A data leak has revealed that 1.5 million of the Uyghur population of Chinese people have been forced into internment camps by the Chinese government. The government’s efforts to silence their families and other ethnic minorities in the region has led to the breakup of families and genocide. The former President of Xinjiang University, Dr. Tashpolat Tiyip, is one example; after being tried, convicted, and issued a death sentence for seemingly unjust causes in 2018, he has disappeared. These atrocities warrant action.
February 17, 2023
President Joseph Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Biden,
The Committee of Concerned Scientists (CCS) is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars that has been working, since 1972, on the advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for our colleagues all over the world. For over half a century, CCS has been helping persecuted scientists and scholars escape injustice.
We are seeking your assistance with the Uyghur minorities in China. The Uyghur population is about 11 million, of which ~1.5 million have been forced into internment camps in China. A CNN piece “China, Police, Data Leak of Uyghur Families” by Rebecca Wright and Ivan Watson sheds light on how surveillance has been used in detention as well as silencing of Uyghur families and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.
The data leak reveals a large-scale atrocity in which the Chinese government’s action has led to the breakup of families and placement in internment camps. The situation inside the internment camps is desperate. The data leak provides a trace amount of hope that families may someday be reunited. This separation and silence of Uyghurs in China, we believe, warrants action. The fate of family members goes beyond breaking up families and forced relocation to internment camps.
One example is the former President of Xinjiang University, Tashpolat Tiyip. He is a renowned scholar having published 6 books, written more than 200 scholarly articles, and led 17 national and international research projects. In March 2017, Dr. Tiyip was removed from his position as President of Xinjiang University and he disappeared. We understand that he was accompanying students to Germany for a conference when he was detained at the airport in Beijing. In 2018, Dr. Tiyip was tried for “separatism” and convicted, issued a death sentence, and his whereabouts at present are unknown to us.
Because the publicity the Uyghur’s plight has received worldwide has been so modest despite its scale, we are asking that you include Tiyip’s name and the topic of Uyghur internment and genocide in any discussion with China.
Thank you for your attention to this very important matter and we look forward to a response from you shortly.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Senator Charles E. Schumer
Senate Majority Leader
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (518) 431-4070
Representative Kevin McCarthy
Speaker of the House
US House of Representatives
2468 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (661) 327-3611
Antony J. Blinken
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520 USA
Phone: (202) 647-4000