Wed, Sep 11, 2019 - Page 13 News List

Come together, right now

Hongkongers, Uighurs and Tibetans unite with Taiwanese as they face a common ‘protagonist’ of repression

By Chris Fuchs  /  Contributing reporter in New York

The legislation was reintroduced in the House in June by Republican US Representative Christopher Smith, with a parallel version in the Senate by Republican Marco Rubio. The House bill already has 21 co-sponsors from both parties, the Senate version nine.

“I think you have to work together to support each other so that you can have more power,” Yeh said.

TIBET AND THE UIGHURS

Meanwhile, as Hong Kong tackles its biggest political crisis in decades, Tibet and Xinjiang in northwestern China, home to the Uighurs, continue to face what advocates describe as systematic repression and abuse at the hands of China’s government.

Tibetans and Uighurs, as well as their supporters, were among those who attended the rally this weekend.

“China does not deserve to be on the [UN] Security Council,” Tenzin Dorjee of the Tibet Action Institute told the crowd.

“China is a country that threatens the security of Taiwan,” Dorjee said. “It violates the security of Hong Kong. It completely destroyed the security of Uighurs and Tibetans many years ago.”

Like last year, UN For Taiwan/Keep Taiwan Free rally organizers rolled out an ad campaign with large billboards towed by bikes in parts of Manhattan to raise awareness of these issues.

In addition to Beijing’s treatment of Taiwan and the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, the ads highlighted the jailing of Tibetan language activist Tashi Wangchuk and China’s alleged detention of Uighurs and Turkic peoples.

Tibetans have long claimed religious and political oppression at the hands of China, which has denied the allegations. Chinese forces invaded Tibet in 1950, turning it into an autonomous region of China.

Last year, Wangchuk was handed a five-year prison sentence for inciting separatism after appearing in a documentary video that The New York Times produced. In it, he discusses in Mandarin his fears of Tibetan culture being extinguished as the Chinese government allegedly blocks the teaching of the Tibetan language.

China has also been accused of incarcerating Muslim Uighurs in so-called “re-education camps,” in what activists say is an effort to get them to renounce their religion and pledge their loyalty to the Chinese government.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said recently that the US plans to use the upcoming UN General Assembly to urge other countries to call China out for its treatment of Uighurs, according to Reuters.

Beijing has denied that it imprisons Chinese Muslims in what one US Defense Department official had called “concentration camps.”

MOVING FORWARD

The world no doubt is different than it was when overseas Taiwanese activists first took to the streets of New York more than two decades ago to make their case for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN.

Many of them now in their 70s and 80s, that generation continues to show up in earnest at the UN For Taiwan/Keep Taiwan Free rally, hoping they’ll see the day their homeland will get back the UN seat given away to China in 1971.

“Taiwan has a lot of know-how, talent [and] knowledge” to help the international community, said 78-year-old Livingstone Kuo (郭嘉仁), who was born in Taiwan and today lives in the New York City borough of Queens.

Taiwan’s government has asked its diplomatic allies to voice support for the island nation during the general debate this month, according to a news release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This story has been viewed 4612 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top