Social media personality Elon Musk’s reported defense of the Chinese government’s ongoing genocide in East Turkistan is an “ethical catastrophe,” Salih Hudayar, the prime minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile, told Breitbart News on Friday.
Hudayar, who also serves as the founder and president of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, an organization seeking to restore sovereignty to the Uyghur heartland, made the remarks in response to the revelation surfacing this week in the Walter Isaacson biography of Musk that the billionaire had argued that the Uyghur genocide “had two sides,” in addition to conceding that Twitter, which he bought in 2022, would have to self-censor to protect Musk’s Tesla electric car company.
Salih Hudayar, founder of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, leads a rally outside the White House to urge the United States to end trade deals with China and take action to stop the oppression of the Uyghur and other Turkic peoples August 14, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
“The irony is as tragic as it is palpable: Elon Musk dreams of sending humans to Mars, yet is ignoring the inhumanity unfolding under his nose in Occupied East Turkistan,” Hudayar told Breitbart News in a statement. “Musk’s apparent support for the Chinese regime actively committing genocide against the Uyghurs isn’t just a moral failure; it’s an ethical catastrophe.”
Musk has for years enthusiastically supported the Chinese Communist Party, one of the world’s most prolific state violators of human rights. He regularly celebrates the alleged “wisdom” of the Chinese people – sometimes in comments also disparaging the country he immigrated to, America. He visited China in June, receiving a hero’s welcome in Beijing, which included a lavish, custom-designed banquet at one of the capital’s most elite restaurants and meetings with some of dictator Xi Jinping’s most trusted officials.
Isaacson’s book reportedly covers a conversation between Musk and journalist Bari Weiss in which Weiss asked Musk about the relationship between Tesla’s dealings in China and his new ownership of Twitter.
“Musk got annoyed. That was not what the conversation was supposed to be about. Weiss persisted. Musk said that Twitter would indeed have to be careful about the words it used regarding China, because Tesla’s business could be threatened,” Isaacson reportedly narrated. “China’s repression of the Uyghurs, he said, had two sides. Weiss was disturbed.”
The company made the controversial decision to open a luxury showroom in Urumqi, the capital of the occupied Uyghur region of East Turkistan, in late 2021 – a move that the Chinese government rapidly moved to exploit in its propaganda publications.
In July, Tesla joined 15 car manufacturers, the only America-based company to do so, in signing a letter pledging loyalty to China’s “core socialist values” and agreeing to compete in the market in a way that benefits the Communist Party.
Addressing the recent revelations, Hudayar asserted, “Let’s not mince words: Any endorsement of China’s genocidal actions against my people is an endorsement of human suffering, of concentration camps, and of the annihilation of an entire culture. This is no longer about politics or business; this is a crucible of human dignity.”
Asked if Musk’s apparent defense of the genocide of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other ethnically Turkic people in East Turkistan could suggest that Twitter may be willing to collaborate with China in their extermination, Hudayar noted the critical role that social media plays in Uyghurs advocating for their imprisoned, slaughtered, disappeared, and otherwise persecuted kin under Chinese rule.
“But the betrayal could go deeper. If Twitter, under Musk’s influence, is endangering Uyghur lives by sharing sensitive information, like their DMs, with the Chinese authorities, then we’re talking about a calamity of enormous scale,” Hudayar replied. “Understand this: For Uyghurs, sharing information about the atrocities in East Turkistan isn’t just an act of bravery; it’s a lifeline. If that lifeline is severed by the very platforms we trust, then these tech moguls aren’t just violating our privacy—they’re signing our death warrants.”
East Turkistan existed as a sovereign state twice in the 20th century; communist mass murderer Mao Zedong seized control of the country after the assassination of its leaders in 1949. Like the fellow occupied region of Tibet, East Turkistan has historically not had cultural, ethnic, or political ties to far-east Beijing, where the vast majority of the population is ethnically Han Chinese.
Uyghurs have faced extensive persecution for decades in the region but, under current dictator Xi Jinping, Beijing expanded its policies into a full-blown genocide. The Uyghur Tribunal, an independent platform organized by human rights attorneys and other experts to study Xi’s campaign against the indigenous population of East Turkistan, concluded in December 2021 that the Chinese government was “beyond a reasonable doubt” guilty of genocide. Xi ordered the construction of concentration camps to torture, indoctrinate, enslave, and otherwise abuse Uyghurs, at their peak, housing as many as three million people. Witnesses of the camps have testified of Chinese officials engaging in “acts of unconscionable cruelty, depravity, and inhumanity.” The Uyghur Tribunal detailed among them:
pulling off fingernails; beating with sticks; detaining in ‘tiger chairs’ where feet and hands were locked in position for hours or days without break; confined in containers up to the neck in cold water; and detained in cages so small that standing or lying was impossible
Outside of the camps, Chinese authorities have essentially outlawed Islam, the local religion; stolen children from families into communist “boarding schools” to sever them from their identity; and destroyed mosques, cemeteries, and other critical cultural sites. In 2022, the revelation of the Xinjiang Police Files, a trove of Chinese government documents unearthed by researcher Adrian Zenz and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, revealed that Xi Jinping was directly responsible for ordering the genocide. Chinese officials described the command from above as striving to “break the lineages, break the roots, break the connections, break the origins” of East Turkistan’s people.