Persecution of Uyghurs: Dushanbe denounced for supporting Beijing
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Evidence presented to the International Criminal Court. Uyghurs, who seek refuge in the former Soviet republic, are returned to the Chinese and end up in the Xinjiang concentration camps. The triangulation with Turkey. In exchange, the Tajiks obtain a loan to build a highway between the capital and the border with China.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The lawyers of some Uyghur refugees yesterday presented a dossier to the International Criminal Court (CPI) in The Hague with evidence that shows how the Tajik government collaborates with China in the repression of the Turkish-speaking minority of Islamic faith.

Dushanbe returns many Uyghurs who seek refuge in Tajikistan to Beijing. Repatriated asylum seekers are arrested and sent to "correctional camps" in Xinjiang, where over one million Muslim citizens are reportedly detained for "re-education".

The complaint was published by Radio Azattyk, which reports that the lawyers have documented not only the Tajiks collaboration, but also of other countries such as Cambodia. China does not recognize the authority of the ICC, to which about 80 UN states refer. Beijing continues to argue that the camps mentioned are only centres for "vocational training", without any form of violence used against those who are in them.

According to Kyrgyz human rights activists, represented by lawyers at the ICC, the forced isolation of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Islamic minorities, such as the Chinese of the Hui ethnic group, is enacted. In this way, the Chinese government is implementing an aggressive policy of eradicating Islam from its own and surrounding territories.

Tajikistan and Cambodia are part of the ICC, and for this reason they have been denounced, as explained by Rodney Dixon, one of the lawyers of Uyghur refugees illegally repatriated to China. Tajikistan would be one of the states where the evidence of such violations would be more evident, allowing the presentation of a case with solid foundations. The denunciation was also joined by the government in exile of East Turkestan, a region that refers to part of the Tajik territory and Xinjiang, according to the ancient Persian denomination, also referred to in some ancient sources as Uiguristan, Mogulistan or Kashgarja.

The text of the complaint states that "the members of the China Social Security Office in Tajikistan entrust the local police with the task of carrying out roundups in the neighborhoods where the Uyghur refugees live and work".

They detain those who do not have all their documents in order, who are then forcibly repatriated to China in groups of 10 people at a time, "trying not to attract the attention of the international community".

According to the complaint, in the last 10 years the number of Uyghur refugees in Tajikistan has decreased from 3 thousand to about 100: most were deported between 2016 and 2018. Tajikistan has helped Chinese secret services organize the extradition of Uyghur refugees also from Turkey, providing the logistical bases for these operations.

The case of one woman, Zinettgul Tursun, repatriated in 2019 with her two young daughters from Turkish territory to China via Tajikistan is cited. Stopping in the Turkish city of Izmir, Tursun was boarded on the Istanbul-Dushanbe flight. Two Tajik passengers allegedly noticed the mother with her daughters, and then testified that they had seen her handed over to the Chinese police upon arrival at the Dushanbe airport.

In exchange, and perhaps also to encourage the transfer of unwanted people, the Chinese government has granted the government of Tajikistan a credit of 171 million euros for the reconstruction and modernization of the highway that connects Dushanbe to Chorug, a mountain city in the Pamir up to the Kulma pass (over 4 thousand meters high) on the border with China.

The project was announced on June 16 in the lower house of the national parliament by the Tajik Transport Minister, Azim Ibrohim. The work will be carried out by a Chinese company; the transport of materials through the new check point will not be subject to customs duties. The minister did not specify how many specialists or simple workers will come from China for the jobs, which will also go to several Tajik workers. The Dushanbe-Kulma route is essential for trade relations between China, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.