China imposed its retaliatory sanctions after the EU, the US, the UK, and Canada announced on Monday to sanction four Chinese officials and one entity over their complicity in the grave human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in East Turkistan. In an immediate response on Monday, China announced it blacklisted 10 EU individuals and 4 entities; on Thursday, it subsequently sanctioned 9 individuals and 4 entities from the UK. 

Whereas the sanctions by the EU, US, UK and Canada were all legitimately imposed on individuals and an entity complicit in an ongoing genocide, the Chinese retaliatory sanctions – which targeted democratically elected officials and parliamentarians, as well as committees and research institutes promoting human rights – are a direct attack on democracy, free speech and a rules-based international order. 

It should not come as a surprise that this week’s escalation of China’s countermeasures fit a pattern that has been visible for the past decades. Indeed, the Chinese government has been consistent in its threats, harassment, intimidation, and even physical attacks on anyone critical of the Chinese regime or its human rights record. This also includes the WUC and its staff; WUC President Dolkun Isa, for example, was forced to seek political asylum abroad after being targeted by the Chinese authorities for exercising his freedom of speech during the 1988 student democracy demonstrations in East Turkistan.

That the Chinese government is now extending its attempts to silence criticism to democratically elected officials and parliamentarians in Western countries, shows that it will stop at nothing to undermine free and open public debate. This not only presents a danger to the individuals and entities affected but to the shared principles and values of the international community as a whole. 

This has also become clear as China this week resorted to boycotting Western companies who have voiced their concerns over the use of Uyghur forced labour in their supply chains in East Turkistan. Several companies are starting to cave into China’s threats by removing their forced labour policies from their websites, and even going as far as promoting ‘’Xinjiang Cotton’’ on their websites, which reports show is tainted with Uyghur forced labour. This is the ultimate moral test for these companies: opt for respecting human rights or embolden the genocidal regime of the Chinese Communist Party. 

As it is expected that China will also impose retaliatory sanctions on Canadian and US individuals and entities, a concerted international response is now more needed than ever. 

The international community must send a clear message that it does not tolerate China’s attempts to silence free speech and legitimate criticism. The UN has a leading role to play, and must finally step up to its core principles by firmly denouncing China’s actions and taking meaningful steps to put an end to the Uyghur genocide.


EU individuals and entities sanctioned: MEPs Reinhard Butikofer, Michael Gahler, Raphaël Glucksmann, Ilhan Kyuchyuk and Miriam Lexmann; Dutch MP Sjoerd Wiemer Sjoerdsma; Belgian MP Samuel Cogolati; Lithuanian MP Dovile Sakaliene; Adrian Zenz; Björn Jerdén; Political and Security Committee of the Council of the European Union; Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament; the Mercator Institute for China Studies; and the Alliance of Democracies Foundation.

UK individuals and entities sanctioned: MPs Tom Tugendhat, Iain Duncan Smith, Neil O’Brien, David Alton, Tim Loughton, and Nusrat Ghani; Helena Kennedy QC; Geoffrey Nice QC; Joanne Nicola Smith Finley; China Research Group; Conservative Party Human Rights Commission; Uyghur Tribunal; and Essex Court Chambers.

Press Release – For Immediate Release
26 March 2021
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
+49 89 5432 1999 or
[email protected]