Weekly News Brief on Uighurs and China – June 16

by Uyghur Times
8 minutes read

Uighur Times



‘Deep concerns’ over UN official’s trip to China’s Xinjiang

Vladimir Voronkov, a veteran Russian diplomat who heads the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), is currently in China at the invitation of Beijing and is due to visit East Turkistan’s capital Urumqi. The United States and other western countries have objected to Voronkov’s visit to China’s remote Xinjiang region, where UN experts say at least one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centers.


US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan spoke with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday, June 14, “to convey deep concerns” about Voronkov’s trip because “Beijing continues to paint its repressive campaign against Uighurs and other Muslims as legitimate counterterrorism efforts when it is not”.


Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized the UN for sending a counterterrorism official instead of a human rights expert, saying it risks deflecting attention from what it called “a massive government rights violation against the Turkic Muslim population”.

Read the full story at aljazeera.com, June 15, 2019


Belgium’s Beijing Embassy Calls Chinese Cops on Uighur Family

The failure of Muslim countries to speak up for their co-religionists in China-occupied East Turkistan, thanks to economic ties to China, has been much commented on. But while Western countries have been more outspoken on the plight of the Uighur people, they have often been hesitant to act when push comes to shove – even in countries that pride themselves on their advocacy of human rights, such as Belgium.


Tursun, an Uighur asylum seeker in Belgium, applied for a Belgian family reunification visa for his wife and four children in East Turkistan after he was granted asylum in 2018. On May 26, 2019, when Tursun’s family – his wife, Wureyetiguli Abula, and their children (who are 5, 10, 12, and 17) – came to Belgium’s embassy in Beijing for a visa interview, Officials in the Belgium’s embassy unnecessarily delayed their visa processing and, not only that, called the Chinese police to the embassy facilities in order to remove the family. This reckless carelessness and a lack of responsibility of the Belgium’s embassy in Beijing caused serious consequences to Tursun’s family in East Turkistan; local Chinese police had interrogated all his family members and relatives in Turpan and Urumqi, had searched his home, and had taken away the family’s electronic devices. Those family members and relatives may, in turn, be at risk of being sent to the concentration camps.

Belgian officials say their small country can’t risk offending China.

Read the full story at foreignpolicy.com, June 14, 2019


Well-known Uighur Scholar Nurmuhammed Tohti Dies in Chinese Concentration Camp

Nurmuhammed Tohti, a well-known writer in East Turkistan, was picked up by state authorities last year from his home and taken to the controversial concentration camps for “re-education” purposes, according to his family members now living in exile in Canada.


Berna Ilchi, Tohti’s granddaughter, said: “We called grandmother [this week] to see if the news of my grandfather passing away that we saw on social media was true. My grandmother said he had passed away eleven days ago”. She added that she did not know whether her grandfather was tortured to death or medically neglected while he was at the concentration camp.


Read the full story at voanews.com and uyghurtimes.com, June 14, 2019


Hong Kong Youth Fear China Will Treat Them Like Uighur Muslims

Since June 9, 2019, hundreds of thousands of protesters have flooded the streets of Hong Kong to demonstrate against proposed amendments to an extradition bill, which would allow the transfer of those accused of crimes to mainland China. The resilient protest movement is since then “going dark” online even as demonstrations continue against proposed extradition laws they view as a fatal assault on the autonomy of their city. Some even fear China will subject Hong Kong to the same pervasive surveillance and political oppression deployed against the Uighur Muslims of East Turkistan.


The World Uyghur Congress noticed how the fears of Hong Kongers parallel the plight of East Turkistan, highlighting another interview in which young Hong Kong students talk about the importance of protecting their freedoms. World Uyghur Congress tweeted on June 13, 2019: “We can feel the Chinese govt is trying their best to take away all our freedoms, so we feel that it’s time for us to stand up and do something”.

Read the full story at breitbart.com, June 14, 2019


Risky partner: Top U.S. universities took funds from Chinese firm tied to East Turkistan security

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at least one other university have research partnerships with a Chinese artificial intelligence company, iFlytek, that has business ties with police in the China-occupied East Turkistan, where a sweeping crackdown on Uighurs has drawn international condemnation. For example:


MIT last year announced a five-year agreement under which iFlytek would help underwrite three research projects at the university’s renowned Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).


In April 2017, Rutgers Business School announced it had accepted $1 million from iFlytek for a five-year effort to create a Big Data Laboratory exploring data mining and “business intelligence,” among other things, according to the school’s website.

Read the full story at reuters.com, June 12, 2019


The US must do its part in closing the largest outdoor prison in the world

The co-chairs of the Congressional Ahmadiyya Muslim Caucus in the Unite States expressed their deep concerns on the human rights abuses perpetrated against the Uighur Muslims in East Turkistan by the Chinese Regime. They said: “the arbitrary mass detention of persons on the basis of their religious or ethnic background, without due process of law or individualized credible allegations of wrongdoing against each detained individual, is not a credible or effective counterterrorism strategy. It also constitutes a severe violation of international norms and standards.”


They also strongly declared their support for H.R. 1025, the UIGHUR Act of 2019, and expressed their commitment to ask their colleagues to do the same. They said: “the UIGHUR Act would bring much-needed accountability to this ongoing crisis and the United States must follow their lead and act to end China’s atrocities leveled against Uighur Muslims in East Turkistan.”

Read the full story at thehill.com, June 14, 2019

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