Fri, 22 Sep 2023

Uyghur News Recap: June 29, 2023

Voice of America
10 Jun 2023, 17:35 GMT+10

WASHINGTON - Uyghur Brothers Detained in India Since 2013 Face Deportation Threat

Three Uyghur brothers fled persecution in China's Xinjiang region, crossed into India without proper documents, and were charged under the Public Safety Act. Advocates call for their release, urging the Indian government to grant protection and consider their plea for temporary asylum.

Uyghur Student Convicted for Sharing Protest Video on WeChat

Kamile Wayit, a Uyghur student, has been convicted of 'advocating extremism' in China for posting a video on WeChat that showed protests of lockdown measures. Detained in Xinjiang in December, Wayit was sentenced in March, potentially facing up to five years in prison. Human rights organizations criticize the state's arbitrary detention of Uyghurs based on their ethnicity, highlighting Wayit's case as an example.

Uyghur Student Imprisoned 13 Years for VPN Usage in Xinjiang

Uyghur university student Mehmut Memtimin has been serving a 13-year sentence in China's Xinjiang region since his 2017 arrest. His crime was using a VPN to access 'illegal information,' which was deemed a national security threat. Memtimin, a computer science major at Xinjiang University, is held in Tumshuq Prison in Maralbeshi county in the region. Although VPN usage is widespread in China, arrests and harsh penalties are uncommon.

Chinese Government Likely Exploits Uyghur Travel Vlogs for Propaganda

Uyghur travel vlogs circulating on Chinese social media platforms are suspected to be part of a propaganda campaign by the Chinese government. These videos aim to create a false perception of freedom and normalcy in Xinjiang, despite strict travel restrictions for Uyghurs. The videos, posted on Chinese social media platforms like Kuaishou, show some Uyghurs documenting their travels despite restrictions on their movement. Experts believe it is highly unlikely that Uyghurs can travel abroad without official approval. The motive behind the campaign is to downplay China's human rights abuses against Uyghurs and divert attention from ongoing genocide allegations, according to some rights activists.

Uyghur Hatmaker and Wife Die in Xinjiang Prison

A Uyghur hatmaker and his wife, arrested in 2017 for 'illegal' religious activities, have died in Tumshuq Prison while serving their 10-year sentences. The prison, notorious for detaining Uyghurs during the 2017 crackdown, secretly released the bodies of the prisoners to their family, according to a Radio Free Asia report.

A Uyghur Man's Courageous Journey of Escaping China and Thai Prison

A decade ago, Uyghurs in China, desperate to escape oppression, embarked on the perilous 'smugglers' road' to find safety in countries like Turkey. Hashim Mohammed's personal story of confinement in a Thai detention center and his daring escape through a hole in a cell wall represents the experiences of many Uyghurs risking their lives for freedom. His account highlights the challenges and grim realities of detention, emphasizing the urgent need for assistance and support for those still trapped in Thailand and other countries.

US Implements Import Ban on Two More Chinese Companies over Uyghur Human Rights Concerns

The U.S. has banned imports from Ninestar Corp. and Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical because of alleged human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs in China. This action was taken under the U.S. Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act, which prohibits imports produced in Xinjiang or by listed companies involved in forced labor. The list now includes 22 companies, and more than $1.3 billion worth of goods have been examined for forced labor. Ninestar and Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical were added for their role in exploiting forced labor from persecuted Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

US Lawmakers Introduce Uyghur Genocide Accountability and Sanctions Act (UGASA)

Last week, Senators Marco Rubio and Jeff Merkley introduced the Uyghur Genocide Accountability and Sanctions Act (UGASA) as a significant response to ongoing atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Xinjiang. The comprehensive bill, building upon previous legislation, seeks to strengthen sanctions and visa prohibitions against Chinese officials involved in the U.S.-designated genocide. It emphasizes expanding sanctions, denying entry to those involved in forced abortions or sterilizations, providing support to Uyghurs and Turkic groups, and assisting genocide victims. The UGASA also aims to combat CCP propaganda, impose restrictions on certain U.S. government agency contracts, and mandate disclosures regarding activities in Xinjiang. Uyghur rights groups welcomed the bill as a crucial step toward accountability, while the Chinese embassy spokesperson criticized it as malicious legislation. The bill also highlights the need for support in preserving Uyghur culture and resilience within the Uyghur diaspora.

News in brief

The recent visit of the Arab League delegation to Xinjiang, where they commended China's policies in the region, has sparked controversy and been deemed a 'betrayal' and the 'whitewashing' of Chinese treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, classified as genocide by the United States and some Western countries. The Chinese government denies the accusations. Critics argue that the endorsement of China's policies by the Arab League delegation contradicts the findings of the U.N. human rights office, which highlighted serious human rights violations in Xinjiang. The delegation's visit is seen as part of China's propaganda efforts to conceal the mistreatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. Some experts attribute the delegation's support to the economic and diplomatic ties between their countries and China, making it challenging for them to take a stronger stance on human rights and democracy.

Quote of note

"Today, China has made many countries from both the Arab world and the Muslim regions dependent on it, both economically and diplomatically," said Abdulhakim Idris, director of the Washington-based Center for Uyghur Studies.

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