Urgent Appeal to the World Bank to Stop Funding China’s Concentration Camps in East Turkistan

Friday, December 20, 2019

On behalf of the Uyghur and other Turkic people of East Turkistan, we appeal to the World Bank to act urgently and stop funding China’s concentration camps in East Turkistan.

It has come to our notice that the World Bank has given China some $50 million in low interest loans to help fund some of China’s so called “vocational training centers,” which is a sick euphemism for concentration camps, in East Turkistan or what China calls “Xinjiang.”

Since 2016, China has arbitrarily detained millions of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and other ethnically Turkic peoples and put them into so-called “re-education camps” and “counter-extremism centers” under the guise of counter-extremism and economic development. In August 2018, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discriminations noted estimates that upwards of a million people were being held in so-called counter-extremism centres and another two million had been forced into so-called “re-education camps” for political and cultural indoctrination.

China originally denied this and later claimed that the facilities are “vocational training centers,” where people voluntarily go to obtain vocational training skills for economic development purposes. In reality these facilities are concentration camps designed to slowly eradicate the Uyghur and other Turkic people and their identity. In May of 2019, the US Department of Defense stated that China was holding at least one million and more likely 3 million Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in concentration camps. More recently, a trove of Chinese internal documents, were leaked to the outside world detailing what China was truly doing. The leaked documents instructed Chinese officials to not “let anyone escape,” and to not “show mercy” to the Uyghurs and other Turkic detainees, “ignore outside criticism” and continue with this brutal policy of repression. All of this when compiled with other evidence including numerous testimonies of former detainees and the families of the detainees, leaked video footages, and other documents, show us it is nothing but a pre-planned systematic genocide.

Now many might argue that there is no evidence of genocide happening, or that it is difficult to verify if there is clear intent and that there is no clear definition of genocide. There is a clear definition of genocide given by the United Nations Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide adopted in 1948 and entered into force in 1952.

Article 2 of the Convention defines genocide as
… any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Here is the evidence:
1) People are dying in these so called “vocational training centers,” Radio Free Asia reported this past October that in one center alone during a period of six months more than 150 people had died. Former detainees testified about witnessing the deaths of many fellow detainees in the concentration camps or “vocational training centers” that they were held in.

2) Detainees in this camps are being held involuntarily and are subjected to forced political and cultural indoctrination, forced starvation, forced medication, torture, rape, organ harvesting, and even a brutal death all which cause serious bodily and mental harm to them millions of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in the camps. Outside the camps, even in far off places like the United States, Turkey, Europe, Australia, Japan, and elsewhere, family members of those held in the camps are going through both physical and mental trauma which is damaging the psychology our entire people. This has led to many dying as result of extreme depression both inside East Turkistan and even outside the country such as the case of a young Uyghur man in the Netherlands. The internal Chinese government documents leaked by the New York Times shows clear evidence that China is deliberately arbitrarily locking up millions of Uyghurs and inflicting conditions on the people of East Turkistan calculated to bring about its physical, cultural, and spiritual destruction.

3) Since China invaded and occupied East Turkistan, and especially post 1970s, the Chinese government has enforced “family planning policies”, created to prevent births among the Uyghur and other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan. The Chinese government stated that between 1989 and 2009 they “prevented 3.7 million illegal births” in East Turkistan. More recently, the population of the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan are decreasing as a result of forced family separation and mass internment. Detainees are subject to forced sterilization which is specifically designed to prevent births among the group. Uyghur and Turkic women are being coerced into marrying Han Chinese men in a bid to further assimilate and eradicate the Uyghur and other Turkic people.

4) The Chinese government has separated hundreds of thousands of Uyghur and other Turkic children from their families and sent them to state run orphanages and boarding schools despite them having living relatives who are able to care for them. The purpose is to indoctrinate these children under the guise of so-called “development and education” to uproot them from their ethnic and religious identity and transform them into loyal Han Chinese citizens.

5) There is clear visual evidence that these facilities are not “vocational training centers” but rather concentration camps. Vocational Training Centers don’t have high walls and barbed fences and guard towers, nor do they have large amounts of security forces armed with assault rifles, tasers, electric cattle rods and other intense prison like security related equipment. According to Senior Fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Adrian Zenz, China has over 1,300+ so-called “vocational training or re-education” concentration camps across East Turkistan. The East Turkistan National Awakening Movement has publicly released the coordinates of over 182 suspected concentration camps, 209 prisons, and 74 labor camps in the region.

The World Bank was founded to give low interest loans to developing nations to fund necessary developmental projects. China is not a developing nation but rather a colonial empire that stretches far beyond its traditional boundaries. By granting massive loans to China, especially on sick projects like so-called “vocational training centers,” the World Bank is not only being complicit in sponsoring colonialism but also genocide. Thus, we urgently call on the World Bank to uphold basic human rights, international laws, and have some moral decency to say refuse China’s request for loans and to immediately STOP granting loans to China and CANCEL all loans which are being used to construct and operate concentration camps or used to engage in genocide and colonialism in part or whole.

Signed,

Canadian Uyghur Association
East Turkistan Cultural Center – Canada
East Turkistan Government-in-Exile
East Turkistan National Awakening Movement
France Uyghur Association
Free Kazakhs Movement
Japan Uyghur Scholars Union
Uyghurstan Liberation Organization