Hundreds gather in London to protest China’s atrocities against Uyghurs

London: Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in London on Saturday against the reported persecution of Uyghurs in China.

Waiving Uyghurs flags and placards with a variety of captions, they chanted anti-Chinese and pro-Uyghurs slogans.

Speakers, including former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg, addressed the protest rally. Giving an idea of the severity of Chinese persecution he said that a Uyghur once told him: “We pray for an end of such grave Islamophobia in China.”

Demonstrators booed and taunted Chinese Embassy staff who were trying to sneakily take the photographs of the demonstrators from behind the curtains of windows of the embassy from where they had removed the Chinese flag. However, outside the embassy, the sky-blue Uighur flag with a crescent and a star written on it, ‘stand 4 Uyghurs’, was visible everywhere.

The protest was jointly organised by 50 Muslim organisations from all over the UK and supported by the Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU).

According to United Nations and human rights groups, Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities are being arbitrarily detained or imprisoned since 2017.

International human rights organisations have described the abuses by the Chinese government as ‘crimes against humanity’.

According to Canberra based Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), between July 2016 and June 2017, Chinese government monitors flagged at least 1,869,310 Uyghurs and other citizens in Xinjiang for merely using file-sharing application Zapya.

United Nations estimates the number of Uyghurs and other Muslim detainees to be over a million. The crimes meted out on these hapless people include most humiliating physical and sexual violence.

China justifies these crimes by saying that to ‘fight extremism’, such actions are necessary.

M Ghazali Khan is a seasoned journalist and translator. He is interested in Middle Eastern and South Asian politics — especially Indian Muslims — history, media, culture and religion. Based in London, he has been running Urdu Media Monitor, a non-profit site.