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Uyghur News Recap: April 8–21, 2023

FILE - Rayhan Asat stands in front a photo of her brother, Ekpar Asat. U.S. and U.K. diplomats have joined forces to demand the release of the Uyghur businessman, who has been detained in China since April 2016 after a trip to the U.S.
FILE - Rayhan Asat stands in front a photo of her brother, Ekpar Asat. U.S. and U.K. diplomats have joined forces to demand the release of the Uyghur businessman, who has been detained in China since April 2016 after a trip to the U.S.

Uyghur Asylum Seekers in US Face Stress From Waiting, Report Finds

The Uyghur Human Rights Project recently published a report highlighting the plight of Uyghur asylum seekers in the U.S. who have fled persecution in Xinjiang. The report revealed that Uyghurs experienced significant stress caused by waiting for more than eight years without resolution of their asylum cases. The Uyghur Human Rights Project made 14 recommendations for action to government agencies and civil society groups to quickly resolve outstanding applications.

Experts urge Congress to strengthen Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China held a hearing on Tuesday to address China's alleged use of forced labor in global supply chains and the resulting environmental impact. Four experts testified and called on Congress to strengthen the implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which aims to stop U.S. imports of items produced by forced labor in China, including in Xinjiang. The hearing comes after U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more than $961 million worth of goods since the enactment of the law last June.

US Congressional Hearing: Strengthening the Implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to Eliminate Forced Labor in Global Supply Chains

US, UK diplomats demand release of Uyghur businessman

U.S. and U.K. diplomats have joined forces to demand the release of Uyghur businessman Ekpar Asat, who has been detained in China since April 2016 after a trip to the U.S. and sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of "inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination."

Asat's sister, Rayhan Asat, said he has been arbitrarily detained in an internment camp. She has been fighting for his release and received support from the U.S. ambassador to China, the U.K. Embassy in China, and the Canadian ambassador to the United Nations on the seventh anniversary of his detention. China has repeatedly denied allegations of repression against the Uyghurs and says facilities in Xinjiang are vocational training centers.

US, UK and other diplomats in China call on Beijing for immediate release on seventh anniversary of Uyghur entrepreneur's detention

China accused of using spies to prevent Uyghurs from observing Ramadan

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has condemned the Chinese government's use of spies to prevent Uyghur Muslims from observing Ramadan, calling it a violation of human dignity and international laws on religious freedom. According to a report by Radio Free Asia, Muslims in Xinjiang have been banned from fasting, and authorities are using spies known as "ears" to monitor and ensure that Uyghur Muslims are not fasting. The spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu, stated that the "claim is unfounded" and a "common tactic used by anti-China forces to smear" China.

Council on American-Islamic Relations accuses Chinese government of using spies to prevent Uyghurs from fasting during Ramadan

China using spies to keep Muslim Uyghurs from fasting during Ramadan

Surveillance company Hikvision accused of targeting Uyghurs in contracts

Axios reported that Chinese surveillance company Hikvision faces allegations of knowingly using Uyghur-targeted language in its contracts with police agencies in Xinjiang. Internal recordings suggest that the company was aware of the situation, despite repeatedly denying involvement in human rights abuses against Uyghurs. The company pointed to its "efforts to enhance human rights compliance since 2018."

Kazakh girl receives birth certificate after initially denied by China

A 6-year-old ethnic Kazakh girl, who was born in China's Xinjiang region, was denied a birth certificate because local officials did not recognize her father's divorce, reported Radio Free Asia. After RFA Mandarin aired the story, Chinese officials issued a birth certificate, which allows the girl to attend school in Kazakhstan where her parents live.

Girl denied Chinese birth certificate reunited with parents in Kazakhstan

Woman's multilingual testimony sheds light on plight of Uyghurs

RFA reported that Nefise Oghuz, a 20-year-old Uyghur student living in Turkey, has testified in four languages — Uyghur, English, Mandarin and Turkish — about the detention of her uncle and the alleged genocide of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Her uncle, Alim Abdukerim, was arrested by Urumqi police in 2017 and has remained imprisoned since then.

In four languages, young Uyghur gives video testimony about detained uncle

Collection of literary works from Uyghur writers published online

A new online collection of 15 poems and short stories by writers with connections to East Turkistan, Uyghurs' preferred name for Xinjiang, has been released by the Asian American Writers' Workshop. The collection, titled Spring Will Come: Writings from East Turkistan, serves as a reflection on the impact of China on Uyghurs. The U.S. and several other Western governments have called China's treatment of Uyghurs genocide, which China has denied.

Holding out hope for a 'spring' free from China's repression

News in brief

Last week, during a discussion held by the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, authors of a new report presented details on China's transnational repression of the Uyghur diaspora in Britain, Turkey and Thailand. According to David Tobin, a lecturer in East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield, and Nyrola Elimä, an independent researcher, Uyghurs were offered information about their detained family members in exchange for conducting surveillance on Uyghur diaspora activists.

China's repression of Uyghurs extends beyond borders, report says

Quote of note

"Words are inadequate to capture my family's pain as we commemorate the seventh year of Ekpar's enforced disappearance. I kept wondering how did we even get by the past seven years? Ekpar's health is declining in China's genocidal camps; his ordeal is a testament to China's cruelty."

— Rayhan Asat, a Harvard Law School graduate and human rights lawyer, about the detention of her brother, Uyghur businessman Ekpar Asat