Press Release: Stop Uyghur Genocide (SUG) Commemorates the Urumqi Massacre

Today we commemorate the 13th anniversary of the 2009 Urumqi Massacre, an event used to justify a massive escalation in the surveillance and persecution of the Uyghur people.

On July 5th 2009, brave Uyghur protestors marched to the government building in Urumqi to demand justice for Uyghur workers brutally beaten to death in Shaoguan Factory. Instead of meeting the protestors’ demands, the government deployed police and the military to crush them with shields, batons, and live ammunition, which resulted in anger and violence. In the days and months that followed, the crackdown continued. The Chinese regime used the violent clash to instigate hatred against the Uyghur people. Communications were cut out for an entire year, thousands of Uyghurs were targeted with extrajudicial arrests and killings, men and boys were indiscriminately loaded onto trucks and taken away and terrorised with public beatings.

This proved to be a turning point in the Chinese government’s persecution of Uyghur population. From this moment onwards, the Uyghur region has functioned as a police state. The surveillance system established in 2009 is now used to uphold a process of genocide. Today hundreds of thousands of Uyghur children are taken from their parents and placed in state run orphanages, Uyghur women are assaulted with forced sterilisations and abortions, Uyghur forced labour poisons global supply chains, and millions of Uyghur people have been taken to concentration camps, where they suffer indoctrination, torture, sexual violence and even organ harvesting.

In 2009 the international community had an opportunity to stand with the Uyghur people, condemn the Chinese government’s brutality, and refuse to remain complicit in these crimes. The indifference shown then laid the foundations for the genocide taking place today. Once again, SUG calls on democratic leaders to take all actions available to them to place pressure on the Chinese regime to end these atrocities.

SUG will be co-hosting two events in London, alongside the World Uyghur Congress, Uyghur Solidarity Campaign and the UK Uyghur Community:

  • At 4:30pm we will join the Uyghur community for a commemoration in Parliament Square, we hope to be joined by Parliamentarians for some words of support
  • At 6pm we will be outside the Chinese Embassy on Portland Place for a rally, we will be joined in solidarity by speakers from Tibetan, Hongkong and Jewish communities

SUG’s Executive Director, Rahima Mahmut, said:

Today marks 13 years since the Urumqi Massacre, when the Chinese government met brave and peaceful Uyghur protestors with police, military and live ammunition, and began a campaign of terror involving extrajudicial arrests and killings, enforced disappearances, public beatings and the creation of a dystopian surveillance network of checkpoints and cameras. This was a turning point in the persecution of the Uyghur people. We pled for help from the international community but were met with silence. Now the consequences of that indifference have been laid bare – human rights violations, crimes against humanity, torture and genocide. I urge the international community to learn from its mistakes and break the chain of complicity. Governments around the world must listen to our demands for support and act now to protect the Uyghurs from further destruction.

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