Amidst growing calls for the safety and protection of minorities in China, the East Turkistan Association of Canada has launched a 15 day long ‘Walking protest’ against Beijing’s massive human rights violations of Uighur Muslims. The freedom march was launched on July 4 from Toronto and is destined to end in Ottawa, nearly 385 kilometres away. Roughly 11 million Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority that speak a language closely related to Turkish and have their own distinct culture, live in alleged ‘concentration camps’ in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region.
One major aim of this walking protest is to raise awareness about the ongoing Uyghur genocide happening in East Turkistan (Xinjiang in China), ANI reported citing the organizers of the demonstrations. In addendum, The Walking Protest also looks to honour the victims of the July 5th Urumqi massacre by the Chinese government and “pressure the Justin Trudeau government to take action following the passing of the motion to recognize the Uyghur oppression as genocide back in February."
"For this Freedom March, I want to ask the Canadian government, firstly, the Canadian government to officially recognize Uyghur issue as genocide and secondly, call for the boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games due to the ethical implications of China hosting the event while committing genocide", Bilal Malik, a member of the organisation asserted.
Previously, the European Parliament had observed that Chinese authorities were deliberately sending Uyghur women of childbearing age into forced abortions, intrauterine injections and sterilisation. However, China has consistently denied allegations of forced labour and other claims of human rights abuses in the area, which is home to about 11 million Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority that speak a language closely related to Turkish and have their own distinct culture. The US State Department estimates that since 2017, up to two million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minorities could have passed through the camp system, which China calls vocational training centres designed to fight extremism.