Dec 03, 2014

Rebiya Kadeer Speaks: How the Hong Kong Protests Inspired Democracy, Dialogue and Peace in China

Celebrated Uyghur rights activist, philanthropist, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and former prisoner of conscience in China, Rebiya Kadeer, will address the European Parliament in Brussels on 3 December 2014, in an event hosted by Csaba Sógor MEP and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO).

The winner of the 2000 Human Rights Defenders Award and the 2004 Rafto Award will engage in a debate on the peaceful and democratic struggle of the Uyghur people, drawing upon the similarities, differences and lessons to be learnt from the ongoing protests in Hong Kong and other pro-democracy movements in China. Since her release from prison in 2005, Rebiya Kadeer has been tirelessly working for democratic reform and the recognition of human rights for the Uyghur people of East Turkestan (Xinjiang region).

The Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group, live under severe religious, linguistic and cultural restrictions, in an attempt of the Chinese authorities to maintain control over the region and repress any demands for self-determination. This has led to shocking human rights abuses, while the Uyghur culture is being assimilated and diluted.

The Hong Kong protests, which have engulfed the region since September 2014, started as a manifestation of public outrage over Beijing's interference with the electoral reform process. The widespread protests, also known as the 'Umbrella Revolution', have served as a reminder both to Beijing and the international community of the fragility of the current political system in China, and raised awareness of the democratic aspirations of the different communities. "Unless the Chinese government takes the necessary steps to devolve political power to the people, it is inevitable that the people’s uprising we see in Hong Kong today will one day spread across Tibet, East Turkestan, Southern Mongolia, and China itself", reads a joint solidarity statement by representatives of the different communities.

Unlike in Hong Kong, international media have very limited access to East Turkestan and other regions with minority populations. Rebiya Kadeer will address the need to further raise awareness about pro-democracy movements and human rights abuses, while discussing how the Hong Kong protests have inspired democracy, dialogue and peace in China.

The registration is closed.