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Advancing a peaceful transition to democracy in China through truth, understanding, citizen power, & cooperative action

CP/IFC Statement on Uyghur Human Rights Activist’s Dolkun Isa Detention by Italian Authorities

August 1, 2017

We are deeply troubled and highly alarmed at the news that the General Secretary of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, Dolkun Isa, was detained on July 26th by plainclothes policemen of the Divisione Investigazioni Generali e Operazioni Speciali (DIGOS). Isa had been walking with colleagues to the Italian Senate to deliver a speech at a press conference on the worsening human rights situation in the Uyghur region under China’s rule.

A similar incident occurred in April when Mr. Isa was removed from a United Nations forum in New York by security guards without explanation and was later denied participation in the forum, which was organized by the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), and to which Mr. Isa had duly registered.

We strongly condemn the Chinese regime for its trans-border repression of human rights activists, and we also condemn the Italian government and the UN authorities for acting as accomplices to China’s human rights abuses.

After the Rome incident, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang accused Dolkun Isa of being a criminal wanted by the Chinese police, who should be brought to justice. This is a downright lie fabricated by the Chinese regime to deceive the world. We have worked with Mr. Isa for years and know that he is a long-time Uyghur human rights activist, advocating a non-violent struggle to advance basic political and civil rights for Uyghurs, and working to protect their interests and to achieve their self-determination, all of which are consistent with the United Nations Charter and human rights treaties. Mr. Isa is not a terrorist.

It is clear that the purpose of the Chinese regime’s trans-border repression is to stop Dolkun Isa from utilizing an international forum to speak out the truth, exposing the Chinese regime’s gross violations of Uyghurs’ human rights. This is the same reason that the regime censors information in China-because it fears the truth.

We need to point out that the Chinese regime has been using Interpol to suppress human rights activists. This became especially prevalent ever since last year’s Chinese Vice Minister of Public Security, Meng Hongwei, started to serve as chairman of the organization, and it quickly fell into the Chinese regime’s overseas law-enforcement apparatus. However, Interpol is not a law-enforcement but an information exchange organization. The Chinese regime politicizes the organization and uses it to crack down on political dissidents and human rights activists with fabricated crimes. We therefore denounce Interpol for willingly becoming one of the Chinese regime’s tools of repression.

We must warn the international community, especially democratic countries like Italy, that world history has long proved that it is short-sighted and irresponsible to appease a dictatorship in the name of so-called national interests. Such an appeasement policy can only endanger world peace and threaten democracy. We call on democratic countries to join together on human rights issues, to take collective action against China’s human rights abuses, and especially to oppose the regime’s trans-border repression.
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