October 25, 2023
Dear Secretary Blinken:
We are writing to you as a coalition of Uyghur organizations. In light of your upcoming meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, we are concerned that in the quest for continued open dialogue with the People’s Republic of China, accountability for the ongoing Uyghur genocide is being minimized.
Human rights, and particularly the plight of Uyghur political prisoners unjustly detained, among other genocidal crimes under the CCP regime, must be front and center in any conversation with a Chinese official.
At present, the Chinese government is continuing and hardening efforts to whitewash its genocidal atrocity crimes, including by increasing domestic tourism to the Uyghur homeland, furthering its narrative that ‘all is well’ in the region.
Acts of transnational repression are only escalating both here in the United States and in diaspora communities across the globe. The intimidation and targeting of Uyghur family members in China aims to silence Uyghur activists and others who speak against the CCP’s flagrant abuses. In our observation and documentation of such incidents, the Chinese government appears to be emboldened, and is expanding its tactics of coercion and intimidation.
Additionally, the ongoing detention and sentencing of Uyghur societal leaders, artists, scholars, publishers, and other innocent people held as political prisoners must not be a siloed concern in high-level dialogue with the PRC. Many of the extrajudicial, unjustified detentions concerning family members of U.S. citizens have been raised with the Chinese with little to no progress. These cases are representative of the failure to demand even baseline concessions from the Chinese. Our government cannot expect to obtain meaningful cooperation with China while human rights are flouted at every turn. Demanding basic human dignity, and the cessation of the intimidation and harassment of U.S. citizens and those residing on U.S. soil, must be a prerequisite to any type of cooperation with any foreign regime—the PRC, a case in point.
As has been articulated in previous communications: if China cannot commit to basic human dignity and continues to carry out genocide with impunity, it will never be a reliable partner. It certainly cannot be relied upon to negotiate or mediate other conflicts or matters of global significance, having repeatedly made its own position clear.
We expect you to demand that the concentration camps, forced labor programs, and coercive boarding schools be shut down, and that all political prisoners be released immediately and allowed to reunite with their families.
We thank you in advance for your stalwart commitment to lead globally on universal values and uphold fundamental human dignity.
The Uyghur Human Rights Project
Belgium Uyghur Association
Campaign For Uyghurs
Norway Uyghur Committee
Sweden Uyghur Association
Uyghur American Association
World Uyghur Congress
World Uyghur Congress Foundation in Turkey