Statement of Solidarity

The Chinese government is in the process of committing genocide [1] against a group of millions of people known as the Uyghur [2-3]. This atrocity involves the mass forced sterilization of Uyghur women [4], involuntary abortions [4], large use of ethnically/religiously targeted concentration camps [5], forced labour, torture and rape [6], unexplained disappearances [7], murders [8], mass separation of children from parents (children are often placed in orphanages to erase their identity) [1, 9] and the systematic suppression of Uyghur culture [10,11].  

The Chinese government has limited access to international observers [12] and intimidated the families of witnesses and Uyghurs abroad [13]. In fact, some Uyghur majority areas have been completely cut off from communication with the outside world [12,14]. The Chinese government continues to deny these atrocities and has claimed that the concentration camps are vocational training centers [12] or boarding schools [15]. Despite these denials and suppression of information, powerful evidence of atrocities has emerged. Satellite images show that the concentration camps are the largest since the second world war [5,16] and analysis of statistical year books (similar to a census) authenticate claims of forced sterilization [4]. Additionally, government documents leaked to the New York Times [17] and documentary evidence gathered by independent journalists [18] collectively corroborate the testimony of over ten thousand Uyghur voices collected on the Xinjiang Victims Database and the Uyghur Transitional Justice Database[7]. 

We call on academics across all fields to examine the evidence and join us in condemning these crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Chinese government. Stand with us in solidarity with  the Uyghur people. First and foremost, because we value their intrinsic humanity. Secondly, because there are Uyghur scholars in the academic community; many of these scholars residing in China have been taken to concentration camps or have simply vanished. Those abroad suffer the terrible mental health burden of concern for their family and community back home. Furthermore, as a key cultural institution, academia has a responsibility to weigh in on issues of evidence, particularly when Chinese government propaganda is undermining the ability of the Uyghur people to have their voices heard globally. Much of this evidence is published in peer reviewed journals (see refs [1,4,11,19-23]) and we have a duty to defend the integrity of our institution and to support and publicize this work demonstrating crimes against humanity. 

We speak now to Uyghur scholars. We hear you, we see you, and want you to know that you are not alone in your suffering as a human in this field. We acknowledge the incredible personal burden on those abroad and the professional cost of your identity being attacked in this way. We also stand in solidarity with those who have been deregistered and removed from their scientific positions within China based on their ethnic status, as well as arrested, separated from their families, or sentenced to death [24].

We now address Chinese colleagues who are not part of the Uyghur community. Please understand our critique is of the governmental actions toward genocide, not the Chinese people themselves. We acknowledge the danger of speaking against the government and we provide an option for Chinese colleagues to anonymously sign for their own safety (we will privately verify your identity). We hope that many of you will help us demonstrate that the voices in solidarity are larger than they appear under the threat of government retaliation. 

Finally, we address other key cultural institutions including the media, governments, sporting bodies, NGOs, and businesses to join us in focusing on this issue. The Uyghur genocide is a rapidly escalating atrocity occuring in a world that has promised to never again allow an injustice of this scale to manifest. We as a scientific community cannot be silent, we cannot turn a blind eye, and we must act.

Please sign here if you would like to support.

References:

[1] Joanne Smith Finley, Why Scholars and Activists Increasingly Fear a Uyghur Genocide in Xinjiang, Journal of Genocide Research, 19 Nov 2020.  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14623528.2020.1848109

[2]Xinjiang Data Project. Source:  https://xjdp.aspi.org.au 

[2] Official website of Statistic Bureau of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Chinese: 3-8 主要年份分民族人口数. Source:  3-8 主要年份分民族人口数_人口与就业_新疆维吾尔自治区统计局 (xinjiang.gov.cn))

[3] Uyghur Academy website. Uyghur: ( 2013 ئۇيغۇر نۇپۇسى). Source:

 2013 ئۇيغۇر نۇپۇسى – ئۇيغۇر ئاكادېمىيىسى (akademiye.org)

[4] Adrian Zenz, Sterilizations, IUDs, and Mandatory Birth Control: The CCP’s Campaign to Suppress Uyghur Birthrates in Xinjiang, James Town Foundation, June 2020. Source: Zenz-Internment-Sterilizations-and-IUDs-UPDATED-July-21-Rev2.pdf (jamestown.org)

[5] Emma Graham and Juliette Garside, ‘Allow no excapes’: leak exposes reality of China’s vast prison camp network, The China cables uighurs, The Guardian, 24 Nov 2019. Source:  ‘Allow no escapes’: leak exposes reality of China’s vast prison camp network | World news | The Guardian

[6] Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, Uyghurs for sale: ‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang, Australian Strategic Policy Institute International Cyber Policy Center, 1 Mar 2020. Source:  Uyghurs for sale: ‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang (respect.international)

Gulbahar Haitiwaji and Rozenn Morgat, ‘Our souls are dead’: how I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs, The Guardian, 12 Jan 2021. Source: ‘Our souls are dead’: how I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs | Uighurs | The Guardian 

Matthew Hill, David Campanale and Joel Gunter, ‘Their goal is to destroy everyone’: Uighur camp detainees allege systematic rape, BBC News, 3 Feb 2021. Source:  ‘Their goal is to destroy everyone’: Uighur camp detainees allege systematic rape – BBC News

[7] Xinjiang Victims Database. Source:  Xinjiang Victims Database (shahit.biz),

Uyghur transitional Justice Database. Source:  UTJD – Uyghur Transitional Justice Database

[8] Christie wan, The Persecution of Uyghurs and Potential international Crimes in China, Stanford Law School International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, Aug 2020. Source: Xinjiang-Report-Version-5.0-Aug.-2020.pdf (justsecurity.org) (initially confidential but published on justsecurity) 

[9] Yanan Wang and Dake Kang, China treats Uighur Kids as ‘orphans’ after parents seized, AP News, 21 Sep 2018. Source:  China treats Uighur kids as ‘orphans’ after parents seized (apnews.com) 

Lily Kuo, Chinese detention ‘leaving thousands of uighur children without parents’, The Guardian, 16 Oct 2020. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/16/thousands-of-uighur-children-orphaned-by-chinese-detention-papers-show

[10] Lily Kuo, Revealed: new evidence of China’s mission to raze the mosques of Xinjiang, The Guardian, 6 May 2019. Source:  Revealed: new evidence of China’s mission to raze the mosques of Xinjiang | World news | The Guardian 

James Wood, ‘I have no idea where my father’s remains are’: Poet describes shock of finding out family member’s grave has been flattened after satellite images reveal more than 100 Uighur graveyards have been demolished by Chinese authorities, Daily Mail Online, 2 January 2020. Source: Satellite images reveal more than 100 Uighur graveyards have been demolished by Chinese authorities | Daily Mail Online

Tim Grose, Transforming Uyghur domestic space, The Xinjiang Data Project, July 2020. Source: 

Transforming Uyghur domestic space (aspi.org.au)

[11] Timothy A. Grose, If you don’t know how, just learn: Chinese housing and transformation of Uyghur domestic space, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 06 Jul 2020. Source: If you don’t know how, just learn: Chinese housing and the transformation of Uyghur domestic space, DOI:10.1080/01419870.2020.1789686

[12] Maya Wang, More Evidence of China’s Horrific Abuses in Xinjiang, Human Rights Watch, 20 Feb 2020. Source: More Evidence of China’s Horrific Abuses in Xinjiang

[13] Yael Grauer, Revealed: massive Chinese police database, The Intercept, 29 Jan 2021. Source: Revealed: massive Chinese police database

[14] Alexandra Ma, China claimed its re-education camps for Muslim minorities are ‘free vocational training’ that make life ‘colorful’, Business Insider, 16 Oct 2018. Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/china-calls-xinjiang-uighur-detention-camps-free-vocational-training-2018-10

[15] Chris Buckley and Amy Qin, Muslim Detention Camps Are Like ‘Boarding Schools,’ Chinese Official Says, New York Times, 12 March 2019. Source: Muslim Detention Camps Are Like ‘Boarding Schools,’ Chinese Official Says – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

[16] Peter Apps, China’s Uyghur detention camps may be the largest mass incarceration since the Holocaust, NewStatesman, 21 March 2019. Source: China’s Uyghur detention camps may be the largest mass incarceration since the Holocaust (newstatesman.com)

[17] Austin Ramzi and Chris Buckley, ‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Exposes How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims, The Xinjiang Papers, The New York Times, 16 Nov 2019. Source:  ‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

[18] Xinjiang Documentation Project, The University of British Columbia. Source: Home – Xinjiang Documentation Project (ubc.ca)

[19] Joanne Smith Finley, The Art of Symbolic Resistence: Uyghur Identities and Uyghur-Han Relations in Contemporary Xinjiang, 2013. Source: The Art of Symbolic Resistance: Uyghur Identities and Uyghur-Han Relations in Contemporary Xinjiang

[20] Marika Vicziany, State responses to Islamic terrosism in western China and their impact on South Asia, Contemporary South Asia, Volume 12 (2003 – Issue 2), 03 Jun 2010. Source: ”State Responses to Islamic Terrorism in Western China and their Impact on South Asia,”

[21 ] Pablo A. Rodríguez-Merino, Old ‘counter-revolution’, new ‘terrorism’: historicizing the framing of violence in Xinjiang by Chinese state, Central Asian Survey, Volume 38 (2019 – Issue 1), 20 July 2018. Source:  “Old ‘Counter-Revolution’, New ‘Terrorism’: Historicizing the Framing of Violence in Xin-jiang by the Chinese State,” 

[22] James A. Millward, Introduction: Does the 2009 Urumchi violence mark a turning point?, Central Asian Survey, Volume 28 (2009 – Issue 4), 30 Mar 2010. Source: “Does the 2009 Urumchi Violence Mark a Turning Point?

[23] Joanne Smith Finley, “No Rights without Duties’: Minzu pingdeng [Nationality Equality] in Xinjiang Since the 1997 Ghulja disturbances, Inner Asia, Volume 13 (No. 1 – Special Issue: Xinjiang And Southwest China, pages 73 – 96), 2011. Source: “‘No Rights Without Duties’ Minzu  Pingdeng [Nationality Equality] in Xinjiangsince the 1997 Ghulja Disturbances,”

[24] Prominent Uyghur Intellectual Given Two-Year Suspended Death Sentence For ‘Separatism’, Radio Free Asia, 28 Sep 2018. Source: https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/sentence-09282018145150.html

Andreas Illmer, Tashpolat Tiyip: The Uighur leading geographer who vanished in China, 11 Oct 2019. Source: Tashpolat Tiyip: The Uighur leading geographer who vanished in China

Chris Buckley and Austin Ramzy, Star Scholar Disappears as Crackdown Engulfs western China, The New York Times, 10 Aug 2018. Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/world/asia/china-xinjiang-rahile-dawut.html

Yojana Sharma, Alarm over choice of new leader for Xinjiang University 15 Oct 2020, Source:

Alarm over choice of new leader for Xinjiang University

This statement statement was written by Dr. Regina Caputo, Dr. Savannah Thais and Dr. Graham White as well as a number of Uyghur scholars who wish to keep their identities anonymous out of safety concerns.