Hungary's discreet hosting of Erkin Tuniyaz, a U.S. sanctioned Xinjiang official accused of human rights abuses, aligns with China's soft power strategy to whitewash the Uyghur genocide and boost business ties, according to experts. Experts stress the need for unified action against abuses, emphasizing accountability over providing a platform for officials like Tuniyaz. Speculation hints at a connection to plans for a chemical materials warehouse, considering the surge of Chinese battery producers in Hungary.
U.S. lawmakers are pushing for strict enforcement of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (UHRPA) and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) in response to concerns of an ongoing genocide in Xinjiang, China. They seek sanctions against those involved in human rights abuses and forced labor targeting Uyghur and other Muslim minorities.
Members of the Uyghur community in the United States are actively working to acquire their first place of worship. A fundraising event marked the beginning of this effort, where they secured about $250,000 to purchase a 2,400- square-meter space in Fairfax County, Virginia, for the first Uyghur Islamic Center. The Uyghur Islamic Center aims to offer solace, support, and education, emphasizing the importance of religious freedom and advocating for Uyghur rights, according to the organizers.
Ongoing Uyghur persecution contradicts China's claims of ending the internment campaign. Radio Free Asia reports ongoing detentions, backed by satellite imagery of active camps. Arbitrary arrests continue, and some detainees are shifted to prisons for minor offenses. Limited communication makes it hard to gauge the Uyghurs' true situation, with little expected change as China uses these policies for supposed regional stability while enforcing forced assimilation, fostering fear, and perpetuating persecution among Uyghurs.
Abdulhabir Muhammad, previously celebrated as a Uyghur role model, has been given a 15-year prison sentence. Muhammad, a young Uyghur entrepreneur who had completed his MBA in the United States, was apprehended in mid-2022 on charges of religious extremism and national separatism. However, the precise grounds for his arrest remain shrouded, as revealed by a Radio Free Asia investigation.
Authorities in China's Xinjiang region have enclosed Chuluqai village, home to 13,500 people, with a wall to control residents' movement, subjecting them to 24-hour surveillance and permitting access through a single gate. This 'one village, one gate' campaign is part of a broader effort to monitor Uyghur communities, severely restricting their freedom of movement.
Despite Chinese diplomats' efforts to discourage attendance, a Uyghur event at the U.N. General Assembly in New York proceeded, condemning Beijing's repression of Uyghurs. Experts noted China's shift from internment camps to the regular penal system while still claiming camp closures. Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnès Callamard stressed that the essence of violations remains unchanged, with Uyghurs lacking freedom and facing arbitrary detention. Uyghurs living abroad also endure China's attempts to control them through their families, causing immense emotional distress.
Leading electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers like Tesla and Ford are still tied to Xinjiang suppliers, despite the U.S. ban on products from the region because of forced labor allegations.
News in brief
Rahile Dawut, a celebrated Uyghur folklorist, has been sentenced to life in a Chinese prison after her six-year disappearance. The Dui Hua Foundation, a human rights group, confirmed the news, highlighting the ongoing oppression in Xinjiang. Dawut's life sentence is part of a broader crackdown involving the detention of Uyghur intellectuals and the erasure of Uyghur culture, with many intellectuals detained. Dawut's daughter, who resides in the U.S. state of Washington passionately, calls for her mother's release, while human rights groups urge Beijing to free her and safeguard academic freedom.
Quote of note
'I just want to tell my mom to please stay strong and that people around the world are really caring about you right now. You didn't do anything wrong, and you deserve to be free.'
- Akida Pulat, daughter of renowned Uyghur scholar Rahila Dawut, who is imprisoned for life in China