WASHINGTON, DC – Earlier today, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration is considering lifting Uyghur sanctions in exchange for a fentanyl deal with China, sparking widespread alarm and condemnation from the global East Turkistani / Uyghur diaspora. The East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) strongly urges the Biden administration not to compromise the Uyghur people’s lives and dignity in any negotiation. Such a move not only undermines human rights principles but also jeopardizes international law and the safety of millions globally.
China’s ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan is the greatest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century. Since January 19, 2021, the U.S. Government and the parliaments of a dozen western nations have designated China’s atrocities against Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan as genocide. It is crucial that the United States maintains a firm stance against these heinous crimes and refrains from taking any actions that may condone or assuage the perpetrators.
The ETGE Prime Minister, Salih Hudayar, voiced his concern, stating, “In addition to being an insult to the millions of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan who have had their DNA forcibly collected and are facing genocide at the hands of China, the latest reported move by the Biden administration is both foolish and treacherous.”
“China did not honor its agreement to not hack the United States or militarize the South China Sea when the Obama administration foolishly negotiated with them. Trading sanctions relief for cooperation will have the same result,” he added.
ETGE President Ghulam Yaghma drew attention to the grave consequences of lifting sanctions by emphasizing, “China is murdering Americans with fentanyl, and lifting sanctions will not buy their ‘cooperation.’ In fact, it will encourage further violations of human rights and fentanyl trafficking.”
“China is already obligated by the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime to support U.S. anti-drug efforts. Providing sanctions relief to a criminal regime for its violations of human rights undermines international law and establishes a perilous precedent, he continued.
Dr. Mamtimin Ala, the Strategic Advisor of the East Turkistan Government in Exile and author of Worse than Death: Reflection of the Uyghur Genocide, warned against succumbing to extortion and compromising principles, stating, “China’s regime is engaging in extortion by withholding support for anti-narcotics efforts in order to extract sanctions relief. “Giving in to these tactics will only encourage further coercion and embolden their reprehensible behavior.”
“The Biden-Blinken policy of retreat and capitulation must come to an end. Now is the moment for unwavering resolve and commitment to international justice and human rights,” he added.
The ETGE calls on the Biden administration to uphold the dignity of the Uyghur people and maintain their commitment to human rights. The United States should not exchange the lives of an oppressed nation for short-term gains. Instead, the United States must work collaboratively to hold China accountable for its genocide and violations of human rights and to demand justice for the Uyghur and other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan.
The ETGE urges the international community, including the U.S. Government, to maintain and strengthen sanctions against China until concrete and verifiable steps are taken to end the Uyghur genocide. Any attempt to placate the oppressors by trading away the Uyghurs would be a betrayal of our shared humane values and principles.