Communist China’s genocide of the Uyghur people is a “threat” to American sovereignty through “transnational repression” of Uyghurs and the sale of slave-made products to Americans, Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Nury Turkel told SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily on Wednesday.
Turkel, the first U.S.-educated Uyghur attorney and co-founder of the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), appeared on the program with host Alex Marlow to discuss his recently released book, No Escape: The True Story of China’s Genocide of the Uyghurs. In it, Turkel describes his early life in East Turkistan, the Uyghur homeland now occupied by China and renamed the “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” as well as retelling the harrowing stories of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities who escaped East Turkistan after enduring a litany of human rights atrocities including torture in concentration camps.
Turkel told Breitbart News Daily host Alex Marlow that Americans can help Uyghurs enduring a genocidal campaign at China’s hand by pressuring government officials to “fully implement the existing laws” that ban American companies from importing products manufactured through Uyghur slavery and by understanding the threat China poses to their country, beyond that which it poses to its own citizens.
“The American people need to recognize that this is about our future – lending your voice, speaking out on behalf of the Uyghurs against this criminal regime in Beijing [is] not only moral obligation, this is about our future,” Turkel said. “We have a history of speaking out when we see religious persecution, when religious liberty is under attack. And now, not only that, our sovereignty is under threat.”
“The transnational repression is here. The Chinese keep sending tainted consumer products made by our fellow human beings who are enslaved to our marketplace … products like cotton products, solar panels, electronics, PPEs, beauty products.”
Human rights researchers and state governments throughout the world have declared China’s attempts to eradicate the Uyghur ethnic group a genocide. Slavery is a critical component of that genocide, Turkel explained.
“East Turkistan is rich in natural resources: rare-earths, vegetables, fruits, cotton, and also natural gas, oil,” Turkel detailed. “Under the normal circumstances, the Uyghur homeland would have been a very rich, prosperous country.”
“There is ongoing slavery in the region, in the Uyghur homeland, because of the reasons that I mentioned – solar panels, tomatoes, food,” he continued. “More than 80 global brands have been implicated in the ongoing modern-day slavery using Uyghur forced labor.”
Turkel referred to a report published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) titled “Uyghurs for Sale” that found at least 82 companies – many of them household names like Nike, Apple, Nintendo, BMW, and Google – had business ties to factories and suppliers using Uyghur slaves.
Turkel also detailed the use of Han Chinese “relatives” to brutalize Uyghur families. Under a program known as “Becoming Family,” the Communist Party would tear the male head of household from families, usually sending him to a concentration camp, and force the wife and children in the household to receive a Han Chinese “relative” to live with them.
“They sent at least 1 million Chinese cadres – as profiled by Professor Darren Byler in early 2019 … the story is that they take the men out of the homes first, and then bring in Han Chinese cadres [who], uninvited, sleep and eat with the woman who has no male household leader in the house to protect them,” Turkel narrated.
“In some instances, as I described in the book, they demanded sexual favors. And I’ve seen the pictures – they’re laying down in the bed of somebody else’s home uninvited, eating at their dining table uninvited,” he continued, adding that, in addition to sexually assaulting the women, the “relatives” often weaponized the children in the house against the adults.
“After they leave, they will come back in a week or two and what they do is interview children, kids. The kids are honest, they just say whatever they saw and whatever they feel,” Turkel noted, citing one example of “a kid’s honest answer [having] landed their mom into one of those camps because she was privately praying to God, continued to practice.”
The “Becoming Family” program, Turkel said, was adopted after the failure of programs to tear Uyghur children from their families and send them “to inland high schools, middle schools, to dilute or change their preference – everything from first language to future marital preference, employment.”
“That didn’t seem to really work for the state. I profiled one of the camp survivors, Mihrigul Tursun, who was sent to inland China years ago to study and become Chinese. Blue-eyed, European-looking woman, did not really fit — it didn’t work,” he noted.
Tursun was eventually imprisoned in a concentration camp and torn away from her infant triplets. Chinese authorities killed one of the children – Tursun has said she believes the baby was overfed or killed by a feeding machine, but she does not know for sure, as she was being tortured with electricity in a concentration camp when it happened. Tursun escaped to the United States and is currently an outspoken advocate for her people; Turkel details her story in No Escape.Matthew Perdie, Jack Knudsen
Turkel told Marlow that Uyghur identity is a threat to the Chinese government because its values are at odds with the Communist Party’s.
“The Uyghur religion [Islam] is considered by the ruling Communist Party as a foreign religion along with Christianity and Judaism, so they essentially have a problem with Abrahamic religion,” Turkel explained, “because they are the three religions that the Chinese thought leaders and policy advisors [believe] bring in or introduce free speech and the things that the Communist Party, communist ideology reject.”
“Things as simple as loving, caring, forgiving. The communist ideology is all about revenge – all about forcing people to give up certain beliefs religious or otherwise, to adopt the communist ideology,” he concluded.
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