Uerkesh Davlet – Honorary Chairman

Mr. Uerkesh Davlet, also known as Wu’er Kaixi, an Uyghur national, was born in Beijing, China in 1968.

In April 1989, as a student at the Beijing Normal University, Mr. Davlet was instrumental in initiating a Beijing student movement for democracy and freedom that galvanized the world. As one of the most influential student leaders, he maintained a leading role throughout what became known as the Tiananmen Student Movement, and which ended when it was brutally suppressed by the Chinese government on June 4th.  His impassioned meeting with Chinese Premier Li Peng before the crackdown was televised throughout China and the world, making Mr. Davlet a household name in China and a representative student leader internationally.

After the June 4th massacre, Mr. Davlet was listed as No. 2 on China’s list of 21 most wanted student leaders. With the help of sympathizers in China and Hong Kong, he escaped from China via Hong Kong to France, where he was given asylum. In Paris, Mr. Davlet and his colleagues in exile founded the Federation for a Democratic China (FDC), of which he was elected vice president.  After escaping from China, he lived in France, the United States, and Taiwan where he remains his residence today, and continues his endeavor for the same cause.

In the year 2009, 20 years after the massacre, he is still the second most wanted person in China for his role at Tiananmen. On June 3rd, Mr. Davlet arrived in Macao on transit to mainland China intending to surrender and confront Chinese authority in court. In his declaration, he stated that “A dialogue is what the student in Tiananmen Square has called for and still waiting to happen, and I call it again, and willing to enter it with Chinese authority even if it has to be in the court of the regime.” The Macao authorities refused his entry and had him deported to Taiwan.

On June 4th, 2010, Mr. Davlet made another attempt to go back to China through Japan, and when that failed, he tried to force himself into the Chinese embassy in Tokyo, one more time, to turn himself into the regime, he was arrested by the Japanese authority and released two days after without charges.

Two more attempts of surrender were made in the following years in Washington D.C. and Hong Kong with the same result, being rejected by the Chinese authority.

In November 2020, Mr. Davlet was appointed as the Executive Deputy General Secretary for the Taiwan Parliamentary Human Rights Commission.

Mr. Davlet is an active member of the international and Taiwan civil society.  He now serves as chairman of the Taiwan Association for Democracy in China. He also sits on the Emeritus Board at Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and serves as vice president for RSF’s advisory board, Honorary Chairman to the US-based Human Rights advocacy organizations, Campaign for Uyghurs, and Honorary President to the German-based Uyghur cause organization, Ilham Tohti Institute.

Mr. Davlet is also a celebrated political commentator.  He has written numerous political essays in both English and Chinese languages and published in many international media outfits, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wallstreet Journal, The Guardian, CNN, Far Eastern Economic Review, and many mainstream Chinese language newspapers and magazines.  His essay “China Mocks the Spirits of Olympics” has won the Human Rights Press Awards Special Merit Award.

Mr. Davlet Hosted radio and TV talk shows in Taiwan. His column and regular appearance in the political analytical program have made him an opinion leader in the country.

Mr. Davlet published his book: Submit for Freedom, in Chinese, in 2013.

Rushan Abbas – Founder And Executive Director

Rushan Abbas started her activism work while she was a student, organizing and leading the pro-democracy demonstrations at Xinjiang University in 1985 and 1988. Since her arrival in the United States in 1989, Ms. Abbas has been an ardent campaigner for the human rights of the Uyghur people. 

She has worked closely with members of Congress since the 1990s. Ms. Abbas was a co-founder of the California-based Uyghur Overseas Student and Scholars Association in 1993, the first such Uyghur association in the United States, and served as that organization’s first Vice-President. The charter co-drafted by Ms. Abbas later served as the blueprint and played an important role in the establishment of the Uyghur American Association (UAA) in 1998. Ms. Abbas was subsequently elected Vice President of UAA for two terms. When Radio Free Asia launched its Uyghur service in 1998, Ms. Abbas was the first Uyghur reporter to broadcast daily to the Uyghur region.

From 2002 till 2013, Ms. Abbas translated for the 22 Uyghurs who were being held in Guantanamo and worked closely with the US Department of Defense, Department of Justice, State Department, and US administration in their efforts on resettlement of 22 Uyghurs from Guantanamo Bay to Albania, Sweden, Bermuda, Palau, Switzerland, El-Salvador, and Slovenia.

After working for more than 20 years in global business development, international relations, and government affairs throughout the Middle East, Africa, CIS regions, Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, and Latin America, now Rushan Abbas is a full-time activist working to advocate for Uyghur people while they are facing genocide by the Chinese regime.

In 2017, Rushan Abbas founded the Campaign for Uyghurs to advocate and promote human rights and democratic freedoms for Uyghurs, and mobilize the international community to act to stop the human rights atrocity in East Turkistan. Under her organization, Ms. Abbas introduced and led the “One Voice One Step” movement and successfully organized a demonstration on March 15th, 2018, in 14 countries and 18 cities on the same day to protest China’s detention of millions of Uyghurs in concentration camps.

Ms. Abbas works with groups in the United States, Canada, The UK, and other parts of Europe, Australia, Japan, and Turkey to highlight the Uyghur cause and in support of empowering Uyghur women and youth for activism.

In July 2020, Ms. Abbas’ organization published the report “Genocide in East Turkistan” which laid out the ways that the actions of the Chinese regime met every condition of genocide laid out in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Ms. Abbas first raised the case of Uyghurs as undergoing active genocide in May of 2019 while delivering speeches at the events hosted by the U.S. Embassies in Prague and Vienna and remained a vocal advocate for declaring the CCP’s crimes as such since then.

In February 2022, Campaign For Uyghurs was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for activism and advocacy done to promote the Uyghur cause for freedom. Campaign For Uyghurs was nominated by US House of Representatives members Tom Suozzi and Chris Smith, who co-chair the Uyghur Caucus.

Ms. Abbas frequently briefs US lawmakers and officials on the human rights situation in East Turkistan and testifies at the United States Senate and Congress on the Chinese regime’s crimes against humanity. She regularly appears on media outlets to advocate for the Uyghur cause and gives public speeches, having spoken for audiences at Holocaust museums, universities, U.S. embassies, grassroots groups, and more.

Ms. Abbas also serves as the Advisory Board Chair of the Axel Springer Freedom Foundation and a member of the Inter-parliamentary Task Force on Human Trafficking

In 2024, Ms. Abbas was honored with the Huntington Her Hero Lifetime Achievement Award for her tireless work for the Uyghur people. 

Ms. Abbas has three children and currently resides in Falls Church, Virginia with her husband, Executive Director of the Center For Uyghur Studies, Abdulhakim Idris.

Some of Rushan Abbas’ writings, speeches, and interviews:

Washington Post Opinion: China seized my sister. Biden must fight for her and all enslaved Uighurs.

USA Today: I’ve fought China’s slow-motion genocide of Uighur Muslims. Now, my family are victims.

Washington Post Opinion: My aunt and sister in China have vanished. Are they being punished for my activism?

CNN: Uyghur-American activist seeks answers about China’s Muslim camps

RT America: ‘Horrendous Atrocity’-Uighurs claim Ethnic Cleansing in China

New York Times: Uighur Americans Speak Against China’s Internment Camps. Their Relatives Disappear