Here is a fast take on Uyghur-related news around the world in the past week:
Xinjiang's official becomes Tibet's party leader
Wang Junzheng, known as the chief of a Chinese paramilitary group connected to human rights abuses in Xinjiang, has been named the new Communist Party chief of Tibet.
Forty-three countries criticize China's treatment of Uyghurs
At the United Nations, 43 countries expressed in a formal statement their concerns about the situation of Uyghurs, which China's U.N. ambassador dismissed as 'groundless.'
Beijing builds repressive governance system for Uyghur region
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank, released a report on Xinjiang stating that after analyzing thousands of pages of Chinese-language sources, 'including leaked police records and government budget documents never before published,' it gained insight into the methods the Chinese Communist Party has used to oppress Uyghurs and other Indigenous communities in Xinjiang since 2014.
US retail giants stop selling Chinese surveillance equipment
U.S. big-box retailers Home Depot and Best Buy will no longer sell security cameras from Lorex and Ezviz, citing reports that their Chinese parent companies, Dahua Technology and Hikvision, respectively, are involved in human rights violations and abuses in the Uyghur region.
News in brief
- A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is seeking answers from Arizona-based Universal Electronics Inc. about its alleged role in using Uyghurs as forced laborers in China. A UEI spokesperson told VOA that the company looked forward to working with senators on the questions they raised and said the company 'made the decision last week to end its relationship with the staffing agency that hired these workers.' Elise Anderson, senior program officer for research and advocacy at the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, told VOA that the Senate inquiry sent the message that lawmakers intend to hold corporations accountable and that it could signal further action such as hearings or even legislation.
- China erased NBA player Enes Kanter from social media after the Boston Celtics player posted two separate videos criticizing the Chinese government's treatment of Tibetans and Uyghurs. China immediately stopped playing Celtics games on Chinese platforms. Elise Anderson, senior program officer for research and advocacy at the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, told VOA that Kanter's speaking out about the Uyghur crisis is highly significant. 'By virtue of his celebrity, Kanter has the ability to galvanize public support on a broad and wide scale,' she said.
- The wife of a Uyghur Canadian who has been in a Chinese prison for the past 15 years finds renewed hope in her husband's case. After learning that China released two Canadians last month, Kamila Talendibaeva told VOA she was pushing for the Canadian government to fight for her husband, Huseyin Celil. In 2006, while traveling in Uzbekistan with his Canadian passport, Celil was arrested at Beijing's request and deported to China.
- China released an updated blueprint for childhood development that removed the rights of minority children to be educated in their native language. This move is seen by some analysts as a step toward changing its constitutional statement that 'all ethnic groups in China have the freedom and right to use and develop their own spoken and written languages.'
Quote of note
'There are generalized and systematic violations of human rights, torture, forced sterilization, sexual violence and forced separation of children,' said France's U.N. Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, on behalf of the 43 concerned countries of the United Nations.
What are we watching next week?
NBA player Enes Kanter is leading a rally in Washington on Saturday with Uyghur internment camp survivors, Tibetans and Hong Kongers calling for an end to Uyghur forced labor in China.