Tibetans march for human rights in Tibet. (Photo: TPI/Yangchen Dolma)

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Washington DC – Over 40 non-governmental organisations from the USA, UK, China, Hong Kong, Tibet and East Turkestan sent a joint letter to Secretary of State Blinken to urge him to raise the human rights issues in Hong Kong, Tibet and East Turkestan with Chinese counterparts at the US-China talks in Beijing.

42 non-governmental organisations (NGO), including Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Amnesty International, World Uyghur Congress, Chinese Human Rights Defenders, Human Rights in China, International Campaign for Tibet, International Tibet Network, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibet Action Institute, Free Tibet and Students for Hong Kong, send a joint letter to Anthony Blinken, Secretary of State, to urge him to address human rights issues in Hong Kong, China, East Turkestan and Tibet at his meeting with senior Chinese officials in Beijing on June 18, 2023.

The NGOs said in the joint letter, "We write on behalf of 42 nongovernmental organizations that report on and advocate for human rights in China, Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang regarding your forthcoming trip to Beijing starting on June 18."

"At a time when the Chinese government is committing widespread and grave human rights violations both inside and outside China, it is crucial for you to use the opportunity of your visit to inform your counterparts that the United States intends to work alongside other concerned governments to seek accountability for Chinese government abuses," the letter stated.

"In recent months, Chinese authorities have targeted many communities for repression, including ordinary citizens who participated in peaceful protests against draconian “zero-Covid” policies and Hui Muslims who try to practice their religion. Authorities sentenced prominent human rights lawyers and activists Xu Zhiyong to 14 years in prison and Ding Jiaxi to 12 years. The human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng and his partner, Xu Yan, were detained en route to meeting with European Union officials in Beijing. Hong Kong police detained over 20 people for commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre after banning the annual Victoria Park candlelight vigil," the joint letter mentioned.

"In Tibetan and Uyghur regions, the authorities harshly punish people who communicate with those abroad to further prevent the outside world from learning about these highly repressive and surveilled regions. Instances of Chinese government transnational repression continue to occur around the world," the letter stated.

The NGOs asked Secretary Blinken to call on the Chinese authorities to immediately release all human rights defenders and end persecution of their families, including the economist and Sakharov Prize laureate Ilham Tohti, the human rights activists Zhang Zhan, Xu Zhiyong, Guo Feixiong, and Gao Zhisheng, the Tibetan monk and religious philosopher Go Sherab Gyatso, the Hong Kong publisher Jimmy Lai, and democracy activists Joshua Wong and Chow Hang-tung. Be clear publicly after your visit about which cases you identified so that the families and supporters of people know of your concern and effort. We believe that such public identification can bring better treatment for those in detention.

The NGOs asked Secretary Blinken to urge chinese counterparts to follow the recommendations of UN experts and bodies to immediately abolish the coercive boarding school system imposed on Tibetan children.