Stand Up for human rights in Xinjiang and take actions to protect Canadians
Dear Prime Minister:
On behalf of Toronto Association for Democracy in China, we write to raise our deep concerns about the massive human rights abuse in Xinjiang (East Turkistan), China.
We are heartened when Canada became the first state to acknowledge China’s use of ‘re-education’ camps to hold hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs. However, we are deeply disappointed that our government has not taken concrete actions to stand up for the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and to protect Uyghur Canadians from the harassment in Canada by the Chinese government.
Canadians, especially those with family ties to China, are not immune to the long arm of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Uyghur Canadians suffer horrible psychological stress[i], living in constant fear for their loved ones[ii]. Chinese language media and journalists in our country have been pressured to suppress critical reporting and to promote the interests of the Chinese government[iii].
Recently, the House of Commons unanimously agreed to declare the violent campaign against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar a genocide and to call on the International Criminal Court to prosecute senior Myanmar military officials for their role in the atrocities against an ethnic minority group.
Prime Minister, we urge you to apply the same standard in denouncing this cultural genocide that is in the making in the Uyghur region. We urge your government to:
- Issue a strong condemnation on China’s gross human rights violations, including but not limited to: unlawful detentions[iv], torture[v], forceful separation of families[vi], coercive intermarriages[vii], involuntary bio-medical information collection[viii], and religious suppression[ix] that amount to cultural and ethnic cleansing of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang;
- Back UN human rights investigators’ efforts to gain access to Xinjiang;
- As per the emergency debate held on the Rohingya crisis (September 26,2017), we urge Members of Parliament to convene an emergency debate on the gross human rights abuses and mass internment of more than one million Uyghurs in the region;
- Use Canada’s Magnitsky Law to sanction Chinese officials who are responsible for violating the rights of the Uyghurs and join other countries to stop deportations of all Uyghurs to China;
- Raise Canadians’ objection to the human rights violation of the Uyghur people whenever you or our ministers meet with Chinese officials and make respect of human rights a non-negotiable part to all trade talks with China;
- Consult with the Uyghur Canadian community on the range of support they need.
In the recent weeks, J Michael Cole’s report “The Hard Edge of Sharp Power: Understanding China’s Influence Operations Abroad”[x], released by the McDonald Laurier Institute, highlighted the deep penetration of China’s resources and influences in our Canadian institutions including media, school boards, universities and community organizations, in the name of research partnership and “exchanges’”
Professor Charles Burton of Brock University, in a recent column “Canada must smarten up on its China policy”[xi], also raised similar concerns and urged our government to expand expertise and energy on a smarter set of policies and practice in dealing with China.
As Canadians who support the rule of law and democracy here and in China, we believe it is imperative that our government take these cautions seriously and heed to the above recommendations in the interest of safeguarding our own democratic system and human rights.
We look forward to seeing your government’s immediate and unequivocal denouncement of China’s cultural genocide of Uyghurs in the region.
Winnie Ng, Chair
Toronto Association for Democracy in China
Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hon. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Hon. Andrew Sheer, Leader of the Official Opposition
Mr. Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party
Hon. Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party
Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada (English branch)
Kayum Masimov, Interim President, Uyghur Canadian Society
[i] China’s Use of Psychological Warfare Against Uyghurs
[ii] Uyghur-Canadians want Canada to do more for their jailed relatives
[iii] Chinese in Canada feel chill of Beijing’s reach
[iv] China’s hidden camps
[v] “Eradicating Ideological Viruses”: China’s Campaign of Repression Against Xinjiang’s Muslims
[vi] China is putting Uighur children in ‘orphanages’ even if their parents are alive
[vii] Xinjiang Authorities Push Uyghurs to Marry Han Chinese
[viii] China: Minority Region Collects DNA from Millions
[ix] 48 Ways to Get Sent to a Chinese Concentration Camp
[x] The Hard Edge of Sharp Power: Understanding China‘s Influence Operations Abroad
[xi] Canada must smarten up on its China policy