China’s brute crackdown and mass incarceration of Uyghur Muslims

China’s brute crackdown and mass incarceration of Uyghur Muslims

Event Report

18 February 2019

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry joins Uyghur leaders and others to protest China’s incarceration of Muslims

On the 13th of February 2019, The Cordoba Foundation hosted an event to raise awareness of the persecution of the minority Uyghur population in China, titled ‘China’s brute crackdown and mass incarceration of Uyghur Muslims’. Notable speakers, including leading academics, politicians, journalists, human rights activists and Uyghur leaders who fled persecution, drew a crowd of over 500 people at the London Muslim Centre (LMC).

Delivering the keynote, Emily Thornberry, Shadow Foreign Secretary remarked,

“What has started from targeting extremism has morphed into targeting peaceful Uyghurs practicing their faith… There are hundreds of thousands facing systemic oppression and violence. For that to be happening today in the 21st century in a country with a permanent seat in the Security Council is abhorrent and can not be tolerated any longer.”

She concluded with a call to action, “it is time for us to say enough is enough and this should stop. Time to ensure the Uyghur people can practice their faith in peace. There is no them, there is no other, only us”.

Abdelkarim Zayyer, Uyghur scholar and Imam, opened the meeting with recitation from the Qur’an, this was followed by a welcome from LMC’s Director of Engagement, Dilowar Khan, who echoed popular sentiment amongst the crowd “We were hardly aware of this situation as it was rarely covered in the media…I hope we go away with more understanding and commit to do something about it.”

The persecution of the Uyghur population by the Chinese state has been relentless for over 70 years, however in recent years, especially since the rise to power of Xi Jinping, the persecution has intensified at an alarming rate. The Chinese government is systematically persecuting Muslims simply for practicing their faith. Over a million Uyghurs are currently being detained in “re-education” camps” (the term Chinese officials use for concentration camps), for simple crimes such as carrying a copy of the Qu’ran or regularly attending a mosque.

Several Uyghur nationals, forced to flee from China, spoke out about their experiences of living as a Uyghur in China. Rahime Mahmut, singer-songwriter and a human rights activist, stated that “accounts about torture are chilling and horrendous, people are kept in prisons for a year before being moved to concentration camps. One detainee who spent time in three different concentration camps said that many people he knew were forced to admit to making bombs in order to stop their torture”. The persecution reaches all sections of Uyghur society and the “re-education” camps are being applied to normal practicing Muslims. Rahime has not returned to China for the past 18 years in fear of her life. Similarly, Mahmut Turdi was forced to flee in 2004, and has not returned since, and has witnessed his siblings detained in concentration camps. He stated, “whoever is born with a Uyghur identity ends up persecuted… China is unwilling to protect our basic human rights; there is no justice and they have no fear”.

Uyghur poet, scholar and the Secretary, PEN International Uyghur Centre, Aziz Isa Elkun, recounted that,

“Ever since the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, we have faced persecution. However, the ascension of Xi Jinping has made everything worse with forced assimilations since 2016 and the building of concentration camps. Xi Jinping has placed a police station every 100 metres, and since 2017 we have been forbidden to make phone calls abroad”.

The recent escalation of violence against the Uyghurs has intensified under Xi Jinping’s reign for a variety of reasons and its causes are complex. Xi Jinping has difficulties with the Uyghur Chinese as he sees a problem of divided loyalties because of their religion. Professor Paul Reynolds, foreign policy and international economics specialist, elaborated that “if you look at it from a Beijing perspective, it will give you a psychology of the persecutions. It is a colonial project, with borders drawn by Chinese colonialists, similar to Middle Eastern and African borders. Furthermore, the reason why Xi Jinping has intensified his violence can be attributed to three main political reasons: Xi Jinping sees key vulnerabilities in the Communist Party. He needs growth to keep the country happy, he needs to address energy shortages and defence, and he is afraid of the US economy (China has a large US dollar holding of debt). To deal with these vulnerabilities, China wants to push its economic reach across the land mass, which ultimately means taking control of the Uyghur land, forcing migration from China into the area.”

Reynolds added, “The Uyghur area is also rich with natural resources such as oil, which is especially lucrative in the backdrop of a China which has difficulty importing natural resources and wants to develop its internal energy sources, with trade routes reaching from Afghanistan through the Uyghur lands. Xi Jinping has therefore come up with a six-point strategy to protect China’s power; weaken western objections to its crackdown on Uyghur Muslims; increase tourism to the Uyghur region; “re-education” of Uyghur Muslims; train Chinese in paramilitary organisations; and build three oil pipelines whilst allowing the West a share in this.”

Yuen Chan, British-Hong Kong journalist, TV and radio presenter, as well as a former Chinese University lecturer and founder of Journalism Educators for Press Freedom, stated that “The Chinese media is controlled by a vast and sophisticated propaganda machine, and it is hard to produce anything that delineates from the official narrative. Therefore, it is hard for the Chinese to gain any accurate picture of what has been happening. Many reporters have stated that they have witnessed the worst reporting conditions of the last 20 years and 96% of journalists in China have said that they have been visibly followed, with 90% forced to delete their data. Chinese news agencies have also been striking deals with the Western press in order to propagate their official story and keep the Uyghur crisis as China’s ‘dirty secret’”.

Rodney Dixon QC, international human rights lawyer from Temple Garden Chambers, explained that whilst there are many obstacles “it is important that legal avenues are pursued when they can be. It is critical to preserve the wealth of first hand evidence, which can be addressed to the General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council”. He further added, “we must not think legal routes are closed, just because China has not signed up to any treaties”.

Louise Pyne Jones, Senior Researcher at the International Observatory of Human Rights, who is an expert on religious and colonial ideologies, stated that “the solution starts with dialogue, engagement and knowledge sharing. We can then take the debate nationally and internationally through media, NGOs and the government”. Practical tips for how to address the problem were given by Harun Rashid Khan, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain: “we should use social media and mainstream media to raise awareness… keep tweeting and keep talking amongst each other”. He also stressed the importance of Muslim organisations supporting members of the Uyghur community in the UK, and added “the damage caused by interning up to a million Uyghurs in “re-education” camps and increasing restrictions on religious practice and identity is magnified by the fact that coordinated responses from civil society have been too few and far between.”

Dr Anas Altikriti, CEO of The Cordoba Foundation, who moderated the meeting, explained the different aspects of the Foundation’s Uyghur Campaign and appealed for collaboration to address the desperate situation facing Uyghur Muslims. “It is truly unacceptable that an entire ethnicity of people are persecuted in the way that the Uyghur Muslims are. It is imperative that the British government takes its Chinese counterpart to task over this despicable policy and ensures that the Uyghurs are treated as citizens on par with their fellow Chinese citizens of all faiths, races and cultures.”

The meeting ended with a lively question and answer session.

[Ends]

Notes to editors:

  1. For further information about this campaign or to discuss collaborations contact Dr Abdullah Faliq, Convenor of the Uyghur Solidarity Meeting and Managing Director of The Cordoba Foundation – media@thecordobafoundation.com
  2. Event details:
    1. Publicity – http://www.thecordobafoundation.com/news.php?id=1&art=196
    2. Picture highlights – https://www.facebook.com/
    3. Video highlights – https://youtu.be/O9slvfplEqA
  3. For further information about Uyghurs, see the latest edition of iNSIGHTS, titled “China’s mass detentions and incarceration of Uyghur Muslims” written by Dr Rachel Harris. http://www.thecordobafoundation.com/attach/iNSIGHT-Feb_2019_Final.pdf
  4. Organised by The Cordoba Foundation and supported by over 25 organisations. See website for details: http://www.thecordobafoundation.com/news.php?id=1&art=196

Uighurs Protest Invitation

Uighurs Protest Invitation

International Observatory of Human Rights Protests the Unlawful Detention of +1 million Uyghurs in Re-Education Camps in China

5 February 2019

The International Observatory of Human Rights will join the Uyghur community in London outside the Chinese Embassy at 5pm on Tuesday 5 February to protest the unlawful detention and persecution of the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang region of western China.

The protest is being held on the anniversary of the 1997 Ghulja massacre, where hundreds of peaceful protesters were killed by Chinese State security forces. 2019 also marks the 30-year anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, so the protest will be an opportunity to highlight China’s human rights record on the first day of the Chinese New Year of the pig.

The protest is to call on the Chinese authorities to:

  • close internment “Re-Education” camps and immediately release all those held in arbitrary detention.
  • reveal the names, whereabouts and current status of all those who have been subjected to enforced disappearance in China.
  • cease policies of forced cultural assimilation and social re-engineering, known as “Cultural Genocide”, focused on the Uyghurs, Tibetans, Southern Mongolians and other groups.
  • allow access for independent investigators to visit and monitor the region.

The plight of the Uyghur people has been raised in both houses of Parliament over the last few months. Mark Field, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office reported “We remain deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. We are aware of credible reports of thousands of Uyghurs being held in political re-education camps. UK officials recently visited Xinjiang to see the latest situation at first-hand and found a heavy security presence on the ground.” Another oral parliamentary question on the Uyghurs is scheduled to be raised on 11 February in the House of Lords.

Please show your support and join IOHR in a peaceful stand with members of the Uyghur community.

 

Go to website

A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE – THE INCARCERATION OF TARIQ RAMADAN

A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE – THE INCARCERATION OF TARIQ RAMADAN

insights

Issue 2 | January 2019 | The Cordoba Foundation

*The Tariq Ramadan affair, which exploded internationally in October 2017 and became by far the most mediatised #MeToo case of rape accusations1 in France, is no longer making headlines despite still unfolding and generating regular plot twists.

Click here to download this file

Copyright © The Cordoba Foundation 2018 All rights reserved.

Disclaimer Views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of The Cordoba Foundation.

The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) is an independent strategic thinktank that works to promote intercultural dialogue and positive coexistence, through a range of activities including research and publications, training and capacity building, policy briefings and dialogues. The Foundation takes its name from the city of Cordoba, the European metropolis that was once a symbol of human excellence and intellectual ingenuity, where cultures, civilisations and ideas thrived. Embodying this spirit, the Foundation today facilitates the meeting of minds, to advance understanding and respect for one another. www.thecordobafoundation.com

 

 

www.thecordobafoundation.com Cultures in Dialogue

 

The UAE Lobby: SubvertingBritish democracy?

The UAE Lobby: SubvertingBritish democracy?

Acknowledgements

Thanks to the Arab Organisation for Human Rights for its financial support for this report.
Thanks also to all those who have shared information with us about or related to the UAE lobby. We are indebted to a wide variety of people who have shared stories and information with us, most of whom must remain nameless. We also thank Hilary Aked, Izzy Gill, Tom Griffin, Tom Mills. On a personal note, thanks to Narzanin Massoumi for her many contributions to this work.

Conflict of interest statement

No external person had any role in the study, design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, or writing of the report. For the transparency policy of Public Interest Investigations and a list of grants received see: www.spinwatch.org

PUBLIC INTEREST INVESTIGATIONS

Public Interest Investigations (PII) is an independent non-profit making organisation. Founded in 2004, PII promotes greater understanding of the role of PR, propaganda and lobbying and of the power networks that they support, through its website Spinwatch (www. spinwatch.org) and its investigative wiki site Powerbase (www.powerbase.info).

Spinwatch is a founder member of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation in the EU (ALTE R-EU), the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency UK (ALT -UK) and the Scottish Alliance for Lobbying Transparency (SALT ).

Further information:
Website: www.spinwatch.org
Email: info@spinwatch.org
Mail: Spaceworks, Easton Business Centre,
Felix Road, Easton, Bristol, England, BS5 0HE

 

AUTHORS

Alex Delmar-Morgan is a freelance journalist in London and has written for a range of national titles including The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, and The Independent. He is the former Qatar and Bahrain correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones.

David Miller is a director of Public Interest Investigations, of which Spinwatch.org and Powerbase.info are projects. He is also Professor of Sociology at the University of Bath in England. From 2013-2016 he was RCUK Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellow leading a project on Understanding and explaining terrorism expertise in practice. Recent publications include: • The Quilliam Foundation: How ‘counterextremism’ works, (co-author, Public interest Investigations, 2018); • Islamophobia in Europe: counter-extremism policies and the counterjihad movement, (co-author, Public interest Investigations, 2018); • Impact of market forces on addictive substances and behaviours: The web of influence of addictive industries. (co-author, OUP, 2018); • What is Islamophobia? Racism, social movements and the State. (co-editor, Pluto Press, 2017); • The Israel Lobby and the European Union (coauthor, Public Interest Investigations, 2016); • The Henry Jackson Society and the Degeneration of British Neoconservatism. (co-author, Public Interest Investigations, 2015, 2nd Ed. 2018); • How Israel attempts to mislead the United Nations: Deconstructing Israel’s campaign against the Palestinian Return Centre. (Coauthor, Public Interest Investigations, 2015); • The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre. Giving peace a chance? (co-author, Public Interest Investigations, 2013).

 

Spinwatch-UAE_lobby_report
Will the UK government reverse its policy on Saudi Arabia?

Will the UK government reverse its policy on Saudi Arabia?

insights

Issue 1 | December 2018 | The Cordoba Foundation

 

*Bill Law is a Sony award-winning journalist. He joined the BBC in 1995 and since 2002 has reported extensively from the Middle East. He has travelled to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia many times. In 2003 he was one of the first journalists to cover the beginnings of the insurgency that engulfed Iraq. His documentary The Gulf: Armed & Dangerous which aired in late 2010 anticipated the revolutions that became the Arab Spring. He then covered the uprisings in Egypt, Libya and Bahrain. Bill also reported from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Before leaving the BBC in April 2014, he was the corporation’s Gulf analyst. He now works as a freelance journalist focusing on the Gulf and is a regular contributor to the Independent, Middle East Eye, Monocle Radio, Gulf States News, the BBC and the New Arab.

iNSIGHT_DEC_2018

Click here to download this file

Copyright © The Cordoba Foundation 2018 All rights reserved.

Disclaimer Views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of The Cordoba Foundation.

The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) is an independent strategic thinktank that works to promote intercultural dialogue and positive coexistence, through a range of activities including research and publications, training and capacity building, policy briefings and dialogues. The Foundation takes its name from the city of Cordoba, the European metropolis that was once a symbol of human excellence and intellectual ingenuity, where cultures, civilisations and ideas thrived. Embodying this spirit, the Foundation today facilitates the meeting of minds, to advance understanding and respect for one another. www.thecordobafoundation.com

www.thecordobafoundation.com Cultures in Dialogue

FINAL REPORT

FINAL REPORT

The Cordoba Foundation and the Guernica Group launch a new report No. 3:
This report has been prepared by The Guernica Group (TGG) on the basis of inquiries conducted during 2017-2018 at the request of The Cordoba Foundation.
Published in London, United Kingdom – July 2018
Executive Summary

Executive Summary

The Cordoba Foundation and the Guernica Group launch a new report:
This report has been prepared by The Guernica Group (TGG) on the basis of inquiries conducted during 2017-2018 at the request of The Cordoba Foundation.
Published in London, United Kingdom – July 2018