- Interview with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar of East Turkestan-in-Exile
- “Xi Jinping’s 3rd term has become more difficult
- 20~30 people in a prison camp, there is no place to lie down”
- Asking the South Korean government for support and solidarity
The below article was originally published in Korean by EToday Korea, photo credit: Ko Ko Young
It has been alleged that the Chinese government is intensifying human rights abuses against detainees in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region during President Xi Jinping’s third term. In particular, the Uyghur independence movement in the United States, the East Turkestan Exile Government, was the first to claim that China was moving detainees to Qinghai province and other provinces to increase the level of forced labor in order to avoid the eyes of the West and human rights groups.
We recently interviewed Prime Minister Salih Hudayar at the office of the East Turkestan Government-in-Exile in Washington, D.C.
Xinjiang Uyghur is an autonomous region given to the Uyghurs by China, which means “new territory” in order to prevent East Turkestan from gaining independence, and now independence activists want their territory to be called East Turkestan. Incorporated into China during the Qing Dynasty, it was once recognized as an independent republic, but was re-absorbed into the territory of China with the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Muslim Uyghurs and some Turkic tribes, such as Kazakhs, live here.”The number of prisoners in Xinjiang continues to rise”
The facilities where Xinjiang Uyghurs are held are commonly referred to as prisons, forced labor camps, and internment camps. According to the U.S. Department of Defense in 2019, there are an estimated 3 million Uyghurs and Turks imprisoned in a series of locations.
“We know that this number continues to rise,” Hudayar said, adding that “some have died in camps or labor camps, and many others have gone missing here.” “The genocide in China began in earnest in the summer of 2014. Xi Jinping has declared a so-called ‘people’s war against the Uyghurs’ in the name of confronting separatism, terrorism and extremism,” he said, adding that “many Uyghurs and Turks have been brainwashed, tortured, organ harvested and subjected to biological experimentation in camps and prisons.” “There have also been widespread state-led rapes of women,” he added. The year 2014 was the time of the bombing at the Urumqi station in Xinjiang Uyghur. The coinciding with Xi’s first inspection of Xinjiang coincided with the involvement of Uyghurs in the crime, and the Chinese government launched a full-scale crackdown, Hudayar said.
He also said, “In a prison camp, 20~30 people are confined in one room, so diseases are bound to occur. Prisoners have nowhere to lie,” he said, adding, “The Chinese government’s goal is to create a death-worthy environment and kill them slowly but surely.”
As for the situation in cotton cultivation, which the United States and the West have imposed sanctions, Prime Minister Hudayar stressed that it is still going on.
“Despite sanctions against Chinese companies involved in forced labor among Uyghurs, 80 percent of China’s cotton products still come from here. In addition, in recent years, the Chinese government has begun to find ways to avoid sanctions and criticism, not only continuing to grow cotton in Xinjiang Uyghurs, but also transferring prisoners to other provinces, such as Qinghai and Gansu, to grow cotton there. “In 2023, cotton cultivation through forced labor is still continuing,” he stressed.
In the past, foreign media have speculated that Gansu Province is the second site of forced labor, but this is the first time that Qinghai Province has been mentioned.” Arrest warrant issued to Putin, Xi Jinping should also get it”
Referring to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) recent arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on charges of war crimes in Ukraine, Hudayar said that a warrant should also be issued for Xi. “Xi is the leader of China,” he said, “and all policies were made because of him, and the genocide happened because he ordered it.”
The East Turkestan-in-exile government filed a lawsuit with the ICC on July 6, 2020, against Chinese officials, including Xi, and submitted evidence to substantiate it. However, there has been no news yet, Hudayar said.
“The warrant issued to President Putin was for allegedly forcibly transferring 40,000~50,000 Ukrainian children to Russia. What China has done is much worse. They have forcibly relocated 900,000 Uyghur children since 2014.” “The Chinese government is calling the concentration camps orphanages and boarding schools, and instead of depriving children of their identity, they are imbued with Chinese ideas so that they can become Chinese people,” he explained.
He also claimed that Xi is stepping up human rights abuses in his third term in power.”The U.S. is lukewarm on support… Taliban cooperate with China”
There are three East Turkestan Administration-in-Exile offices around the world. Among them, Washington, D.C. The office is a small space two blocks east of the White House. According to Hudayar, they have not yet received official support from the United States.
The Taliban are not supporting them either, Hudayar said. “The Taliban regime is cooperating with China in weakening and suppressing our independence movement,” he said, adding that “China, along with the Taliban, has described our movement as a so-called jihadist movement.” “We can see that the relationship between China and the Taliban is very deep,” he said, adding that “the Taliban will not support us if China does not support us.”
When U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan and the Taliban took over, the Taliban were the bane of China. This is because the Taliban, who want to expand their Islamic influence, were able to use Xinjiang Uyghur as a stronghold. But the reality was different. The Taliban, who were hit with financial sanctions by the United States, hastily took China’s hand. China has also talked to the Taliban to suppress the Xinjiang Uyghur issue.”Our relationship with Korea goes back to the days of Goguryeo”
Prime Minister Hudayar asked for support and solidarity with South Korea based on the fact that they share a long history. “Our relationship with Korea dates back to the 6th century, during the Goguryeo dynasty. At that time, we had a long history together, fighting together against the Tang Dynasty that invaded Goguryeo,” he said, adding, “Many Koreans don’t know this, but I think we need to shed more light on this and rebuild our mutual relationship.”
“We call on the government and people of the Republic of Korea to consider the ethical and moral implications of the ongoing genocide on their relations with China,” he said, adding, “The South Korean government, with its growing international influence, can play a very important role in condemning genocide and human rights abuses in Xinjiang Uyghur and promoting international action.”
Meanwhile, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to a request for comment on the forced relocation and labor of Uyghur residents in Xinjiang province in Qinghai province.