CFU PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2023 3:00 PM ET
Sabrina Sohail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) extends its sincere appreciation to the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) for its pivotal role in spotlighting the pervasive issue of transnational repression orchestrated by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). On September 12th, 2023, the CECC convened a congressional hearing titled “Countering China’s Global Transnational Repression Campaign” exposing the PRC’s extensive campaign targeting diaspora communities and critics worldwide, with a particular focus on Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Tibetans, and other oppressed groups.
Distinguished panelists at the hearing shared invaluable insights. Michael Chong, Member of Canadian Parliament, Wellington-Halton Hills, shared his personal experience following the introduction of the motion that would recognize the PRC’s atrocities against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims as genocide. Chong revealed a disturbing incident involving a PRC diplomat gathering information, with intentions to target him and his family in Hong Kong. He also disclosed his experience with being targeted through disinformation campaigns on WeChat and discussed the intimidation and persecution of Uyghur and Tibetan students by students from China on Canadian campuses.
Yana Gorokhovskaia, Research Director for Strategy and Design at Freedom House, shed light on the PRC’s strategy of co-opting former members of domestic law enforcement agencies to surveil, harass, and coerce individuals residing in the US and Canada, demonstrating the PRC’s ability to deputize foreign officials to carry out its oppressive agenda.
Laura Harth, Campaign Director at Safeguard Defenders, drew attention to the gravity of the PRC’s transnational repression campaign, labeling it as the most “sophisticated, comprehensive, and far-reaching” to date. She highlighted the concerning issue of involuntary returns, wherein the PRC compels individuals to return to China to face prosecution, citing alarming statistics of 10,000 returns between 2014 and 2022.
Executive Director Rushan Abbas, shared her personal story including the unjust detention of her sister, Gulshan Abbas, in retaliation for her own exercise of free speech while describing the CCP’s genocidal crimes, threats to the freedom and democracy in the world. She underscored the broader challenges faced by Uyghurs in the US who live in fear of speaking out due to concerns about their families back in East Turkistan. Urging swift action, Abbas emphasized the necessity of collective efforts to safeguard democracy and human rights.
Rushan Abbas remarked, “During the CECC hearing, we further uncovered the CCP’s relentless campaign of transnational repression, through multiple domains, targeting a widespread group of people. I am honored to have had the opportunity to share our plight with the committee. Now, more than ever, we must unite in our efforts to hold the CCP accountable and protect the values of democracy and freedom.” As Rushan always says: “What we are advocating and defending is a human rights crisis and a direct assault on the cherished values of the global community. We must not stay quiet in the presence of such profound suffering. On the 5th anniversary of my sister’s detention, let us remember individuals like Dr. Gulshan Abbas and millions more, who have fallen victim to a distinct form of terror—arbitrary detention, persecution, a blatant disregard for justice and genocide.”
CFU has put forth recommendations for further congressional and administrative actions to address this pressing issue. CFU calls upon the U.S. government and the international community to enhance protection for at-risk Uyghur activists, elevate awareness on the matter, and impose sanctions on those responsible for transnational repression. Establishing safe havens and support networks for activists and their families is paramount to ensure their safety and well-being.