The prime minister of the East Turkestan government in exile, Salih Hudayar, told Breitbart News on Monday the Uyghur people and other Muslim groups in the region support the Cuban people’s fight for freedom and the U.S. should act to protect both from the “existential threat” of communism.
Hudayar led a protest in front of the White House last week in recognition of Captive Nations Week, an annual observance in the United States to support repressed peoples. The protest urged President Joe Biden not only to act against China for its human rights atrocities in East Turkestan but to recognize the region as a sovereign nation currently colonized by China, as it has no significant ethnic, cultural, linguistic, or historical ties to the Han-majority Chinese nation. By doing so, Biden would recognize the ongoing genocide of people in the region as an international affair, not the “internal matters” of the Chinese state, the protesters argued.
Multiple governments in the free world – including both Biden’s administration and that of his predecessor Donald Trump – have identified China’s actions against the people of East Turkestan as a genocide.
The protest occurred simultaneously with a week-long ongoing presence of Cuban diaspora protesters at the White House. Protests against communism erupted on the island on July 11, prompting thousands to take the streets and triggering violent repressive action by the state. Cubans and allies in front of the White House have demanded that Biden act against the 62-year-old Castro regime through sanctions and material support for the protesters.
During the event last week, Hudayar acknowledged the presence of the Cuban protesters and expressed support on behalf of the Uyghurs and other peoples of East Turkestan for the anti-communist cause in the Caribbean. The protesters, in turn, cheered for the Uyghurs present and chanted “abajo el comunismo!” (“down with communism!”) in their honor.
“As a nation suffering genocide and other atrocities under Chinese Communist occupation, the people of East Turkistan, especially the Uyghurs, stand in solidarity with the Cuban people as they strive for freedom from the Communist dictatorship in Cuba,” Hudayar told Breitbart News in remarks on Monday. “China is the biggest supporter and is a lifeline of Cuba’s communist dictatorship.”
“Far too many lives have suffered under communism over the past century, and they continue to suffer under communism in East Turkistan, Cuba, and other places,” he added. “Thus, the U.S. Government must lead the world in addressing the existential threat that communism poses to democracy, freedom, and the very lives of human beings across the globe.”
“We echo the calls made by Cubans struggling to regain their freedom, and we urge the U.S. Government to take action against the brutal communist regimes in Cuba and China-Occupied East Turkistan,” he concluded.
The Communist Party of China refers to East Turkestan as Xinjiang, a Mandarin word meaning “new frontier,” and claims it operates as an “autonomous” region of greater China. For decades, reports coming out of East Turkestan have indicated that communist officials have engaged in gross human rights violations against the population there, which is majority Uyghur, but the evidence has mounted rapidly in the past four years following the construction of concentration camps believed to house as many as 3 million people at their peak.
Survivors of the camps say China uses them to imprison Uyghurs and other Muslim peoples, including Kazakhs and Kyrgyz people, and force them to abandon their faith. Women who have survived the camps have reported forced abortions, infanticide, and sterilization, as well as human rights atrocities like gang rape and electroshock torture.
Outside of the camps, human rights experts have compiled evidence of the extensive use of Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslim groups as slaves in Chinese factories and agricultural fields. Chinese businesses can openly buy Uyghur slaves on the internet and find them using government mobile apps.
The Communist Party of Cuba has vocally supported the genocide of the Uyghur people using its leverage at the United Nations. Cuba has signed several joint statements, alongside other dictatorships, supporting China’s campaign to exterminate Turkic Muslim peoples, claiming it a necessary national security measure.
In October, Cuban diplomats issued a statement before the U.N. General Assembly “in support of China’s counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang,” referring to the concentration camps, according to the Chinese state news outlet Xinhua. The statement, Xinhua specified, “noted with appreciation that China has undertaken a series of measures in response to threats of terrorism and extremism in accordance with the law to safeguard the human rights of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.”
The Chinese regime reiterated its support for the Cuban Communist Party on Friday.
“China firmly supports the efforts of the Cuban government and people to maintain social stability,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, referring to violent assaults and shootings of unarmed protesters by Cuban state security agents. “We resolutely reject any external interference in other countries’ internal affairs, imposition of unilateral sanctions, and attempt to gang up on other countries under the pretext of ‘freedom,’ ‘democracy,’ and ‘human rights.'”
In contrast, Cuban anti-communist dissidents have expressed solidarity with the Uyghur cause. The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, a coalition of pro-democracy groups on the island and in the United States, joined the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region last year, calling for China to cease its enslavement of people in East Turkestan.
“We are people from societies oppressed by a ruthless totalitarian regime and trying to regain our dignity, our rights, and freedoms. Communist China oppresses inside and outside its borders,” Orlando Gutiérrez-Boronat, the national secretary of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, told Breitbart News at the time. “Just as the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] dictatorship is allied with the Castro Regime, those who struggle for freedom and democracy must struggle together against the international structure of Communism.”
“The Hispanic community should take the lead in denouncing CCP atrocities and repression, given the history of development of human rights doctrine and struggle for freedom that is an inherent part of Hispanic civilization,” he concluded.