THESE women and all the Uyghur people are no different from you and I. They’ve had their own lives to live, family to take care of, work, study, laugh, love and play. But all of that are taken away especially since the massive and aggressive crackdown by the Chinese government in 2016. The oppression against the Uyghurs have been long present since the occupation in the 1940’s, but since 2016 the tension has escalated to an insane level.An estimated 3 MILLION Uyghurs have been imprisoned (sent to concentration camps) since 2016, among who are immediate family members of the speakers.
It was heartbreaking to learn that ALL family members of a panelist (Nursiman) were persecuted without proof of any crime committed. The children were separated from the parents and we don’t know what’s happening to them. Subi’s father, a prominent Ughur statesman, was sentenced to a lifetime imprisonment based on false charges. Eldana has been cut off all contacts with her family members in China for four years. The pain these sisters have to go through is unimaginable.
But they choose to fight and speak up. Directly to us. Often we hear about the Uyghurs from the news but left feeling helpless and also distant because we don’t know them personally. This platform was a rare opportunity for us to listen directly to them and learn what we could do to help. I think everyone in Malaysia and the whole world needs to learn about the Uyghur crisis and these women were willing to share with us their story.
By DR HAZLIN HAZRIN CHONG, Honorary Secretary of WAFIQ