Human Rights Watch is urging the British government and the European Union to “investigate and appropriately sanction” a visiting top Chinese official from Xinjiang.
Erkin Tuniyaz, the Chinese Communist Party deputy secretary in Xinjiang and chairman of the Xinjiang government, is scheduled to attend meetings next week in London and on February 21 in Brussels.
HRW said in a statement Friday that crimes against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims are rampant in Xinjiang.
“The UK and EU should not be drawn into meetings with senior Xinjiang officials so that China can whitewash its atrocities in the Uyghur region,” Yasmine Ahmed, HRW’s UK director, said.
HRW said it has documented widespread and systematic attacks targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims, including “mass arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances, mass surveillance, cultural and religious persecution, separation of families, forced returns to China, forced labor, and sexual violence and violations of reproductive rights, which can constitute crimes against humanity.”
“The UK and EU’s response to Tuniyaz’s visit is an important test of their resolve to promote human rights in face of China’s charm offensive,” according to Ahmed. “Their recent experience with Russia should have shown that failing to stand up to powerful dictatorships carries steep costs, a mistake that shouldn’t be repeated with China.”
The United States sanctioned Tuniyaz in December 2021 for his role in Xinjiang abuses.