Rebiya Kadeer: China Must Stop Pressuring Egypt Over Uyghur Students

The World Uyghur Congress has persistently called on China to stop these violent and extreme policies against the Uyghur people.

08 Temmuz 2017, 20:15

Earlier this year, the Chinese government ordered Uyghurs students studying abroad to return to Eastern Turkistan. Chinese authorities have also targeted family members of Uyghur students studying abroad. That order apparently reached more than 1000 Uyghur students studying in Egypt. Recent news coverage documents the Egyptian governments compliance with China’s order as the state rounds up Uyghur students to deport them.

The World Uyghur Congress has persistently called on China to stop these violent and extreme policies against the Uyghur people. However, China has been using its diplomatic relationship with Egypt to further its policies abroad. Though the order pertains to Uyghur students staying in Egypt without legal documentation, it is being applied to all students who have identified as Uyghur. Consequently, more than 1000  Uyghur students were affected by this order. Some of these students are attempting to escape Egypt and seek refuge elsewhere. Those students who have been deported face arrest, torture, imprisonment, and perhaps even death sentences from the Chinese authorities.

Around 200 students are suffering in fear and depression as they seek opportunities to escape detention and deportation, but the authorities continue to hunt down Uyghur students. Recent reports indicate that more than 30 students were detained while dining at Ozgur and Eslem Uyghur resturants in CairoWe believe that more than 80 Uyghur students currently detained already.  Egyptian authorities also raided and searched the rooms of Uyghur students at Al-Azhar University. This violent hunt and the continued arrest of Uyghur student have terrified the Uyghur Community. The Uyghur diaspora worries that these students will be returned to China where they will face inhumane treatment.

The stories of students who were previously returned and detained by Chinese authorities indicate that these students will most likely face lengthy prison sentences in China. Habibullah Tohti who was graduated with a PhD from Al-Azhar University arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison by China. Another student, Hanipa, was sentenced to seven years of prison. China is also detaining family members of Uyghur students studying abroad to force students to come back. The fates of the deported students are bleak at best and the whereabouts of many remain unknown. Egypt is still in the process of rounding up and deporting Uyghur students. Therefore, I am calling upon everyone to join me in calling for:

1.     China to stop pressuring students to return and implementing its policies abroad through its diplomatic relations. Education is a basic human right. Please stand up for the human rights of Uyghur students.

2.     Egypt to stop detaining and deporting Uyghur students. These students went to Egypt to seek an education and provide for themselves. Tell Egypt that these students will face inhumane treatment by the hands of Chinese authorities if Egypt deports them. They will be deprived of their liberty – including their freedom of religion – and perhaps even their lives.

3.     Countries bordering Egypt to accept Uyghur students as refugees and not return them to China.

4.     Human rights organizations to investigate these human rights violations and advocate for the rights and safety of Uyghur students.


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