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Uyghur News Recap: May 13-20, 2024

FILE - Gulbahar Jelilova, an ethnic Uyghur activist from Kazakhstan, is pictured in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 16, 2018. Jelilova recently was relocated in Paris after attempted encounters by suspected Chinese nationals.
FILE - Gulbahar Jelilova, an ethnic Uyghur activist from Kazakhstan, is pictured in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 16, 2018. Jelilova recently was relocated in Paris after attempted encounters by suspected Chinese nationals.

Here is a look at the latest Uyghur-related news around the world.

Uyghur activist moved after incident in Paris

Gulbahar Jelilova, a Uyghur activist in Paris, was relocated after an incident on May 8 when unidentified individuals, suspected of being Chinese nationals, repeatedly rang her doorbell. This occurred during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to France, when activists protested the visit, including Jelilova. The Chinese Embassy has not commented on the incident.

Train suspected of having ties to forced-labor goods

A freight train from Xinjiang to Salerno, Italy, carrying "agricultural products" has raised suspicions that it might have Uyghur forced-labor ties. Advocacy groups urge an investigation to ensure compliance with laws against forced labor. The Chinese state newspaper Global Times describes the China-Europe Railway Express as one of the China Belt and Road Initiative’s flagship projects that reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Uyghur woman arrested for protesting land seizure

A Uyghur woman in Xinjiang was arrested after protesting the confiscation of her land by Chinese authorities. Identified as Belikiz, the woman’s social media post about the seizure highlights the broader issue of land confiscations affecting Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

US bans imports from 26 Chinese textile firms

The United States has restricted imports from 26 Chinese textile companies, citing alleged ties to forced labor in Xinjiang. Beijing denies these allegations. The move, part of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, aims to ensure responsible sourcing practices. A bipartisan group of lawmakers are advocating for further actions, including the blacklisting of companies in other industries that use materials sourced from Xinjiang.

Boeing shareholders address human rights concerns

Boeing’s board of directors unanimously advised shareholders to vote against a proposal for an independent review of the aerospace company’s operations in China during Boeing's annual meeting. The proposal from the National Legal and Policy Center raised questions about China's emissions and human rights record. The board stated the proposal was unnecessary because Boeing is transparent about its operations in China.

Uyghur man sentenced for disturbing social order

Quddusjan Abduweli, a 24-year-old Uyghur man, was sentenced to five years and four months in prison in Xinjiang for allegedly disturbing social order. Arrested in July 2023 while traveling to a wedding with friends, Abduweli was tried on May 10 behind closed doors, without legal representation, his sister posted on social media.

Imported cars linked to forced labor in China

A U.S. Senate report found BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen sourced parts from a Chinese supplier accused of forced labor in Xinjiang. Despite warnings, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover continued to import components from Xinjiang into the U.S. Volkswagen has a facility in Xinjiang through a joint venture. The automakers have reportedly stopped shipping parts from the Chinese supplier.

News in brief

Shanghai uses surveillance to detect Uyghurs

Shanghai's Xuhui District has incorporated Uyghur detection into its surveillance system across 14 police stations, using facial recognition to identify individuals who are ethnically Uyghur, reported IPVM, a security and surveillance industry research group. One policing software product detects "Uyghurs with hidden terrorist inclinations." The author questions why the surveillance system is used in Shanghai, an area with a small Uyghur population. A human rights advocate also raised concerns about racial profiling and discrimination.


The surveillance system in Shanghai is "wildly in tension with laws, both domestic and international, guaranteeing a host of different rights" and is, "at best, a perverse government impulse to surveil members of a particular community in a particular place all the time, regardless of what they're doing. At worst, it's just high-tech discrimination." — Sophie Richardson, a Stanford University visiting scholar and former China director at Human Rights Watch, to IPVM.