On World Children’s Day, UHRP calls for action to end China’s policy of separating Uyghur parents from their children

For immediate release

November 19, 2019 7:50 pm EST

Contact: Uyghur Human Rights Project +1 (202) 478 1920

On World Children’s Day, and the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Uyghur children remain separated from their parents as direct result of Chinese government policies.

UHRP calls for international action urging Chinese officials to reunite Uyghur children with their parents. China must end measures that break up Uyghur families and stop the cultural genocide of the Uyghur people.

“It should shock the conscience that China is deliberately separating Uyghur children from their parents. It is hard to believe we are in the position of telling a global power that the systemic capture and indoctrination of children is an affront to humanity,” said UHRP Executive Director, Omer Kanat.

Mr. Kanat added: “We need to call China out. In particular, China’s bilateral partners need to remind Beijing that an astonishingly cruel policy of family separation is untenable. No amount of Chinese investment can justify silence on this issue.”

Among over 400 pages leaked to the New York Times, the policy separating children from their interned parents is revealed. A document given to officials in Turpan scripts how to respond to questions from children about the internment of their parents. To the question, “Did they commit a crime? Will they be convicted?” officials are instructed to reply, “Freedom is only possible when this ‘virus’ in their thinking is eradicated and they are in good health.”

In October 2017, Radio Free Asia broke the story that Uyghur children in Kashgar, Hotan, Aksu and Kucha were being sent to orphanages if their parents had been interned.

In a July 4, 2019 article, researcher Adrian Zenz wrote:

“…this state care is taking place in highly secured, centralized boarding facilities, independently of any guardianship that these children may or may not have. Driven by multi-billion dollar budgets, tight deadlines, and sophisticated digital database systems, this unprecedented campaign has enabled Xinjiang’s government to assimilate and indoctrinate children in closed environments by separating them from their parents.”

Commenting on the separation policy, the Washington Post Editorial Board concluded: “The comprehensive effort to create a separate brainwashing and imprisonment system for children deepens the evidence that China is committing a cultural genocide.”

Furthermore, Uyghurs overseas have lost contact with their children remaining in East Turkestan. In some cases, parents have been able to identify their children held in state orphanages from Chinese government propaganda videos.

UHRP calls upon the UN Security Council and individual governments to impose sanctions on the government of China in light of ongoing crimes against humanity and severe violations of Article 9 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. China ratified the Convention in 1992.

See also:

Uighur children fall victim to China anti-terror drive (Financial Times, July 9, 2018)

China's Jaw-Dropping Family Separation Policy (The Atlantic, September 4, 2018)

China: Xinjiang Children Separated from Families (Human Rights Watch, September 15, 2019)

China has destroyed Uighur families, including mine. Guterres must act (The Guardian, September 25, 2019)