NEW DELHI: China has engaged continuously in silencing the voices of dissent under its oppression and the most recent name in this manhunt initiated by the Chinese government is Uighur doctor and rights activist from Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) Dr. Gulshan Abbas. China has sentenced Dr. Gulshan Abbas to 20 years in prison after branding her a terrorist. Abbas reportedly disappeared in 2018, shortly after her sister Rushan Abbas participated in a panel discussion on China and its internment camps in the XUAR. After her location remained unknown for the past 27 months, her family was confirmed about her sentencing by the CCP government in March 2019. Her family came to know about this on December 25, 2020 by reliable inside sources.
As the cloud around the disappearance of Gulshan Abbas has cleared, China has been caught off-guard on the geopolitical stage of the world. Major human rights organizations have started to gather and press for the demands of unconditional release of Dr. Abbas. Campaign for Uyghurs — an advocacy organization campaigning for Uighur human rights, has shared the statement of the Commissioner of the United States Council on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Nury Turkel, who has appealed to everyone to write to the Chinese ambassador in their respective regions, even if the letters are ignored by them. He has further asked everyone to build a movement for immediate and unconditional release of Dr Gulshan Abbas. Turkel’s arguments were reiterated by the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy . Human Rights and Labour, Robert A Destro, while voicing out his demand for immediate release of Dr. Gulshan Abbas on Twitter. He highlighted CCP’s practice of hunting down activists for speaking out against its repressive policies.
The campaign for Uighurs along with Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC),organised a press conference on 30th December 2020, CFU’s Executive Director Rushan Abbas , who happens to be the sister of Dr Gulshan Abbas , informed about sentencing of her sister of 20 years by the CCP government. The event was joined by many prominent human rights advocates including CECC Chairman and parliamentarian Rep. Jim McGovern, Rep. Tom Suozzi, Rep. Chris Smith,
Ambassador Kelly Currie from the State Department's Office of Global Women's Issues, and USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel. The speakers in the event unanimously put forward the demand for immediate release of Dr. Gulshan Abbas by the CCP government.
Jim McGovern strongly condemned the action of the CCP government to imprison and punish the innocent and helpless people from the region. He appealed to the government of the United States to prioritize the passage of the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act during discussions with Officials of the CCP government. Rep. Tom Suozzi strongly denied the charges on Dr. Abbas, while calling out the merciless abuse of the Uighurs by the CCP. His thoughts were reiterated by Rep. Chris Smith, who also called out on ‘American corporations for their biased portrayal of human rights values. and keeping silence on the Uighur rights issue. Ambassador Kelly stated that human rights crimes of such stature need to be repulsed with unanimity, where the US Congress and administration jointly need to pursue this matter, seeking early and unconditional release of Dr. Abbas. USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel is the immediate testimony of the fabrication of charges on Dr. Gulshan Abbas. Citing his personal cordial relations with her, he pointed out the cowardly policy of the CCP government of going after mothers, grandmothers, and professionals – all in the name of muzzling the voices against oppression from the region.
Rushan Abbas and Dr. Rishat Abbas , siblings of Dr. Gulshan Abbas have kept the lanterns of Uighur rights and liberation of Gulshan Abbas burning. In the fight towards CCP’s abuse of Uighur rights, they have been bravely demanding China for the release of their sister and checking CCP’s abuse of human rights in XUAR. The horror of Uighur families can be felt in the statement of Gulshan Abbas’s daughter , Ziba Murat , who could not reveal the source of information about her mother’s detention in China due to the security reasons. She further stated that her mother , being a doctor has helped people all along her life. But her cruel sentencing of 20 years by the Chinese government in her old age is an inhuman torture.
Such arrests have emerged as a new paradigm by the CCP regime, where it subjects the relatives of the exiled activists to various kinds of tortures and forcibly disappears them. Subjecting the people to harsh
punishments, enforced disappearances, and relocation to internment centers are few arrows in the quiver of Chinese government. According to World Uyghur Congress, China has adopted the most inhumane policies in its genocide against the Uighurs. China has not only forced the Uighurs to work in the labour camps, but it has also banned the Uighur language, separated Uighur families and sterilized the Uighur women in an attempt to bulldoze a cultural identity completely.
The press conference organized by Campaign for Uyghurs and CECC has brought the notice of the world on the gross injustice inflicted upon the Uighurs. Resulting in brewing of a movement by the Uighur rights activists,media houses around the world have started taking notice of this issue. Meanwhile, Twitter has started to flood with the hashtag #FreeGulshanAbbas , bringing in the attention of Twitter
community on this issue. The Uighur cause has also started to gain momentum and support in India. Red Lantern Analytica (RLA), a New Delhi based international affairs observer group has issued a statement of solidarity with Dr. Gulshan Abbas, wherein the organization has condemned the inhumane sentencing of the activist and extended support to the movement demanding immediate release of Dr. Abbas from the Chinese prison. This moment of solidarity was duly welcomed by Gulshan Abbas sister Rushan Abbas and daughter Ziba Murat and campaign for Uyghurs, all of them retweeted the statement from RLA from their respective Twitter handles. Campaign for Uighurs thanked RLA for their active support to the cause and sharing the truth about the crackdown on Uighurs by the Chinese regime . The tweet was further retweeted by Ziba Murat and Rushan Abbas . The whitewashing of the Uighur issue by the Chinese government handles and their propaganda operations. With the awareness of people on the issue of Uighur right abuses , a hopeful future awaits for those who have been oppressed for long by the CCP government in XUAR.