Washington: Members of the Uyghur community in Washington and New York protested against China’s ethnic cleansing of minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and called on the US government and the United Nations to take more action against Beijing.
“August 29 marks the fourth anniversary of Chen Quanguo’s transfer from Tibet to East Turkistan, (the) so-called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP) chief who was the mastermind behind the building of concentration camps, prisons, Uyghur forced labour and high-tech surveillance, the police state as we know it today,” Salih Hudayar, the founder of the Washington-based Uyghur organisation East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, told Voice of America (VOA).
Hudayar organised the protests in front of the US State Department in Washington and UN headquarters in New York.
“We want both the US government and UN to recognise the atrocities as genocide and call on the international community and governments in many countries to break their silence and stand up against China,” Hudayar added.
Last month, the US imposed sanctions on Chen Quanguo and two other Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials over human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
A protestor in Washington named Aziz Sulayman told VOA that his 33-year-old brother Alim Sulayman, 47-year-old brother-in-law Yehya Kurban and 31-year-old cousin Ekram Yarmuhammed were taken by Chinese authorities in 2016 and have not been found since then.
“My brother was a dentist, my brother-in-law was a businessman and my cousin was a graduate from a medical school. They did not need any vocational training or re-education as China lied to the world,” said Aziz Sulayman, 49.
He said he has not been in contact with his mother and five sisters since late 2016.
“I do not know whether my entire family is still alive or dead. We are here to show the world that what the CCP is committing in our homeland against our loved ones meets the criteria of the UN Genocide Convention,” Sulayman was quoted as saying.
According to the UN, genocide is defined as any of the several acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
Recently, members of the Tibetan and Uyghur community in the United Kingdom organised a ‘Black Day’ protest outside the United Nations office in London to mark the ninth anniversary of ‘heinous crimes against humanity’ in Tibet and East Turkistan by Chen Quanguo.
The protest was held under the aegis of Tibetan Community UK, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and Global Alliance for Tibet and Persecuted Minorities (GATPM). The protesters held banners saying “Long Live friendship of Tibet and East Turkistan”, “Say no to internment Camps” and save the “Uyghur people”.
China has been criticised for cracking down on Uyghurs by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forceful re-education or indoctrination.
In the past, US officials have denounced CCP’s treatment of Uyghurs with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo describing the ethnic cleansing of the community as the “stain of the century” and condemned it as “a human rights violation on a scale we have not seen since the Second World War,” VOA reported.