Senator Ronan Mullen will be hosting a public webinar this Friday, the 4th of December, at 1pm. The webinar, titled “Can China Change? China’s treatment of the Uyghur people and what we can do about it”, aims to inform the public about China’s treatment of ethnic minorities, particularly Uighurs, in China’s Xinjiang region.

In what appears to be the largest forced detention of an ethnic minority since the fall of Nazi Germany over 1 million people have been placed into “re-education” camps in the region. Reports from the region, including leaked Chinese government documents, paint a grim picture of life in the camps. Reports have linked the camps to forced labour, deliberate starvation of detainees, forced religious conversions, torture, and the mass sterilisation of women from ethnic minorities. Gript recently reported on the increasing belief amongst academics and legal professionals that what is happening in Xinjiang meets the legal definition of genocide.

Speakers at the event include: the historian Rian Thum, who testified at the recent US Congressional hearings into Human Rights Abuses in Xinjiang; Omer Kanat, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Uyghur Congress; Yvonne Murrary, an Irish journalist based in China; and David O’Brien, an expert in Chinese politics who has previously lived in Xinjiang.

This is not the first time Senator Mullen has attempted to draw attention to the plight of people in Xinjiang. Last month saw the Seanad unanimously agree to a motion from Senators Mullen & McDowell urging the Irish government to put pressure on the Chinese government over its treatment of Uighurs. Senator Mullen says that the government “says it’s pressing China on human rights issues…in reality, it seems more concerned about trade.”

“China” he says “uses its trade power to silence smaller countries. Our economic prosperity is important. But Ireland, which has a seat on the UN Security Council from January 2021, must not be silent on human rights abuses.”

According to the Senator the purpose behind the event is to show people that “ordinary people need not be silent either. We are not powerless. We can inform ourselves about the problem, raise awareness locally, and contact our local politicians and Chinese representatives in Ireland to insist on change.”

The event is free to attend and you can register HERE.