US hardens stand on Chinese oppression of Uyghur Muslims

Below is an article published by India Narrative, Photo credit U.S. State Department

Weeks after enacting the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, the United States has imposed sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) for its role in China’s brutal campaign of colonization and genocide of minorities.

The East Turkistan Government-in-Exile (ETGE) has hailed the US decision and said, “the ETGE applauds the US Treasury Department for sanctioning the XPCC, also known for its role in China’s brutal campaign of colonization and genocide.” The US also sanctioned Sun Jinlong, former party secretary of the XPCC, and Peng Jiarui, deputy party secretary and commander of the XPCC, the ETGE said in a statement.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had announced that sanctions have been imposed on XPCC and two of its officials for their connection with serious human rights abuses on the Uyghur community in Xinjiang. After the sanctions imposed by the US Department of the Treasury, he urged countries worldwide to condemn the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for their continuous human rights abuse against its own citizens.

Since 2017, the XPCC has played a crucial role in China’s mass internment of over 3 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Turkic peoples in concentration camps. They have been subjected to forced labor, extraction of biometric data, coercive population control including sterilization, and extensive surveillance across East Turkistan.

The XPCC runs at least 74 labor camps across Occupied East Turkistan, where Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples are used as slave labor, according to the East Turkistan government.

“The US government’s sanctioning of the XPCC is of great importance as it directly seeks to hold accountable the Chinese entity, which has not only played the most direct role in China’s colonization and occupation of East Turkistan but also has for decades facilitated the genocide of East Turkistan’s people,” the ETGE said. “We thank the US government and the Trump Administration for actively working to hold China accountable for its mass atrocities against East Turkistan and its peoples.”

On July 11, US President Donald Trump signed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act which holds China accountable for grotesque human rights violations.

The recently elected Prime Minister of East Turkistan Government-in-Exile, Salih Hudayar, said, “We thank President Donald Trump for signing the Uyghur Act and we hope this will be the first step towards ending China’s occupation and oppression in East Turkistan.”

This is truly a historic day for East Turkistan and its people, especially the Uyghurs, he added. “We urge other countries across the free world, especially in the EU, India, Japan, Australia, and Turkey to implement similar laws that would help protect the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan.”

The ETGE also hoped while the world remains largely silent on the East Turkistan/Uyghur oppression, the government hoped that passage of this Bill would encourage other countries to follow suit and pass similar Bills to push back against China’s persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples.

On the occasion of Eid-al-Adha, Hudayar called on Islamic nations to break their silence on Chinese oppression and support people of Xinjiang in their fight against decades of occupation and genocide by the CCP. He urged Muslims across the world to oppose China’s decades of the occupation and genocide in East Turkistan.

Elaborating on oppression by the Chinese government, Hudayar said mosques and other religious sites have destroyed. “Qurans and other Islamic texts have been burned. Over 500,000 East Turkistan children have been forcibly separated from their families and sent to state-run orphanages to be raised as atheist Chinese citizens,” said Hudayar. “East Turkistan women are being sterilized; Muslims are being forced to eat pork and drink alcohol. The organs of East Turkistani Muslims are being harvested and sold to Muslims across the world as halal organs.”

The Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking minority from Central Asia, are a distinct ethnic group from Han Chinese, with Urumqi being closer to Kabul than Beijing. In 2009, the most infamous riot broke out in the streets of Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, which pitted Uyghur Muslims against Han Chinese. Communist China has turned the entire region into a highly controlled, open-air prison after the Urumqi riots in 2009.

The ETGE of East Turkistan, also known as Xinjiang, is set up by Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other ethnic tribes from the region and claims to be the sole organ authorized to represent the region until it has been liberated from Chinese rule. Communist China has strongly opposed it since its inception on September 14, 2004, in Washington, USA.

The territory of East Turkistan is administered by China as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The ETGE calls it an illegitimate military occupation by China as it considers that East Turkistan is a distinct nation with a long history of independence. China’s position is that the integration of Xinjiang into the Chinese state in 1949 was a ‘Peaceful Liberation.’