China’s Abuse of Uighurs

To the Editor:

Re “The China Puzzle” (editorial, Sept. 17):

You suggest that the United States cooperate with China on terrorism. China has an expansive and unclear definition of terrorist actions — for example, sentencing Prof. Ilham Tohti to life imprisonment for discussing Uighur issues online, accusing him of encouraging students to join terrorist groups.

The Chinese government refuses to allow independent reporters to investigate the situation in the Uighur homeland and indiscriminately treats the Uighur Muslim minority as terrorist suspects. The situation is not comparable to concerns about ISIS.

China has produced no substantive evidence that militants have returned to China from the Middle East. The region is in the midst of a security crackdown and an expansion of arbitrary detention in re-education centers, including of Uighur students studying abroad forced to return home by threats to their families.

This is in addition to longstanding Uighur grievances, including infringement of linguistic and religious rights and exclusion from benefits of the region’s natural resource wealth. The United States should not cooperate with the Chinese government’s security campaign in the region.


The writer is director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project.