Human Rights

China's Uighur detention camp policy has separated millions of families.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/07/19
By: William Yang

Photo Source: Sadam Abudusalamu

Dozens of Uyghurs in Australia have come out to share stories about their family being trapped in Xinjiang, including Sadam Abudusalamu.

Since China rolled out its re-education camp policy in Xinjiang, Abudusalamu has been forcefully separated from his two-year-old son Lutfy and wife Nadila Wumaier. They are currently trapped in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, living in constant fear that the police might take Wumaier into one of the re-education camps at any time. Abudusalamu has been desperately trying to get his family to Australia in the last two years, but the process has been filled with obstacles and challenges.

“I’ve been living in fear for the past two years because I don’t know what might happen to my family tomorrow,” Abudusalamu said. “Am I able to speak to my wife and son tomorrow? Where’s my son going to be if my wife was detained again?”

Abudusalamu moved to Australia for high school in 2009, several months before violent clashes between Uyghurs and government troops broke out in Xinjiang. He sought asylum soon after he arrived and became an Australian citizen in 2013. He met Wumaier in middle school and kept in touch through phone calls and texts over the years. In August 2016, he married Wumaier in Xinjiang. Over the next few months, they traveled to the United States and Turkey for honeymoon while visiting family members abroad.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan News
Date: 2019/07/17
By: Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A retired Indian Army colonel asserts that based on satellite imagery, the Chinese government is not only oppressing its living ethnic Uighur citizens in internment camps, but it will not even allow the dead to rest in peace as it bulldozes Muslim cemeteries to make way for developments.

On the Indian news site ThePrint, Colonel Vinayak Bhat says that comparisons between satellite images from 2002 and 2019 show systematic destruction of Uighur cemeteries and mass exhumations of corpses to make way for roads, military training grounds, malls, ecological parks, and high-rises. Bhat says that this process has been going on for many years, but it accelerated after the July 2009 riots in Xinjiang's capital city of Urumqi.

Bhat's article focused on the fate of three cemeteries in the Tengri Tagh area of Urumqi City. Two of the grave sites have completely vanished, while a third is slated for demolition soon.

The 825-acre northern cemetery has been razed and converted into the Dongshan Ecological Park. Meanwhile, the southwest section of the former cemetery appears to have been taken over by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to serve as a training facility, based on evidence of infantry drills from satellite photos.    [FULL  STORY]

‘Four Corners’ uncovers disturbing evidence of Chinese oppression of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang

Taiwan News
Date: 2019/07/17
By: Zin Kao, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – ABC News reported that China has been “creating the world’s largest prison” in Xinjiang through so-called “re-educational camps" on its program “Four Corners” on Monday (July 15).

The news program reveals disturbing evidence that China is oppressing Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. It estimates that there are at least one million Uyghurs being detained in the camps, where they are subjected to inhumane treatment at the hands of the Chinese government.

The program also reports that those detained are turned into cheap labor as though they were “modern slaves.” It then discusses Australia's Modern Slavery Act 2018 which, while it declares corporations bear the responsibility of ensuring their supply chains are free of exploitation, has not punished violators other than by publicly announcing their names.

On July 10, 22 countries issued a joint statement denouncing China's large-scale detention and surveillance programs in Xinjiang. However, 37 pro-China countries, most of which are accused of routinely violating human rights themselves, issued a joint statement defending the Chinese government’s actions in the region.    [SOURCE]

The Intercept
Date: July 11 2019
By: Ryan Gallagher
Illustration: Soohee Cho/The Intercept

AN AMERICAN ORGANIZATION founded by tech giants Google and IBM is working with a company that is helping China’s authoritarian government conduct mass surveillance against its citizens, The Intercept can reveal.

The OpenPower Foundation — a nonprofit led by Google and IBM executives with the aim of trying to “drive innovation” — has set up a collaboration between IBM, Chinese company Semptian, and U.S. chip manufacturer Xilinx. Together, they have worked to advance a breed of microprocessors that enable computers to analyze vast amounts of data more efficiently.

Shenzhen-based Semptian is using the devices to enhance the capabilities of internet surveillance and censorship technology it provides to human rights-abusing security agencies in China, according to sources and documents. A company employee said that its technology is being used to covertly monitor the internet activity of 200 million people.

Semptian, Google, and Xilinx did not respond to requests for comment. The OpenPower Foundation said in a statement that it “does not become involved, or seek to be informed, about the individual business strategies, goals or activities of its members,” due to antitrust and competition laws. An IBM spokesperson said that his company “has not worked with Semptian on joint technology development,” but declined to answer further questions. A source familiar with Semptian’s operations said that Semptian had worked with IBM through a collaborative cloud platform called SuperVessel, which is maintained by an IBM research unit in China.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told The Intercept that he was alarmed by the revelations. “It’s disturbing to see that China has successfully recruited Western companies and researchers to assist them in their information control efforts,” Warner said.
[FULL  STORY]

The New York Times
Date: July 12, 2019
By: Nick Cumming-Bruce

Image
A detention facility last year in Xinjiang, China. Twenty-two nations urged China to halt the arbitrary detention of Xinjiang’s ethnic Uighurs and other ethnic groups.CreditCreditThomas Peter/Reuters

GENEVA — China fumed this week after 22 mostly Western countries rebuked its mass detention of Muslims in the restive Xinjiang region. On Friday the Chinese delivered their answer: praise from even more countries saying China has made Xinjiang safe and happy.

Ambassadors of 37 states from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America jointly signed a letter to the president of the United Nations Human Rights Council praising China’s “contribution to the international human rights cause.”

The states, including prominent members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, said China had faced terrorism, separatism and religious extremism in Xinjiang, the vast northwest region that is mainly Muslim. But through counterterrorism measures and vocational training, these states said, China had restored peace and security there.

“We note with appreciation that human rights are respected and protected in China in the process of counterterrorism and de-radicalization,” they said.    [FULL  STORY]

ENSHRINED RIGHTS: Britain should stop ‘gesticulating’ about the territory, China says; the British foreign secretary says it is ‘four-square behind the people of Hong Kong’

Taipei Times
Date: Jul 03, 2019
By: Reuters, LONDON

Britain yesterday warned China that there would be serious consequences if Beijing broke its

Photo: Bloomberg
promises to protect freedoms in Hong Kong, after police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters.

Officers moved in after crowds stormed and trashed the Legislative Council building on Monday, the anniversary of the former British colony’s return to Chinese rule, protesting against proposed legislation allowing extraditions to China.

British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jeremy Hunt condemned violence on both sides, but said that China needed to stick to commitments that it made when it took back Hong Kong to allow freedoms there not enjoyed in China, including the freedom to protest.

“There will be serious consequences if that internationally binding legal agreement were not to be honored,” said Hunt, who is a candidate to replace Theresa May as British prime minister.
[FULL  STORY]

Police rush at protesters after Legislative Council building was stormed on anniversary of 1997 transition

Analysis: A personal challenge to Xi Jinping

Analysis: how China could respond to protests

[FULL  STORY]

A quarter of the city’s population protested for freedom Sunday.
 
The Wall Street Journal
Date: June 16, 2019
By: Jillian Kay Melchior

Protesters march in Hong Kong, June 16. PHOTO: VINCENT YU/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Hong Kong

Nathan Law, 25, was the youngest person ever elected to Hong Kong Legislative Council. For his pro-democracy activism, he’s faced jail, tear gas and rubber bullets. He’s certainly on Beijing’s enemies list. In an interview he confided his deepest fear. “To be very honest,” he told me Thursday, “I’m most afraid Hong Kong people will not care anymore.” It’s increasingly clear that Chinese President Xi Jinping wants to subsume the small city-state, and there didn’t seem to be much Hong Kong people could do to stop it. Mr. Law said he was afraid “about Hong Kong people becoming cynical, full of apathy, or they just won’t care.”

Yet on Sunday, a crowd estimated at nearly two million—roughly a quarter of the city’s population—marched from Victoria Park to the Legislative Council building to take a stand for Hong Kong’s autonomy. They stretched as far I could see in either direction, spilling into parallel streets. It was the third mass protest in eight days. After the first two, the resolve of China and Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing officials appeared to waver.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam had been pushing legislation that would authorize the city to extradite criminal suspects to the mainland—“the legalized kidnapping of HK people to China,” as one protester’s poster described it. Foreigners would also be in peril.

But amid the public backlash, Ms. Lam announced Saturday that she would indefinitely suspend the legislation. On Sunday she issued a statement that “the chief executive apologizes to the public” for “causing disappointment and grief among the people.” She said there is “no timetable” for picking the bill back up.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan News
Date: 2019/06/16
By:  Associated Press

Protesters continue to protest an extradition bill, Sunday, June 16, 2019, in Hong Kong. (By Associated Press)

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong citizens marched for hours Sunday in a massive protest that drew a late-in-the-day apology from the city’s top leader for her handling of legislation that has stoked fears of expanding control from Beijing in this former British colony.

The demonstration looked likely to match in scale one a week earlier that brought as many as 1 million people out to express their concern over Hong Kong’s relations with mainland China in one of the toughest tests of the territory’s special status since China took control in a 1997 handover.

Well after dark, crowds gathered outside the police headquarters and Chief Executive Carrie Lam office. On Saturday Lam suspended her effort to force passage of the bill, which would allow some suspects to be sent for trial in mainland China.

The move did not appease Hong Kong residents angered over the plan who see it as one of many steps chipping away at Hong Kong’s freedoms and legal autonomy. Opponents worry the law could be used to send criminal suspects to China to potentially face vague political charges, possible torture and unfair trials.

Protesters are also angered over forceful tactics by police in quelling unrest at a June 12 demonstration.    [FULL  STORY]

PACKED ISLAND: Five hours after the start of the march, thousands were still gathering at Victoria Park to begin the walk to the Legislative Council
Agencies, Hong Kong

In a statement issued last night by her office, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月

Protesters take part in a demonstration yesterday demanding the withdrawal of an extradition bill and the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
Photo: Reuters

娥) apologized to the public with “utmost sincerity and humility,” after the second massive protest in a week over a proposed extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Lam’s statement, reiterating that the government has stopped work on the bill, came as hundreds of thousands of people clogged the streets in central Hong Kong dressed in black to demand that she step down, a day after she suspended the bill.

The marchers demanded that Lam first scrap an extradition bill and then resign.

Organizers said the protest might be larger than last week’s demonstration, when they estimated more than 1 million people filed through the central part of Hong Kong Island.

Hong Kong police said that rally drew 240,000 people.    [FULL  STORY]