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Uyghur activist's warning for Taiwan

Mobilize international community against China or be next

By Jono Thomson - Taiwan News, Staff Writer

February 22, 2023

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two prominent Washington-based Uyghur activists held a press conference at Taiwan’s parliament on Tuesday (Feb. 21) in which they warned Taiwan not to compromise with China.

Leader of the American NGO “Campaign for Uyghurs” Rushan Abbas and the executive director of the Center for Uyghur studies Abdulhakim Idris addressed a group that included the Deputy Secretary of the Taiwan Parliamentary Human Rights Commission Wu'er Kaixi (吾爾開希) (also of Uyghur descent), legislators, Turkish students, and other activists, reported CM Media.

During a Q&A session following the pair's address, Abbas agreed with the audience members' suggestions that Taiwan was a valuable place for Uyghurs to communicate in Mandarin and get help with communications with various organizations. However, Abbas said that there was still limited knowledge of Uyghurs outside of Taipei, something she noticed when attending the 2017 Urban Nomad Film Festival in Tainan and Kaohsiung.

Speaking to RTI, Abbas said she wants to warn people that if Taiwan does not mobilize the international community to do something to counter China, Taiwan will end up the same as Xinjiang. “(If it is) the Uyghur people today, (it) will be tomorrow for the Taiwanese, and the Japanese and all these Southeast Asian countries, because they are all in danger,” she said.

Abbas said she believes that the experience of Hong Kong in recent years is the same as that of the Uyghur people. “Certainly, what happened in Hong Kong is almost an immediate copy of what the police did to Uyghur women, Uyghur protestors, and Uyghur people,” she said.

“They even brought the policeman from (Xinjiang),” said Abbas, presumably referring to the Beijing decision to appoint former head of internal security in Xinjiang to lead the People’s Liberation Army’s garrison in Hong Kong.

Idris told the audience gathered at parliament that there were several ways Taiwan could help the Uyghur people protect their cultural heritage. He suggested that Taiwan provide vias or scholarships to Uyghurs to allow them to conduct research related to Uighur ethnicity, history, and culture.

Speaking at the event, Kaixi responded to suggestions that the people of Xinjiang should compromise with the Chinese government, asking the crowd; if Xinjiang were to compromise, would the Chinese government compromise also?

"Looking at the history of the Chinese Communist Party, they will never give in at all," Kaixi said. "As long as you still have an inch left to yield, they will continue to suppress you."


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