Today I listened and learned during this fantastic 3 hour long forum / panel on the atrocities that are being committed against the Muslim Uighurs in Western China by the Chinese Communist authorities. It is more than just a ‘cultural genocide’, more of an ethnic cleansing. Many well known and super informed speakers, such as:
Irwin Cotler – Canadian, Human Rights activist and politician
Kyle Matthews – of the MIGS in Canada
Kim Manning – from Concordia University
Dr. Darren Byler – academic, expert on China’s Xinjiang region
Maria-Eve Melanson – student academic on colonialism, women’s rights etc.
Dr. Dilnur Reyhan – academic
Sean Roberts – author of THE WAR ON UIGHURS, academic
Mihrigul – survivor of forced and illegal detention by the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang, refugee to the US, presently resides in Washington, DC.
Francine Pelletier – investigative journalist from Montreal
Adrian Zenz – academic, politician, from EU
Garnett Genuis – Canadian MP, activist and human rights defender
Sophie Richardson – with the HRIC organization, champion of human rights globally, activist
Preston Lim – academic, international rights lawyer from Harvard University
Nury Turkel – Uighur, now living in the US, human right’s lawyer
Some of the points that came from the forum and discussion, include Canada implementing the Magnitsky Act on Chinese officials who are here in Canada and/or are here already. Apparently, this has not been pulled out as a tool against China, regardless of whether it should relate to treatment of Hong Kong, Uighurs or other Chinese Han nationals who have been bullied, intimidated, and forced into illegal detention. We can not forget about the 2 Michaels, too, who are still languishing behind bars in China.
China is very powerful right now inside the UN Human Rights Council, so trying to get the UN to make an further investigations or take actions against her own abuses against the Uighurs, is difficult.
Many countries ‘fear’ that if they stand up to China they face a certain retaliation. Sure, but doesn’t that just make the bully stronger? Many on the panel were suggesting that we should continue to stand up, take a firm line in the sand, and let China react, and we will then just react, too. I agree, to let them off the hook because they might retaliate unfavorably gives them power.
I like the idea of creating/focusing on International Coalitions, a kind of strength in numbers. We just need to get more than just ourselves on board. Not easy, but this is a good strategy to work towards. Not sure if the Justin Trudeau Liberal Government has shown enough interest/force/strength to do this on their own, as we have come across as very weak in the eyes of China, let alone the rest of the world. It isn’t enough for JT to just say that he is deeply concerned, we need more that just words.
So, how to? Call them out for starters, whether that is with media, awareness, etc. And then of course hitting them back with economic sanctions, boycotts, etc. An area that would send the message is not only manufacturing, but the 2022 Olympics. Can we as a global community convince the IOC to review China’s win for 2022 and threaten to revoke if they don’t close down their genocide in Western China? It is worth a very good dig into this strategy.