Monday, June 17, 2024

World Uyghur Congress (WUC) Amplifies Calls for Unified Action Against Chinese Repression

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The 20th anniversary of the World Uyghur Congress in Munich served as a powerful rallying cry against the Chinese government’s escalating atrocities targeting the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities. Prominent figures from the Tibetan cause, including Sikyong Penpa Tsering of the Central Tibetan Administration, underscored the urgency of unified international action to counter Beijing’s brutality and bring about positive change.

In his keynote address, Sikyong Tsering poignantly outlined the deep-rooted partnership between Tibetans and Uyghurs in their shared struggle for freedom and justice.

He recounted the historic collaboration between Erkin Alptekin, the World Uyghur Congress’s founding president, and the late Lodi Gyari, the Dalai Lama’s former special envoy. This powerful alliance laid the foundation for ongoing cooperation between the two persecuted groups.

Sikyong Tsering’s impassioned call for solidarity extended beyond the Uyghur and Tibetan communities, encompassing Mongolians, Manchus, Hong Kongers, pro-democracy leaders in China, and even Taiwan.

“We are all traveling in the same boat against the brutal storm of Communist China,” he declared, emphasizing the interconnected nature of their plight. The Tibetan leader’s plea for a united front against Beijing’s oppression resonated profoundly. He urged Europe and other nations to view Tibetans, Uyghurs, and other persecuted groups not merely as objects of sympathy but as essential partners in countering the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) aggression and human rights violations.

“Nobody wants anarchy in China because it is the second-largest economy in the world, and it will have serious consequences around the world,” Sikyong Tsering acknowledged.

“However, if we have to bring positive changes to China, then we need both internal and external forces. And we are the internal forces.” In a bold proposal, he tabled the idea of organizing a massive rally across Europe, uniting Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kongers, Mongolians, Taiwanese, and pro-democratic Chinese leaders.

This demonstration of global solidarity would send an unmistakable message to Beijing that its human rights abuses can no longer be tolerated.

The World Uyghur Congress’s (WUC) statements during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent European tour underscored the urgency of confronting Beijing’s escalating repression. The WUC condemned European nations’ seeming indifference to China’s deepening ties with Russia, despite the latter’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the human rights atrocities inflicted upon the Uyghur community.

 Dolkun Isa, the WUC’s president, implored French President Emmanuel Macron to publicly raise the issue of the Uyghur genocide during Xi’s visit.

Isa emphasized the need for France to acknowledge and address the “continuous human rights abuses committed by the Chinese regime inside East Turkistan, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as across Europe, with China’s growing transnational repression.”

The WUC’s statement also highlighted the concerning news of a China-Europe Railway Express train transporting agricultural goods produced by Uyghur forced labor, which departed from Xinjiang for Salerno, Italy, on May 3.

This development underscores the urgent need for stronger enforcement of the European Union’s (EU) forced labor regulations and due diligence directives.

Moreover, the United Nations (UN) has shed light on the plight of Uyghur detainees in Thailand, where at least 43 Uyghur men have been held for over a decade under inhumane and overcrowded conditions at the Suan Phlu Immigration Detention Center in Bangkok.

UN experts have expressed grave concerns that the detention conditions may amount to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, or even torture, contributing to the deaths of five Uyghur migrant detainees, including two minors.

The UN letter urged Thai authorities to provide information on the arbitrary detention of these Uyghur men, their access to medical care, and the conditions of their confinement. It also sought assurances that measures are being taken to facilitate communication and visitation rights with families and legal representatives.

The plight of Uyghurs held in Thailand serves as a stark reminder of the global ramifications of Beijing’s repressive policies. As Dolkun Isa aptly stated, “Uyghurs are increasingly recognized as a persecuted group in East Turkistan, who face arbitrary detention, mass surveillance, separation of families, torture, forced labor, and other human rights atrocities.”

The 20th World Uyghur Congress has amplified the calls for concerted international action to halt China’s escalating human rights abuses and dismantle its vast network of repression.

From the global stage in Munich to the detention centers in Thailand, the voices of Uyghurs, Tibetans, and allied communities demand a unified response to Beijing’s brutality.

The Chinese government must act swiftly to end its campaign of repression against the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities before it is too late. The groundswell of global condemnation and calls for concrete action are rapidly reaching a tipping point. China’s human rights atrocities in Xinjiang, including mass arbitrary detention, forced labor, torture, and even allegations of genocide, have already severely tarnished its international standing.

If Beijing fails to reverse course immediately, it risks incurring devastating long-term consequences, such as crippling economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and a permanent stain on its legacy. The window for de-escalation and a negotiated resolution that upholds human rights and dignity is rapidly closing.

China must seize this opportunity to undertake meaningful reforms, allow independent investigations, and pursue a path of reconciliation before the situation spirals further out of control, jeopardizing its aspirations for global leadership and lasting peace within its borders. As Sikyong Tsering eloquently stated, “If we have to bring positive changes to China, then we need both internal and external forces.”

The time has come for the international community to heed these calls and stand resolutely against the CCP’s egregious violations of human rights, dignity, and freedom.

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