China’s increasing presence in international organisations and growing political and economic clout has placed unconstrained power in its hands. China has imposed ever more stringent measures against its minority communities and Chinese dissidents and has even signed extradition treaties with 59 nations, of which 39 are ratified. The country has misused the treaties to bring back Uyghurs, Tibetans and other Chinese dissidents from other countries.
China has also misused Interpol’s Red Notice system by issuing politically motivated “red notice”-seeking the arrest and extradition of Chinese dissidents and others whom China deems problematic. China has issued 100 Red notices in 2015 and 612 “Red Notices’ in 2016 alone. It uses Interpol extensively as a mechanism to bring back political dissidents from the countries with which it does not have extradition treaty. The political misuse of Interpol clearly violates the Article 3 of the Interpol constitution which “strictly forbids the organisation to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”
Four independent UN Human Rights Experts and bodies have called the rising case of detained Tibetans a “worrying pattern of arbitrary and incommunicado detentions, closed trials, and unknown charges and verdicts against Tibetan religious minority in China, some of them amounting to enforced disappearances. The issue was also raised during the 48th Session of the Human Rights Council. Kai Mueller, Executive Director, International Campaign for Tibet Germany, raised cases of arbitrary detentions and disappearance of Tibetans. Mueller noted with serious concern the reports of ongoing wave of arrest in Kardze prefecture in Sichuan province and crackdown by authorities on language rights and possession of images of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. Reiterating his concern with regard to the disappearance of “Panchen Lama” Gyedhun Choekyi Nyima, who has been abducted by Chinese authorities, he also raised concerns over the detention of Rinchen Tsultrima and Go Sherab Gyatso, who have been detained merely for exercising their right to freedom of speech.
World Uyghur Congress President Dolkun Isa stated in the 48th UNHRC session that “The Uyghur and other Turkic people are being targeted for their unique ethnic and religious identity. Numerous reports have raised a spectrum of the most serious crimes, including UN treaty bodies and Special Procedures, such as the extra-judicial internment of millions of people, gender-based violence, separation of families, forced labour, eradication of cultural and religious practices, surveillance through technology, enforced disappearances and the persecution of intellectuals and religious figures. I personally had to pay a high price throughout my activism as a human rights defender, my 78 years old mother Ayhan Memet died in a Chinese camp, my bother Hushtar Isa was sentenced for life.”
Zumretay Arkin from World Uyghur Congress stated in UNHRC 48th session that in 2009, the Cambodian authorities deported 22 Uyghurs to China whereas in 2017, the Egyptian government extradited 22 Uyghur students at the request of the People’s Republic of China, which led to their disappearance. Moreover, since 2015, 109 Uyghurs in Thailand have been held in detention centers, but their whereabouts remain unknown. Uyghurs are
constantly living in fear of being extradited to China, not for having committed any crimes, but for being Uyghur. As we speak, hundreds of Uyghur families are hiding in Afghanistan, following the take-over by the Taliban, as they fear that China’s close ties to the Taliban will result in their deportation. Many Uyghurs live in a similar state of fear in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, among others.”
Enver Can from Germany based Ilham Tohti Initiative commemorated the seventh anniversary of Prof. Ilham Tohti’s life imprisonment with growing concern about both mental and physical health of the Uyghur scholar. Prof. Tohti was unjustly sentenced to life in prison for “separatism” in 2014. He was an economist at Minzu University of China and outspoken critic of relations between Uyghurs and the Han majority.
China continues to bully the minorities not only within China, but all over the world, which poses a great threat to the idea of freedom and democracy. The engagement of international community is vital to stop the abuses of China towards its own people as well as towards global democracy and political system.