Twitter silences critical voices with search bans on top Uyghur and Tibetan accounts
WASHINGTON: The East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) is raising serious concerns about the ‘search bans’ imposed by Twitter on their accounts, as well as other accounts critical of China such as the Central Tibetan Administration. This move effectively silences voices protesting against the Chinese government’s genocidal policies on the platform.
Twitter Suppresses Dissenting Voices
Searches for East Turkistan Government in Exile, Salih Hudayar, Central Tibetan Administration and other accounts critical of China no longer yield results on Twitter.
This unprecedented restriction on visibility comes shortly after Twitter Chairman and Tesla CEO Elon Musk met with senior Chinese officials in Beijing to expand Tesla’s business operations in China, leading Prime Minister Salih Hudayar of the East Turkistan Government in Exile to believe that there were potential external pressures on Twitter to suppress dissenting voices.
Ahead of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s meeting with senior Chinese leaders on Tesla’s expansion in China, it was reported that many Chinese firms, including Tesla’s main car battery supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL), had invested over $2 billion in lithium mining and extraction projects in East Turkistan, the region where the Chinese government has been waging a genocide and forced labor campaign since 2014.
According to a new study report published by Sheffield Hallam University’s Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice and Nomogai in the United Kingdom, several Chinese corporations, including Tesla’s principal supplier, CATL, are involved in the ongoing forced or slave labor of Uyghurs.
Uyghurs demonstrated in front of the White House last week to demand that the U.S. Government take action to end China’s ongoing Uyghur genocide. They also demanded that Tesla face the consequences of its business ventures and stand up for the oppressed.
“This recent action by Twitter directly contradicts the platform’s claims of supporting free speech,” said Prime Minister Hudayar. “It undermines the very principles of open dialogue and diverse opinions that Twitter prides itself on.”
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Uyghurs protest in front of the Capitol, April 5, 2023
The East Turkistan Government in Exile is calling on Twitter to honor its commitment to free speech and immediately lift the search bans on their accounts, Salih Hudayar, Central Tibetan Administration, and other accounts critical of China. This urgent action is crucial to upholding the principles of free expression for individuals and organizations confronting repression and censorship.
“We urge Twitter to take immediate action to rectify this situation and make sure that our voices are heard and accessible,” said East Turkistan Government in Exile President Ghulam Yaghma. “By doing so, it will show its dedication to promoting human rights and resisting any external pressure to stifle dissent.”
Over a dozen parliaments, including those of Canada, the Netherlands, France, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom as well as the U.S. Government, concur that the crimes committed against the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in East Turkistan constitute genocide according to the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, and the UN has described China’s atrocities in East Turkistan as “crimes against humanity.”
Despite official recognition of China’s ongoing genocide in East Turkistan, the passage of the Uyghur Policy Act, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, and the imposition of some sanctions against Chinese officials, China’s genocide in East Turkistan continues in 2023.
Who Are The Uyghurs?
Genetic studies show that the Uyghurs are the modern hybrid descendants of the native Indo-European and Turkic tribes that inhabited Central Asia. Due to no satisfactory census of the population, most Uyghur and East Turkistan organizations estimate that the population of the Uyghurs are around 30 – 35 million globally, while other sources generally put them around 20 – 25 million.
*China refers to East Turkistan as “Xinjiang (New Territory),” an offensive term to Uyghurs. Throughout its unique history, East Turkistan has maintained a distinctive, sovereign, national and religious identity. Except during periods of Chinese occupation, East Turkistan has also maintained a separate and sovereign political and territorial identity.