China and repression of human rights
Sir, – China’s ambassador to Ireland denies brutal Uyghur oppression and says denial of civil liberties in Hong Kong is exaggerated which, given mounting evidence to the contrary, is like saying black is white (“Videos of Uighur Muslims in camps are ‘fabricated’, says China’s ambassador”, News, July 23rd).
However, the most egregious aspect of his comments was his calling protesters in Hong Kong “terrorists”. The Government should call him into to Iveagh House to tell him that we do not regard people protesting for the freedom and democracy we enjoy should ever be dismissed in that way and that his government should scrap the new security law.
Several respected international human rights organisations have reported on the mass incarceration of Uighur and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang (the largest mass ethnic incarceration since the second World War) in large internment camps where they have been subjected to horrific abuses. Worse still, the latest reports indicate that women are subjected to forced sterilisations and forced abortions.
However, the unprecedented life sentence meted out to Uighur scholar and well-known Beijing economics professor Ilham Tohti also uniquely illustrates the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal crackdown of the Uighur minority. To be sentenced for writings that advocated peaceful coexistence between the Uighur and the Han Chinese underlines the very hardline approach of Xi Jinping’s party. However, there are many people like Ilham Tohti in China’s prisons whose only “crime” is defending the human rights of their fellow citizens. Irish universities in particular must be at the fore in defending their fellow academics instead of, like UCD and UCC, hosting Chinese Communist Party-sponsored Confucius Institutes, making us complicit in repression. – Yours, etc,
RONAN L TYNAN,
Sir, – The Chinese Communist Party is not the unassailable or immutable monolith western journalism appears to assume that it is. In every city and at every crossroads in China, there are people the same as us. They know they are being intimidated, lied to and oppressed. They want their children to have better lives than theirs. China will change because its people want China to change. We should support and encourage that change. – Yours, etc,