Uyghur body hails US decision to drop ETIM from 'terror' list
Washington: A pro-Uyghurs organisation has hailed the US administration’s decision of removing East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) from the terror list, which Beijing used for years to justify the genocide of Uyghurs in China.
“Campaign For Uyghurs is delighted by the news of the important step by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to revoke the designation of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement,” the Washington-based rights group said in a release, adding that China falsely linked people of the community to ETIM when they expressed their ethnic identity and religious beliefs.
The US administration, in 2004, blacklisted ETIM- a move used by China to justify attacks on Uyghurs and Turkic-speaking people in its Xinjiang province.
Though ETIM did not figure in the Foreign Terrorist Organisation list, it was included in the US Terrorism Exclusion List, affecting the entry of people into the country.
“As the leadership of the Chinese regime has changed to a softer tone as it tries to suck up to what it views as the sure next U.S. administration, it is absolutely clear that despite any domestic political changes, the United States must continue with resolve on the same path to hold the Chinese regime accountable,” Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) added in their statement.
For several years now, China has tried to control Xinjiang with a strong iron fist against the native Uyghurs. Beijing was quick to react over the delisting of ETIM as a terror group. It expressed “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the US decision“, urging the US to “stop backpedalling on international counterterrorism cooperation.”
According to Campaign for Uyghurs’ website, the rights body works to “promote and advocate for the human rights and democratic freedoms for the Uyghurs and other Turkic people in East Turkistan, which is referred to in China as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
The organisation urged the international community to recognise China’s nefarious designs. “It is our sincere hope that all will recognise the reality of how China has constructed its false narrative to paint an entire ethnic group as extremists while they have been merely seeking for decades to live with the freedom to practice their beliefs and live equally,” the statement added.
The US move comes amid worldwide condemnation of China’s policies in Xinjiang, where a large population of Muslim minorities is detained in re-education camps.
A sizeable Muslim population in Xinjiang has been incarcerating in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to US officials and UN experts.
However, China regularly denies such mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training. People in the internment camps have said they are subjected to forced political indoctrination, torture, beatings and denial of food and medicine, besides being prohibited from practising their religion or speaking their language.
CFU Executive Director Rushan Abbas stated that “It is our hope that the new US administration will continue the vital work of taking the reins of control from this authoritarian monster. It must be recognised that the CCP has only continued its history of blatantly breaking promises while violating the human rights and conscience of the entire globe.”
The right group also said the United States must continue to stand as a true leader in the international community who stands for what is right and the values of humanity, necessary excluding the false “friendship” that China offers as a pretence for its terrors to continue.