Freedom Tour - An International Serial Demonstration

By H. M. Uyghur - August 30, 2018

My name is Murat Harri Uyghur. I am an ethnic Uyghur based in Finland. My mother Guihuahan Tiemuer and father Saitiniyazi Wufuer are detained in a internment camp in Turpan. They are two of millions of Uyghurs and Kazakhs, who are suffering under detention in China’s internment camps in the Uyghur region. Uyghurs prefer to call their homeland East Turkestan. I have started a campaign for my parents and millions of other innocent detainees of internment camps.

On September 19th 2018 we are holding a demonstration at Senaatintori square in Helsinki at 2 p.m, which will also kick off our “Freedom Tour” a series of demonstrations organized by different human rights groups from different countries across Europe. The tour starts from Helsinki, will continue to Stockholm, Oslo, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris and the final destination is Brussels. The main purpose of the demonstration is to create and promote awareness of the atrocities committed against the Uyghurs.

Chinese government has carried out so called “re-education programs” in the region, that Uyghurs call their homeland. Chinese government has been so brutal, especially during the last two years, according to various reports by human rights organizations and international media such as Human Rights Watch, Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. They have detained over 3 million innocent people in so called re-education centers, which in fact are internment camps.

China’s so called re-education camps are facilities more akin to concentration camps that are currently housing at least three million Uyghurs and Kazakhs in the Uyghur region. While the oppression towards the ethnic Uyghurs has been ongoing for nearly 70 years, this recent development is part of the Chinese regime’s “assimilation project” whereby the state seeks to erase Uyghur culture, language, and history. This project seeks to eradicate the very memories that form the core of my identity, those that remind me of the warmth of my mother’s lap and that have enforced in me the values of family and compassion.

The Chinese government has subjected about 11 million Uyghurs to endless fear and family separation. Every citizen in the Uyghur region knows at least one person who has lost a loved one and lives under the surveillance of cameras within homes and “house sittings” by government officials. Although it is difficult to reach precise numbers, Human Rights Watch reports that “mass surveillance has increased across the region” in recent years and estimates that “tens of thousands of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have been sent to ‘political education centers’ since April 2016. Individuals are arbitrarily detained for ridiculous and often unverifiable reasons like traveling, having relatives overseas, receiving calls from abroad, visiting foreign websites, having beards, partaking in normal religious practices, and expressing any opinions related to the government.

The important point to keep in mind is that the stories of my parents are just two of many stories by people that I know. 11 million people– more than double the population of Finland where I currently reside– can tell story after story of the atrocities and injustices of the Chinese government. The world is watching as an emerging superpower sustains its state in conditions what we had previously thought fictional.

Freedom Tour is a serial demonstration which is calling everyone to act, stand up and join our campaign. The Chinese government uses the Uyghur region as a testing ground for a surveillance society, and once aproven it will export it to other parts of China, and abroad. We’ll need to stop this totalitarian brutality from its very beginning. Standing up for us is standing up for your future, the future of human race. We are calling for an immediate release of all detainees, calling for international governments to insist an immediate closure of the internment camps in the Uyghur region.

Please join or protest and Tweet in solidarity!