Exposing China’s Lies with Rushan Abbas

Nobel-nominated Uyghur activist and sister to imprisoned Uyghur doctor Gulshan Abbas, Rushan Abbas, addresses the 14th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks.

On becoming an activist:

I am speaking today out of necessity. I’m a mother who had a fulfilling life with a successful career but for the past 44 months now I am a sister to an innocent victim of China’s genocidal crimes.”

I never thought that I would quit my job and become a full-time activist. I never thought I would have to fight for my own sister’s freedom, and I never thought the 21st-century China would conduct a genocide complete with concentration camps and slavery on our watch.”

On women’s rights in Xinjiang:

Uyghur women’s bodies have been a battleground in this genocide.”

They face state-sponsored mass rape, forced sterilizations, forced abortions, and forcibly inserted IUD devices in their bodies.”

While the CCP tries to smear the reputation of courageous Uyghur women, Xii Jinping’s wife Peng Liyuan is a UNESCO special envoy for women’s and girls ‘ education. This is a direct betrayal of feminists and activists and organizations defending women’s rights.”

On the case of her sister:

Today we don’t know if she is still alive and we have no idea of her whereabouts.”

On the Uyghur genocide:

This is a war against women. A war against children. A war against freedom and democracy and human values.”

History will remember those who act and do those who fail to do so. Our children will ask us what we did to defend freedom when we recognize this threat. If we do not speak out and act now the only voice and action left will be one of regret.”

Full Remarks

I thank the Geneva Summit, Hillel Neuer, the organizers, and the volunteers for giving us this platform to be the voice for those millions of innocent voiceless people. And thank you Luke for being a tireless advocate for the Uyghur people, to shed light on China’s crimes against humanity and the genocide. And thank you to my esteemed panellists Tenzin and Joey and the many courageous advocates in the room today. I am very honored to be here with you all.

I am speaking today out of necessity. I’m a mother who had a fulfilling life with a successful career but for the past 44 months now I am a sister to an innocent victim of China’s genocidal crimes.

I never thought that I would quit my job and become a full-time activist. I never thought I would have to fight for my own sister’s freedom, and I never thought the 21st-century China would conduct a genocide complete with concentration camps and slavery on our watch.

This Chinese government’s genocidal and ultra-nationalistic policies combined with racism and the cutting-edge technology in our homeland have been confirmed not only through Beijing’s own leaked documents but hundreds of experts and the survivor’s testimonies numerous times over.

China claims that these camps are humane vocational job training centers. This is a lie. Detainees include university professors, famous writers, doctors, successful business owners, philanthropists, as well as young children and the elderly- none of whom need job training. The Uyghur economy has been destroyed and the government is distributing Uyghur’s wealth and reallocating their homes and their lands to Chinese settlers.

In January 2019 two-year-old Rahmatul Al-Sherbaki’s body was found drowned inside an irrigation ditch. Six months later three-year-old Parhat Drygaia was found drowned in the river. In December 2019 five-year-old Nasrullah Ystopid was found frozen to death in a ditch. What all these three boys had in common was their parents were detained in those concentration camps.

We only ever saw photos of little Rahmatul and Nasrullah’s bodies. How many hundreds and thousands of Uyghur children’s photos did not make it at all? How many remain missing?

The Uyghur women are subject to forced marriages with Chinese men and sent to the camps for refusing under the guise of extremism. China’s state media reported that 1.1 million Chinese cadres deployed to Uyghurs’ homes live inside of their homes, supervising and monitoring their daily lives. The Uyghur women are subject to sexual abuse in their own homes, in their beds.

Uyghur women’s bodies have been a battleground in this genocide. They face state-sponsored mass rape, forced sterilizations, forced abortions, and forcibly inserted IUD devices in their bodies. Survivors of such crimes have been immensely brave in sharing their experiences. 

While the CCP tries to smear the reputation of courageous Uyghur women, Xii Jinping’s wife Peng Liyuan is a UNESCO special envoy for women’s and girls ‘ education. This is a direct betrayal of feminists and activists and organizations defending women’s rights.

Today I fight at the cost of my loving sister’s freedom. In 2018 my sister, retired medical doctor Gulshan Abbas, was taken by the Chinese regime as a hostage, in retaliation for my speaking out against the Chinese government. I participated in a panel like this and I was speaking about the Chinese genocidal policies outlining the fate of my in-laws. My husband is sitting here among us, his entire family has been missing since the summer of 2017. 

But six days later the Chinese government took my sister. She is a kind, gentle, peaceful, and non-political soul. I was accused by the Chinese state media of stealing someone else’s photo and spreading lies about my missing relatives when I raised her case. More than two years after her detention the Chinese foreign ministry acknowledged and confirmed a harsh sentence against her.

Today we don’t know if she is still alive and we have no idea of her whereabouts. My niece Ziba, who flew over today to join us here, is now fighting to free her mother, instead of concentrating on her full-time job and raising her four-year-old daughter at home.

China’s war on humanity is belated. This is a war against women. A war against children. A war against freedom and democracy and human values. 

And yet so much of the world remains quiet. China has successfully silenced the international condemnation of its shameful genocidal crimes. Look at the UN we have been pushing Mrs. Michelle Bachelet the UN High Commissioner to the Human Rights Council to release the report compiled on the Uyghur crisis for months now without success.

Is Beijing controlling her? I demand her to meet with my sister Dr. Gulshan Abbas and my in-laws and many other high-profile cases. If she goes to examine the situation of the Uyghurs.  

China sits on the Human Rights Council, similar to a murderer being a judge for his own trial. The founding principles of the U.N., of a world that upholds the values of human rights are being upended and transformed into a shadow of itself that kowtows to authoritarian regimes like China’s. 

It saddens me to see the world remain idle against the genocide of my people. It angers me to see my sister and the millions of innocent Uyghurs are becoming collateral damage dealing with china. It worries me to see China become a power able to strong-arm the world with trade threats, the power of the belt and road initiative, debt-trap diplomacy, and the manipulation of the UN. 

There is no neutrality in this genocide, there are only the perpetrators and the enablers. While the CCP is the perpetrator those making this genocide a profitable venture for China are the enablers. 

As members of the free world and upholders of freedom, liberty, and democracy we cannot stand idly by. The soul of humanity is being tested. Will we have the moral courage to pass the test?

History will remember those who act and do those who fail to do so. Our children will ask us what we did to defend freedom when we recognize this threat. If we do not speak out and act now the only voice and action left will be one of regret.

I’m going to conclude my remarks with Dr. Eli Wiesel’s quote from his famous work “Night” quote “there’s a long road of suffering ahead of you but don’t lose courage” unquote and he continues quote “help one another it’s the only way to survive” unquote. 

Hope, courage, and the help from each of you are the only things that we have left to fight onwards against this evident evil. Please fight with me.

Thank you.

Speakers and Participants

Rushan Abbas

Founder of Campaign for Uyghurs, sister of political prisoner Dr. Gulshan Abbas

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