Mon, 18 Jan 2021

Vancouver [Canada], November 25 (ANI): The Chinese government is a "perfect liar', said Uyghur activist Turnisa Matsedik-Qira, adding that if the United Nations wants to 'properly investigate' the atrocities against the Uyghur minority it should rely on informants in Xinjiang as Beijing will never allow a proper official probe in the region.

Matsedik-Qira, who moved to Canada in 2006, does not have any communication with her family in China far western Xinjiang Autonomous Region for more than three years.

"We know what they are going to do with our families and most of the people are scared," she said in an interview with The Star.

Matsedik-Qira of the Vancouver Uyghur Association, who now works as a nurse, is part of a small community of about 70 families who live in Vancouver as well as about 100 who are here as students. Across Canada, mostly in cities, there are about 2,000 Uyghurs.

"...the Chinese government is a perfect liar and will hide everything," she said.

The Uyghur activist stressed that if the UN wants to properly investigate the atrocities against the Uyghur minority then they will have to rely on informants in Xinjiang, believing China would never allow a proper official probe in the region.

Human rights activists and experts have repeatedly called the United Nations to investigate the abuse of the rights in Xinjiang.

In an open letter in September, nearly two dozen activist organisations and 16 genocide experts urged the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate China's campaign on Turkic Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and "develop strategies" to end the alleged violations that, according to them, amount to acts of genocide.

There are some protests in Canada against Chinese atrocities in Xinjiang including one earlier this month in Montreal. But generally, the issue has not gained much momentum in Canada.

Often a solo protester, Matsedik-Qira said she has been yelled at in the streets by people who support the Chinese government while she holds a sign urging people to boycott Chinese products over China's human rights abuses.

The protests have brought intimidation attempts including anonymous phone calls telling her she should "be careful" and think about her family in Xinjiang.

Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged China has increased its harassment of the Chinese diaspora in the country.

Recently, in a televised interview with CBC, Canada's ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae, said he is asking the body's Human Rights Council to investigate China's actions in Xinjiang to see if they meet the threshold of genocide.

In Ottawa, weeks ago, another arm of Canadian politics decided it already has met it.

But those fighting for Uyghur rights are hoping recent statements from Canadian institutions may put the country at the international forefront of challenging Beijing on its actions in Xinjiang.

On October 21, a parliamentary subcommittee on International Human Rights declared the Chinese Communist Party's actions in Xinjiang meet the threshold for genocide under the UN Genocide Convention.

In Ottawa, witnesses told the subcommittee what the increased pressure on Uyghurs looks like on the ground.

"The subcommittee heard that detainees are abused psychologically, physically and sexually. They are forbidden from speaking the Uyghur language or practising their religion," read a news release from the subcommittee on human rights in October. (ANI)

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