World Uighur Congress head slams Chinese oppression

World Uighur Congress head slams Chinese oppression

Muammer Elveren - ISTANBUL
World Uighur Congress head slams Chinese oppression World Uighur Congress (WUC) head Rebiya Kadeer has criticized Chinese oppression of the Uighur Turks living in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, saying that massacres, extrajudicial executions and oppression against Uighurs was continuing, daily Hürriyet reported on July 8.

Kadeer said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s planned visit to China later this month could have an effect on the fate of the Uighur Turks.

“I hope that when he meets Chinese leaders President Erdoğan brings the Uighur issue to the table and discusses violence and oppression against the Uighur Turks living in East Turkestan,” she added. 

Beijing issued a statement before Ramadan that said politicians, public officials, students and teachers from the Muslim community would be banned from fasting during the holy month, said Kadeer, the head of the WUC, a U.S.-based international organization representing Uighur people around the world.

Stores and restaurants owned by Muslims are also forced to serve alcoholic drinks and tobacco products during Ramadan, Kadeer said.

Some 28 Uighurs were killed by Chinese security forces on Jun. 22, 2015 amid incidents that broke out after alcohol drinking festivals were publicly held in streets during hours of fasting.

Kadeer said it was good to hear that Turkey’s Foreign Ministry told the Chinese ambassador to Turkey of its deep concern over news reports about the ban on fasting and other acts of worship. 

The UNC head added that Beijing’s denials could not overshadow the reality that China carried out ethnic cleansing against the Uighurs in Urumqi, the provincial capital of the Uighur Autonomous Region, on July 5, 2009. 

“China has continued to say, ‘Uighurs living in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region are happy and enjoying religious freedom, as defined by the constitution. There is nothing called an ‘ethnic issue,’” Kadeer said.

WUC Deputy Head Ömer Kanat, meanwhile, said a number of fake stories about Chinese torture of Uighur Turks were being shared on social media, but the debate over the credibility of these stories should not overshadow ongoing Chinese oppression of the Uighur Turks.