Prior to the China-Central Asia Summit, which will take place on May 18–19 in Xi’an, China, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) urges the Central Asian governments to speak out.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is hosting the summit with his counterparts from Kazakhstan’s Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Uzbekistan’s Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmonov, Kyrgyzstan’s Sadyr Japarov, and Turkmenistan’s Serdar Berdimuhamedov.
In order to stop the ongoing Uyghur Genocide, which is aggressively carried out against the ethnic, cultural, and religious kinships of Uyghurs living next door, WUC strongly condemns the prioritization of economic and trade relations as it continues to serve China’s interests of expansionism and consolidates its influence throughout the region.
The G-7 Summit is being held in Hiroshima, and China is hosting the first gathering, the first significant diplomatic event of its kind. The China-Central Asia Summit is expected to be dominated by China’s proclaimed agenda of enhancing economic and security relations as well as expanding counterterrorism cooperation.
Specifically, the Chinese propaganda narrative on “counter-terrorism” is being used to criminalize legal religious behavior, resulting in the arbitrary detention of millions of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Kyrgiz, and Tadjiks in concentration camps where they are subjected to routine torture, rape, and forced labor.
The brutal persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkic people in Xinjiang (East Turkistan) by the Chinese government is effectively violating and invalidating the commitment made by the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tadjikistan to Turkic-Islamic values as well as their stance against Islamophobia, according to a press release from WUC.
The Kazakh government promised just last month to “contribute to building a China-Central Asia community with a shared future,” despite the fact that Kazakhs make up the second biggest ethnic minority experiencing the continuing genocide of the Chinese government in East Turkistan. Furthermore, the Kazakh government’s refusal to provide Uyghurs seeking asylum in Kazakhstan passports puts them in immediate danger and increases the possibility of their being forcibly returned to China. The Kazakh government, along with other Central Asian governments, has failed to uphold their adherence to human rights and universal principles in the multilateral arena by endorsing China’s genocidal practices against the Uyghur and Turkic peoples and by opposing a resolution calling for a discussion of the issue.
According to WUC President Dolkun Isa, “Central Asian Governments have followed suit on the brutal treatment and intimidation the Chinese government displays against Uyghurs and other Turkic people.” These bordering nations have fallen short of their obligations to protect the Uyghur, Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgiz, and Tadjik people from the continuing genocide being perpetrated against them.
The Belt and Road Initiative, which was initially launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping as a Marshal Plan of the 21st Century in a speech at Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University in 2013, is celebrating its 10th anniversary as Kazakhstan and Beijing strengthen their strategic alliance. East Turkistan is one of the areas most impacted by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the region because it served as a key intersection and one of the main corridors for BRI expansion, leading to the destruction of numerous Uyghur landmarks, including mosques, religious shrines, historic sites, and villages, and the eviction of Uyghur families from their historic homes.
WUC requests that atrocity crimes committed against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Uzbek, Kyrgiz, Tadjiks, and other Turkic people in Xinjiang (East Turkistan) be brought up at the summit by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. The WUC calls attention to the Central Asian governments’ responsibilities under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), as well as the shared history, language, culture, and tradition of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyzs, and Uzbeks.