More than 60 people from predominantly Muslim ethnic groups have been allegedly interned in camps or sentenced without a fair trial and sent to prison in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang). These cases are representative of the perhaps 1 million or more men and women estimated to have been detained in the region since 2017. Based on evidence collected by Amnesty International in the recent report “Like We Were Enemies in a War”, the Chinese government has knowingly and purposefully targeted ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, including by unlawful restriction of their basic human rights, as well as by conducting an ethnically targeted campaign of mass detention and torture and other ill treatment.
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President of the People’s Republic of China
Xichangan’jie Xichengqu, Beijing Shi 100017
People’s Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 6238 1025
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Cui Tiankai
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202 495 2266 / Fax: 202 495 2138
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear President Xi,
I am distressed to learn that more than 60 people from predominantly Muslim ethnic groups have been allegedly interned in camps or sentenced without a fair trial and sent to prison in Xinjiang. These cases are representative of the perhaps 1 million or more men and women estimated to have been detained by the Chinese government in Xinjiang since 2017.
Based on the evidence collected by Amnesty International in the report “Like We Were Enemies in a War”
, the Chinese government has committed at least the crimes against humanity of imprisonment, torture and persecution in Xinjiang. Lawful activities many of us take for granted such as living, travelling, studying abroad; communicating with people abroad; reciting the Qur’an or wearing religious clothing can be considered a reason to be sent to an internment camp or a prison, where detainees are subjected to a relentless forced indoctrination campaign, physical and psychological torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
Family members living overseas are desperate to get in touch with their loved ones, many of whom they have not heard from in years. Further to their desperation is the fact that, without any access to a lawyer of their choice, the detained individuals (mostly Uyghurs, Kazakhs and those from other predominantly Muslim ethnic minority groups) are at even further heightened risk of torture or ill-treatment.
I therefore urge you to:
- Immediately release all people detained in internment camps and in prisons in Xinjiang, unless there is sufficient, credible and admissible evidence that they have committed an internationally recognized offence.
- Pending their release, disclose their whereabouts, allow them access to their family and a lawyer of their choice, and ensure they are not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.