Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC NOTE: Muslim Uyghurs are one of the many religious minorities who face persecution at the hands of the Chinese government in northwest China. They, along with Christians, Tibetans, and Falun Gong practitioners experience oppression at all levels. For those who flee China and enter other nations, the hope is to escape persecution as well. Yet this is not always the case as the example of 70 Uyghurs who have gone on a hunger strike in a Thai detention center. Conditions for refugees in Thailand are deplorable and many are not given the proper paperwork or support to complete their journey to a country of their choice. Pakistani Christians fleeing persecution and arriving in Thailand have face similar situations and many have been barred from leaving the country. 

6/1/2016 Thailand (Radio Free Asia) – More than 70 Uyghurs held in a Thai detention facility have gone on a hunger strike, telling RFA’s Uyghur Service in a hand-written letter that they would rather die in Thailand than go back to China.

“If we were returned back to China, we will face physical and emotional torture, and be killed or sentenced to stay in prison for life,” wrote the group calling itself For Freedom. “Therefore, we announced a hunger strike and thought it would be better to die from a hunger strike while in here. We will continue our hunger strike until we are freed or relocated to a third country or till we die here.”

The grim note also contained criticism of the Thai government and their keepers at the Thai immigration detention center, writing that they are treated as something less than human.

“Thailand did not give us to Turkey, and they did not treat us Uyghurs in detention as humans either. They inflicted profound suffering upon us,” For Freedom writes. “They separated us from our wives and children, parents and siblings. Other countries did not help us at all.”

‘We are not criminals’

One of the detainees who requested anonymity told RFA that they were only trying to escape to find a better life.

“We are not criminals,” the person said. “We escaped from China’s layer upon layers of oppression to free our wives and Children and detained in the democratic country of Thailand. If Thailand is a democratic country they should let us go the countries like Turkey.”

If Thailand is a democratic country they should let us go the countries like turkey, who wants to come, or other democratic countries. However, the Thai government still did not release us. It has been one year since the more than 140 Uyghurs forcefully deported back to China. We hope that we will not face the same face as the last group as they are facing torture and death in China.

Hundreds, possibly thousands of Uyghurs have fled unrest in China’s western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where hundreds of people have been killed in recent years’ spates of violence. Many have made for Southeast Asia in hopes of reaching Turkey.

Many Uyghurs regard the Chinese as a colonizing power and refer privately to Xinjiang as “East Turkestan,” while a tiny minority are fighting for an independent state.

Uyghur ties with Turkey are both religious and ethnic. About 20 million Muslims live in China and many Uyghurs have already immigrated to Turkey.

Last year Thailand deported more than 100 Uyghurs back to China where their fate is uncertain.

The detained Uyghurs are hoping that their hunger strike will get the attention of other countries that might be willing to take them in, as they criticized the international community for turning a blind eye to their plight.

[Full Story]