A significant research paper has been published by the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs, revealing the scale of People Republic of China’s transnational repression of Uyghurs for over three decades and how many countries across the world have been complicit in the persecution of Uyghurs Muslims.
In a recently released report, the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs have explained in detail the extent of the Communist Party of China’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims not just in Xinjiang province but also against Uyghur Muslims communities living in other parts of the world.
The research report titled “No Space Left to Run: China’s Transnational Repression of Uyghurs” has accounted for cases of international exploitation of Uyghur Muslims by Communist China and has also compiled such cases in its Transnational Repression of Uyghurs Database. The report also highlights how the Chinese government is perpetrating transnational repression on a massive scale, making Uyghurs worldwide the special targets of state control beyond China’s borders.
Uyghurs are a Turkish-Muslim ethnic group living in Xinjiang, the largest and most western of China’s administrative regions surrounded by Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. The Xinjiang autonomous region in China has had a long history of discord between the authorities and the indigenous ethnic Uighur population.
China targeted Uyghur Muslims beyond its border to silence them, says research
This report highlights how China targets Uyghurs beyond its borders to silence dissent. In partnership with the Uyghur Human Rights Project, the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs has investigated cases of China’s transnational repression of Uyghurs to establish a detailed analysis on the scale and scope of China’s global repression against Uyghurs.
The report states the Chinese government’s reach into 28 countries around the world. The researchers examined 1,546 cases of serious human rights violations on foreign soil from 1997 through March 2021, offering critical insight into the scope and evolution of the Chinese government’s longstanding efforts to control and repress Uyghurs across sovereign borders.
The research data finds instances of at least 28 countries across the world complicit in China’s harassment and persecution of Uyghurs, especially in the Middle East and North Africa with 647 cases, and in South Asia with 665 cases. The dataset contains 1,151 cases of Uyghurs being detained in their host country and 395 cases of Uyghurs being deported, extradited, or rendered back to China.
In their report, the research cautioned the world about increasing China’s transnational repression against Uyghurs, highlighting that the repression against them has accelerated dramatically with the onset of its system of mass surveillance in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) from 2017. The researchers also said that there is a correlation between repression at home and abroad.
Atleast 28 countries are complicit in China’s repression of Uyghurs: Report
In the first stage, from 1997 to 2007, a total of 89 Uyghurs from 9 countries, mostly in South and Central Asia, were detained or sent to China. In the second phase that dated from 2008–2013, 130 individuals from 15 countries were repressed. In the ongoing third phase from 2014 to the end of our data collection in March 2021, the researchers have documented a total of 1,327 individuals cases of detentions of Uyghurs in at least 20 countries.
According to the report, international organisations and foreign governments, especially those countries that share close political and economic ties with the PRC are accused of being complicit in China’s use of transnational repression against Uyghurs, many of whom have sought refuge in these countries. The researchers alleged that the transnational repression of Uyghurs by China is part of a wider trend of global authoritarianism that threatens to erode democratic norms worldwide.
The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs said that stopping China’s transnational repression is a moral imperative and crucial to maintaining state sovereignty and the integrity of international organisations like Interpol and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The research group also urged the host countries to take concrete steps to combat China’s transnational persecution and protect Uyghurs and other vulnerable populations. This report also details trans-national repression and the key actors and methods used by the Chinese government to continue their repression.
The countries include Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Researchers urge international community to address Uyghur persecution, suggest measure to combat the repression
To counteract China’s global repression, the Oxus Society and UHRP recommend the following measures to be adopted by the host countries and international organisations as a whole.
The Oxus Society and UHRP suggested that foreign governments should refuse to extradite Uyghurs, increase refugee and emigration quotas, and restrict networks of enablers, including tech companies, as well as diaspora groups and organisations acting as fronts for the Chinese government.
Further, International organisations and host countries must end their complicity in acts of transnational repression, including by restricting networks of enablers and restricting the export of surveillance technologies that are used in tracking and controlling Uyghurs and other vulnerable communities.
The report said that the global community should strengthen refugee resettlement programs by increasing quotas and streamlining procedures to allow Uyghurs to leave third countries collaborating with China. Increase accountability by raising the costs of embarking on campaigns of transnational repression, the report advised the host countries.
The Oxus Society database just represents the tip of the iceberg as it relies exclusively on publicly reported and validated instances of repression. The unreported cases of violations and instances of less acute human rights violations would undoubtedly raise these figures substantially.
China’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims
China has long been at the receiving end of criticism over its alleged treatment of Uyghur Muslims and sending them to mass detention centres. China has also been accused of oppressing and interfering with Uyghur Muslims in their religious activities.
Chinese oppression of Uyghur Muslims has been known for a long time. Earlier the Chinese police had imposed a dress code for Uyghur women, under which the Muslim women are not allowed to wear long dresses. Last year photos had appeared on social media showing police cutting dresses of Uyghur women for being “too long”. It was also reported that Han Males are sleeping on the same bed as Uyghur Muslim women in China whose male family members, often husbands, are locked up in ‘re-education camps’ in conformity with a diktat by the Chinese regime.
Despite such atrocities, China has not faced any repercussions for its ongoing totalitarian policies, which are most heinously affecting the Uyghurs. They have been abandoned by the Muslim world as well. The Islamic world, which has surrendered itself to the Chinese whims, has maintained a tight lip against China. With no courage to speak against China, the Islamic countries are now throwing the Uyghurs under the bus in exchange for Chinese money.