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Families of activists who flee China's Xinjiang pay a heavy price, says rights group

ANI | Updated: Jun 10, 2021 08:07 IST

New York [US], June 10 (ANI): Members of the Uyghur diaspora, belonging to China's Xinjiang region, who speak publicly about the arbitrary detention of their family members or criticize human rights violations, face vague charges of terrorism by Chinese authorities, according to the Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Speaking out against the Chinese government, as per the right group, has become increasingly risky as many Uyghurs in the diaspora have been cut off from their family members since 2017, after Chinese authorities stepped up their latest "Strike Hard" campaign and imposed collective punishments on relatives still in Xinjiang.
According to HRW, Chinese authorities frequently use vague charges of terrorism to silence critics of the government. The Chinese government has not made public information to substantiate the charges brought against any of these people.
"Governments (around the world) that have expressed concern about the horrific rights situation in Xinjiang should call on Beijing to end its collective punishment of family members, and allow those who want to leave China to do so. It should not be left to these courageous activists alone to fight for their safety," the rights group said.
On Wednesday, the government of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region hosted a press conference claiming to feature the family and friends of Uyghur exiles abroad.

Those present spoke against Uyghurs and other survivors who had recently provided testimony to the Uyghur Tribunal, an independent investigation into alleged genocide and crimes against humanity in the Uyghur region.
According to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), the Chinese government has a known history of broadcasting forced confessions and holding family members of activists abroad in duress.
The alliance of parliamentarians from democratic countries condemned the "cruel and senseless attempt" to intimidate Uyghurs and others who speak out against the abuses perpetrated by the Chinese state.
A four-day hearing held earlier this week, at a London-based tribunal on the treatment of Uyghurs, chilling testimony regarding torture of the Muslim minority has been revealed by witnesses depicting blatant humans rights violation taking place in northwest China's Xinjiang province.
The hearing was held from June 4-7 under nine UK-based jurors of the "Uyghur Tribunal" which heard allegations regarding perpetrating serious crimes against the Uyghurs.
The Uyghur Tribunal was launched in September last year. It is not affiliated with any government and the London tribunal's judgment is not binding. (ANI)