The Uyghur World Congress will elect a new leadership at the General Assembly in Prague this weekend. Today, a conference is being held at which, according to the congress, prisoners and re-education camp survivors, academics, experts, diplomats and politicians will meet. According to Lidové noviny, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Pavel Fischer (independent), should speak. The mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates), stated in a statement available to ČTK that he had given the congress a patronage and lent his residence for part of the program. The event was strongly condemned by the Chinese side in a statement by the spokesman of the embassy in the Czech Republic. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this is a private event in which neither the ministry nor the government has been involved.
China faces allegations that it has set up a number of internment camps in the Uyghur Autonomous Region in the name of fighting Islamism, holding more than a million minority Uighurs. The Chinese authorities refer to the camps as vocational training centers where Uyghurs undergo political re-education. According to human rights activists, forced labor and violent political agitation are taking place in the camps. Uighur women are being sterilized and Uighurs are being forced to renounce their Muslim faith, language and culture, activists say. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang I in February called the claim that China was committing genocide on a minority of Uighurs.
The panels of today’s conference are to be devoted to the testimony of the survivors, the political approach to the Uighur crisis, the use of legal means to prosecute the perpetrators and bring them to justice, and the research methods essential to uncovering the Uyghur genocide.
The General Assembly elections will take place this weekend. “Through 200 delegates from 25 countries, members of 16 committees and congress bodies, including the presidency, will be elected,” the site said. 62 Uighur delegates are applying for 32 positions.
Hrib said he would speak at a panel discussion conference. He wanted to talk about “Prague’s recent experience with bullying by China in connection with the effort to amend the partnership agreement between Prague and Beijing.” In October 2019, the sister agreement was terminated due to a controversial clause that Prague recognized one China. The city concluded the agreement on behalf of Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (YES). Prague wanted to delete the clause, which Beijing did not agree to.
Hřib will personally meet three survivors from the Uighur detention centers. According to him, the representatives of China expressed concern about the event through the report of the political council of the Chinese embassy in the Czech Republic. “Any judicial person should, in my opinion, be concerned that there are concentration camps for religious and other minorities in China in 2021. As a doctor, I also have a problem with reports of forced organ harvesting,” the mayor added.
“This is a private event under the auspices of the mayor of Prague, in which neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the government were involved in any way. None of the MFA management will officially participate in this event,” Eva Davidová, a spokeswoman for the office, told ČTK.
The Chinese party, through an embassy spokesman, strongly condemned the “anti-Chinese separatist activities” that the congress said. It opposes Czech institutions and politicians to use this opportunity to interfere in China’s internal affairs.
According to the embassy, the congress is an anti-China separatist organization that has long been fabricating slander and lies about Xinjiang, spreading religious extremism and inciting terrorist and separatist activities. Xinjiang is a Chinese autonomous province inhabited by Uyghurs. According to the embassy, Dolkun Isa, the leader of the congress, is described as a terrorist by the Chinese government.
The embassy spokesman called it a complete lie that genocide, cultural extermination and forced labor were taking place in Xinjiang. “The issue of Xinjiang is not about ethnicity, religion or human rights at all, but about the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism,” he said.
The Chinese side called on the “couple of Czech individuals” to understand the separatist nature of the congress, to abide by international law and basic norms of international relations, not to support anti-Chinese separatist activities and to create conditions for the development of Sino-Czech relations.