Saudi Arabia surrenders to Chinese pressure to detain and deport Uighurs from its soil.
"We are extremely disheartened by the fact that the OIC and its members states have not only been remaining silent on China genocide and persecution of Uyghurs," said Salih Hudayar.28 Maret 2022 20:07
The Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile Salih Hudayar. (Albalad.co)
Since 2016, Saudi Arabia has begun arrested and even deported Uighurs living or visiting its soil. This policy issued after Saudi having a close political and economic relationship with the China.
At least, according to the Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile Salih Hudayar, there are 22 Uighurs have been detained in Saudi Arabia and deported.
"Given the close economic and political relationship between China and the Saudi Arabian authorities, Uyghurs who hold a Chinese passport or are classified as "Chinese citizens" are always at risk of being arrested and even deported," said a 28 year-old leader in an exclusive interview yesterday with Faisal Assegaf from Albalad.co via WhatsApp.
He was elected as the Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in 2019. This administration based in the United States.
How dangerous is for Uighurs to be arrested while they were conducting umrah and hajj pilgrimage?
Given the close economic and political relationship between China and the Saudi Arabian authorities, Uyghurs who hold a Chinese passport or are classified as "Chinese citizens" are always at risk of being arrested and even deported. We see this in the case of Uyghurs like Hamdullah Weli and Nurmemet Rozi. Even Uyghurs who don’t hold Chinese citizen but are citizens of foreign countries like the United States are also being harassed.
Since when Saudi began arrest Uighurs in its soil?
Based on what is publicly known, Saudi Arabian authorities, like the authorities in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, began to arrest Uyghurs in 2016 following the launch of China’s mass internment and genocide campaign in East Turkistan.
How many Uighurs already arrested in Saudi?
There are eight known cases of Uyghurs having been arrested in Saudi Arabia, the most prominent cases being the case of Hemdulla Weli and Nurmemet Rozi. However, we also heard that some 22 Uyghurs have been arrested but have not been able to fully verify this.
Among them, how many Uighurs were already deported to China and how many are still being detained in Saudi?
We know that one Uyghurs has been deported during the period of 2018 to 2020. The other Uyghurs, like Hemdulla Weli and Nurmemet Rozi, are at risk of deportation. We have no information regarding the identities or whereabouts of the other alleged 20 Uyghurs who had been allegeldy detained.
According to you, why did Saudi surrender to China pressures to arrest Uighurs?
I think it has to do with the close economic and political ties with China. Prior to 2016, Saudi Arabia was somewhat tolerant of Uyghurs however this changed with the Saudi King Salman's visit to China in early 2017 where China and Saudi Arabia signed US$ 70 billion in deals.
Additionally a quarter of Saudi Arabia's total annual oil exports goes to China. Saudi Arabia's economic is heavily impacted by China, so it has chosen to sacrifice the Uyghurs.
How disappointed you are because there is no condemnation or actions taken by Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to stop Saudi and other muslim countries from arresting and deporting Uighus from their countries?
We are extremely disheartened by the fact that the OIC and its members states have not only been remaining silent on China genocide and persecution of Uyghurs but also complicit through the arrests and deportation of Uyghurs and by defending China at international institutions like the United Nations.
Therefore, what are you going to do to stop those muslim countries for detaining and deporting Uighurs?
We have been trying to use our available resources to raise awareness, find legal help for those at risk, and pressure the said Muslim governments that are detaining Uyghurs while also applying pressure to non Muslim governments to use their relationship with Muslim countries to persuade them.
So far, because of the social pressure, some Muslim countries have been cautious to deport Uyghurs while others continue to do with no shame.
Do you recommend to Uighurs not to travel to Saudi for umrah and hajj pilgrimage to avoid they will be arrested?
I would say Uyghurs who do not have citizenship of a stronger country should avoid hajj pilgrimage or Ummah until these issues are resolved.
How about Uighurs from Xinjiang Province? During this time, did they get permit from Chinese government for umrah and hajj?
Uyghurs in East Turkistan have not been able to obtain permits to even travel beyond East Turkistan let alone obtain permits for umrah and hajj.
Can you explain about the history of the foundation of the East Turkistan Exile Government?
In August 1949, the top leaders of the independent East Turkistan Republic were assassinated in what was described as a "tragic plane crash." After the Chinese invaded East Turkistan in October 13th 1949, they overthrew the East Turkistan Republic on December 22, 1949. Some of our leaders tried to establish a Govenrment in exile but no country was willing to host it.
After decades of searching, in 2004, our leaders at the time were able to convince some people in the US to allow us to formally establish the East Turkistan Government in Exile in Washington, DC.
And when you have been elected as the Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Exile Government?
I was elected as the Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Govenrment in Exile on November 11th 2019 at the East Turkistan Government in Exile’s 8th Parliament General Assembly.
And who is the President?
Our President is Ghulam Yaghma.
When he was elected?
The same time. We have parliamentary elections every four years unless there are extraordinarily circumstances.
Also every four year for presidential election?
Yes for president, vice president, prime minister, speaker and deputy speaker of parliament and parliamentary members.
How many members of parliament?
At the present moment, we have 45. Our Consitution stipulates the maximum to be 60 while we are in exile.
How did the exile government hold the elections every four year?
Every four years, six months prior to the General Assembly, parliamentary candidates are elected by local diaspora communities in countries where we have a significant diaspora community.
How about voters in Xinjiang Province?
Unfortunately, because there is no way for us to communicate with our people in East Turkistan and the fact the Chinese government will not allow any form of elections to take place, only our diaspora participates.
When the elections was held in 2019, how many voters listed?
It varies from country to country as the local communities elect their representatives as their parliamentary remembers to convene in the General Assembly who in turn elect the government leadership. It's a representative/parliamentary based government in exile.
We are trying to implement a process for direct elections of Govenrment leadership for the upcoming election in 2023.
How will the Exile Government do that?
We are examining the process and procedures undertaken by our Tibetan neighbors and the Tibetan Government in Exile. The biggest problem with us, is that we don’t have a large government seat - capital city like the Tibetans in Dharamsala.
In which countries there are largest Uighurs diaspora?
Kazakhstan has the largest diaspora community, followed by Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Netherlands, Germany, U.S., Canada, Australia as well as Japan.