A Citizen's Call to Action Podcast

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NoToBeijing2022.org Interview with Rushan Abbas, founder of Campaign for Uyghurs August 15, 2021 00:14:01


JC: Welcome to the No To Beijing 2022 podcast. Today I'm proud to have the opportunity to speak with Rushan Abbas, founder of the Campaign for Uyghurs. In addition to being an avid defender of human rights, she is also a friend. Thank you for joining us today Rushan, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

RA: Thank you Jack for giving me this opportunity. I am an Uyghur. I was born and raised in Urumqi the capital city of the East Turkestan what we call and in the Chinese they give us the colonial name Xinjiang, which is new territory in Chinese. And I started my activism while I was a young student at the university organizing under leading in the pro democracy demonstrations at the Xinjiang University in 1985 and 1988 and then I came to United States in 1989 to pursue Graduate School and I have been working very closely with the members of Congress ever since I arrived in United States and I was the co-founder of the California based Uyghur organization in 1993 which is the first such as Uyghur association in the United States and served as the first vice president then I was elected twice for the Uygur American Association and one term was actually with you, we served together on the board and then when Radio Free Asia launched its Uyghur service in 1998 I was the first Uyghur reporter broadcasting daily to the Uyghur region so you can say that I had been always advocating for freedom and democratic rights of my people.

JC: Excellent. So what are the conditions for Uyghurs in Eastern Turkestan, their native country?

RA: Well, basically everything you can think of the horrors from the history or if you are familiar with George Orwell's 1984 the complete surveillance police state so the conditions for the workers in East Turkestan is horrendous. millions of Uyghurs have been sent to concentration camps where they face brutal conditions according to former witnesses and the leaked documents. They suffer from physical and mental torture, mass rape, sexual violence, brainwashing through re-education so call it basically indoctrination of people and they are forced into or crowded unsanitary buildings and they are facing malnutrition from poor diet they are forced to eat and millions of more of the Uyghurs are sent to work in forced labor facilities, basically the Chinese Communist regime is bringing back the modern day slavery. Uyghurs are sent to pick cotton in the fields, mine (?) in the desert and being treated as slaves at the manufacturing facilities in China proper or in East Turkestan. Outside of the camps as I mentioned earlier life is no better Uyghurs are subject to constant surveillance and their oppression and surveillance cameras, ubiquitous cameras in every corner security, checkpoints in every few blocks and the GPS tracking devices on every vehicle and even QR scanning codes on the Uyghur's homes. Ordinary activities like just praying at the mosque, visiting friends or traveling to any of the Muslim majority countries or even just traveling to another city in East Turkestan and all are deemed suspicious behaviors and they can land you in a concentration camp. The Chinese Communist party also implemented a program called "pair-up" and become a family, where can Chinese cadres are sent to live inside of the Uyghur homes monitoring and supervising their daily lives. Even Chinese state media reported that 1.1 million Han Chinese people were sent to Uyghur homes and with that the Uyghur women are subject to sexual abuse and also Uyghur women are subject to forced sterilization, abortions and the sexual violence and Uyghur women are also forced to marry Han Chinese while the Chinese government is offering money, housing, and the jobs for the Han Chinese men to marry Uyghur women and if the Uyghur women refused to marry Han Chinese because maybe she's not ready to get married or maybe you know she has a boyfriend then she will be viewed as radicalized Muslim who didn't want to marry non Muslim Han Chinese.

I spoke about the conditions of the camps outlining the fate of my in-laws in 2018 at the Hudson Institute and the speaking about the genocidal policy of CCP in East Turkestan. Six days after I spoke my aunt and my sister were abducted as an act of retaliation from the Chinese Communist Party for speaking out. Also I am an American citizen and I was just exercising my First Amendment rights here. My sister Doctor Gulshan Abbas was retired, she retired from practicing medicine. She's a retired medical Doctor who did no harm to anyone and the she's she was just law-abiding, a quiet citizen and then she thought she was safe back home after she came in to visit a few times, she returned but she became a target because of my activism. Therefore all my work here in United States right now as an American citizen I am speaking out at the cost of my sister's freedom.

JC: That's terrible, do you believe the Chinese government deserves to host the 2022 Olympics?

RA: Absolutely not. It's like the Chinese government is not only getting away with genocide and crimes against humanity but getting rewarded by the international community or the International Olympic Committee. The very fact that Beijing is awarded the hosting of the winter 22 Olympics is a slap in the face to anyone who cares for human rights and has a humanity in their heart. The Olympic ideal is about human dignity, peace and international cooperation while celebrating the differences of race, religion, and ethnicity of people coming together under the name of these prestigious games. The Chinese regime holding more than 3 million people in concentration camps and the enslaved millions more and be conducting genocide against the Uyghurs because of their ethnicity because of their race and religion is the last country to qualify the hosting such as prestigious games. But the Olympic Committee has turned a blind eye to the atrocities of the CCP and continues to stick to their claims that the Olympics are not political so let me ask this: is genocide a political matter? Is mass rape forced sterilization, forced abortions and abduction of more than three million Uyghur people and the abduction of more than one million Uyghur children, are those political issues? Human suffering is not political so is every regime which carrys out active genocide in this matter as I said you know that is the last country in the world to qualify for hosting the Olympics. The regime will use the Olympics as a way to whitewash their actions and sanitize their reputation in the international community. Allowing Beijing to host the games will be nothing but propaganda victory for Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party and the explicit approval from the global community for the genocide of Uyghurs and oppression of everyone China has their eyes on. So for the IOC to say that is to ignore the reality of the Uyghur genocide and atrocities committed by the hands of the Chinese regime, so we should boycott.

JC: That's for sure, so let me give you the last word.

RA: Thank you Jack. The conscience of the world is being tested and we are failing it. Shouldn't we learn anything from the darkest part of the history just as 70 some years ago. It's our duty that the world live up to the promises made in the last century. It was easy for people to declare that there was not enough information or they couldn't do anything and they didn't know it; also they knew when they allowed Berlin 1936 to happen where Hitler showcased its power and gain legitimacy but this is the 21st century and its information era no one can claim the ignorance anymore because they know. They know what's happening. So Campaign For Uyghurs, our organization with Peace Project and the Jewish World Watch and the Jewish Movement for Uyghur Freedom and the in the support of World Uyghur Congress, Uyghur Human Rights Projects and other organizations we have launched the Berlin Beijing Olympics Campaign calls for a boycott Beijing 2022 games. In 1936 Hitler used the Olympics as a way to strength Nazi Germany's reputation globally and to hype the atrocities that he was beginning. Today the genocide is ongoing and the Beijing will no doubt that they will use these games for the same effect. That's why we really need to stand up. We cannot continue with business as usual when it comes when it means so profiting from slavery and they apply night to human suffering so it's so important to take action to speak out, tell your friends and family and also follow us on social media and you can also go to our website campaignforuyghurs.org and sign up for our mailing list there so you can keep yourself educated and the updated with what's going on and how you can get involved. Thank you so much again for the opportunity.

JC: Thank you very much, have a great day.

JC: Thank you, as a reminder please visit our web pages & up for the action mailing list. The list is moderated and a forum for the exchange of ideas to protest against the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Thank you and have a great day.