UHRP Alerts Commerce Secretary Raimondo to Uyghur Human Rights Risks Regarding “China-US Tourism Summit”
For immediate release
October 24, 2023, 11:00 a.m. EDT
Contact: Omer Kanat, +1 (202) 790-1795, Peter Irwin, +1 (646) 906-7722
Following the release of a UHRP briefing highlighting the risk of complicity faced by international travel companies offering organized tours to East Turkistan, Executive Director Omer Kanat sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to express concerns over tourism cooperation with the Chinese government.
“The Chinese tourism authorities are promoting visits to normalize a policy of genocide,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat.
Following Secretary Raimondo’s trip to Beijing in August, she announced plans for the 14th “China-US Tourism Leadership Summit” to be held in China in 2024. The agreement was made with the PRC Minister of Culture and Tourism, Hu Heping. Minister Hu is also executive deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Chinese Communist Party.
On August 30, 2023, UHRP published new research exposing the troubling industry of organized travel to the Uyghur region despite ongoing crimes against humanity and genocide. The briefing, Genocide Tours: International Travel Companies in East Turkistan, found seven international travel companies with tour itineraries that included sites in East Turkistan.
The briefing shows how sites in Kashgar, Turpan, Ürümchi, and other destinations on tour itineraries are connected to crimes against humanity and genocide through repression of religious belief and expression, destruction of cultural heritage, as well as large-scale racial profiling, surveillance, internment, imprisonment, torture, sexual assault, and deaths in custody. Some of the tours also provided highly problematic “experiences,” such as visits to Uyghur homes.
The text of the UHRP letter to Secretary Raimondo can be read here.