Remarks by the Hon David Kilgour at the National Capital Peace Council (of the Universal Peace Federation) online event,
“Uyghur Genocide: Canadians Confronting China”
The persecution of Turkic peoples in Xinjiang/East Turkistan is an increasingly criticized feature of Beijing’s rule under Xi Jinping.
It began following Mao’s army seizure of the independent state of East Turkistan in 1949. It has subsequently included using the region as an inhuman laboratory for 47 nuclear explosions from 1964 to 1996 with radiation-caused cancer consequences for many residents.
Since 2016, conditions have worsened so much that increasingly, comparisons are made with the Holocaust. No foreign government is today permitted to send its diplomats or nationals into Xinjiang. Nor can foreign-based companies; the world doesn’t know what COVID-19 has done to the indigenous residents.
We know from escaped survivors, leaked official documents and satellite imaging that Beijing is subjecting many to concentration camps, with renunciation of Islam, 24/7 surveillance, torture and organ pillaging.
According to the Australian Policy Institute, at least 80,000 Uyghurs have been sent to work as forced labourers in factories in other regions of China.
Turkey-China Extradition Treaty
On Dec 28, according to France’s channel 24, the party-state in Beijing announced the ratification of an extradition treaty with Turkey, which it says it wants to use to speed up the return of certain refugees and Muslim Uyghurs suspected of “terrorism”.
Quoting or paraphrasing channel 24:
The Turkish parliament has not yet ratified the bilateral agreement signed in 2017, but it has already raised concerns among the large Uyghur diaspora (estimated at 50,000 people) in Turkey. Turkey has linguistic and cultural ties with the Uyghurs; Ankara has long been one of the main defenders of their cause on the international stage.
‘The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress has ratified the Sino-Turkish extradition treaty”, the Chinese parliament said Saturday evening in a short statement on its website. Fortunately, extraditions can still be challenged on several grounds.
If the state to which the extradition request is submitted considers the application related to a ‘political crime’, if the person concerned is one of its citizens, or if the latter enjoys the right of asylum, there is presumably no extradition.
‘This extradition treaty will cause worry among Uyghurs who have fled China and do not yet have Turkish citizenship,’ Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Uighur World Congress, an exile organization based in Germany, told AFP. ‘We call on the Turkish government (…) to prevent this treaty from becoming an instrument of persecution,’ he said, adding that Beijing is exerting economic pressure on Turkey to ratify the treaty.
The question is a delicate one for Ankara because the Turks are globally sensitive to the Uyghur cause. News articles accusing Turkey of secretly expelling Uighurs to China have provoked a public outcry.
Turkey is the only country with a Muslim majority to have so far publicly denounced the treatment of Uyghurs. The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs had described it at the beginning of 2019 as a “disgrace for humanity”. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, praised last year in China the policy conducted in Xinjiang, judging the people there ‘happy’, according to comments reported by the official agency China News.
Radio Free Asia
On the ‘happy’ claim, a news item carried by Radio Free Asia on Nov. 18 is revealing (1). A hospital for infectious diseases at Aksu city (pop. 600,000) in Xinjiang was transformed into a second internment camp. There is a large crematorium nearby and a “green corridor” for expedited transport of organs at nearby Aksu airport.
Ethan Gutmann, author of The Slaughter, who has long studied forced organ harvesting from political prisoners in China, concludes that the Aksu camps, hospital infrastructure and green corridor facilitate a steady source of organs to harvest from Uyghurs.
He adds, “… a large cremation center and a hospital … connected to the camp directly… You extract the organs from the living human being(s), you let them die. The organs are strapped to …. (a) machine (that oxygenates them for approximately 20-24 hours). … That’s enough time to get [an organ] to the airport to fly it over to the east coast of China.”
Former camp detainees, Gutmann met, detailed receiving DNA and blood tests upon their internment under the guise of a mandatory “universal health check,” but he thinks the tests are “for tissue matching.” The infrastructure at the Aksu sites “speeds everything up … for higher margins of profit,” (because) foreign organ tourists are willing to pay significantly higher prices than Chinese citizens, meaning each detainee could be “worth” about U.S. $750,000 for their lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver.
In 2017, Xi Jinping began erecting a “re-education” gulag for Muslim communities similar to that established for Falun Gong practitioners after mid-1999. Both networks receive inmates arrested by police without any pretence of a hearing, trial or appeal – a grim practice invented in Stalin’s Soviet Union.
American author Robert D. Kaplan concludes that China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative “requires the complete subjugation of the Uyghur population” (2).
In 2018, scholars from 40 nations condemned the internment of minorities in Xinjiang and called on the international community to pressure Beijing to cease its campaign of unprecedented inhumanity.
Organ harvesting from Uyghurs preceded that from Falun Gong (which began in 2001). Dr. Enver Tohti, a Uyghur, has detailed often how in 1995, as a general surgeon in a Ürümqi hospital, he was sent to an execution ground to remove the kidneys and liver from a living prisoner.
Gutmann estimates that organs of 65,000 Falun Gong and 2000-4000 Uyghurs, Tibetans and Christians were “harvested” from 2000 – 2008.
Dr. Tohti has publicized a photograph of the Human Organ Transportation Green-Path (HOTGP) at Ürümqi Airport, which expedites the transport of organs to global recipients. The photo of a priority lane sign marked “Special Passengers, Human Organ Exportation Lane.” went viral.
Dr. Maya Mitalipova at MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research asserts: “… (the) entire population of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims in (Xinjiang) (has) been forcefully health checked and … blood samples (have been) withdrawn … (from) 2016 (on). These procedures were performed only (on the) Muslim population…” (3)
The UN committee on the elimination of racial discrimination has termed Xinjiang a “no rights zone.” Encircled by barbed wire, surveillance cameras, and armed guards are labour camps where Turkic minorities are forced to work for little or no pay.
Call to Action
Responsible governments and businesses worldwide, including Canada, should join the United States and Australia in boycotting anyone doing business in Xinjiang. Forced labour in its internment camps is poisoning the supply chain of numerous well-known companies from democratic nations. (4)
Global Magnitsky legislation makes it easier for specific governments, including Canada’s, to impose targeted financial and visa sanctions on human rights-abusing officials in Beijing.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the ‘Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’ by a vote of 406-3; it is now under consideration by the Senate. The bill declares that unless U.S. Customs can verify that goods are not produced using forced labour they cannot enter the United States. If it becomes law, it will mark the most significant attempt to pressure Beijing over its mass detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.
ISU: www.isupportuyghurs.org )