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Uyghur News Recap: February 24 – March 3, 2023 

FILE - A worker toils on a Volkswagen assembly line in Wolfsburg, Germany, April 27, 2020. Investors and human rights activists are criticizing VW over claims made by the company's China chief that he saw no evidence of forced labor during a visit a VW plant in Xinjiang, China.

A summary of this week's Uyghur-related news from around the world:

Uyghur mom imprisoned for sending children to Islamic school, report finds

An investigation by Radio Free Asia found this week that Ayshemhan Abdulla, a Uyghur woman, was sentenced to 21 years in prison in 2017 in China's Xinjiang region for sending her children to a local home-based religious school. Abdulla's arrest was not likely the decision of judicial authorities but rather that of the Chinese Communist Party's political and legal committee, a Uyghur former police officer told RFA.

Canadian MP whom Chinese allegedly helped skips Uyghur genocide votes

Liberal MP Han Dong, who is accused of receiving assistance from the Chinese consulate during his 2019 election, has missed two parliamentary votes declaring China's treatment of Muslim Uyghurs a genocide. A recent Global News report cited unnamed national security sources who alleged that the consulate bused in seniors and Chinese international students to vote for Dong in the nomination contest. Dong won both his elections in 2019 and 2021 with more than 50% of the vote. Dong did not respond to questions about the missed votes nor his view on the Uyghur genocide before press time. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended Dong, saying he was a valuable member of the government.

China rejects abuse allegations in UN Human Rights Council speech

China rejected U.S. allegations of mistreatment of Uyghurs and other minority Muslim groups in Xinjiang, defending its actions during a prerecorded speech delivered by Foreign Minister Qin Gang at the United Nations Human Rights Council's 52nd session.

News in brief

Investors and human rights activists are criticizing Volkswagen over claims made by Ralf Brandstaetter, the company's China chief, that he saw no evidence of forced labor during a recent visit to the automaker's Xinjiang plant. The region has been the subject of documented human rights abuses, including mass forced labor in detention camps.

Despite Brandstaetter's claims, activists and lawmakers have raised concerns about verifying labor standards in the region. Volkswagen's major investor, Deka Investment, warned that not ensuring labor standards in Xinjiang could result in violations of supply chain laws. Critics have called on Volkswagen to make a full public accounting of its supply chains and to take a stance on human rights violations in China.

Quote of note

"We remain gravely concerned about the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity that China is committing against Muslim Uyghurs and other members of minority groups in Xinjiang. The report issued last year by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights affirmed serious abuses perpetrated by the PRC [People's Republic of China] in Xinjiang, including the large-scale arbitrary deprivation of liberty of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim communities, and credible allegations of torture and sexual and gender-based violence."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council