The Uyghur Institute of Europe (IODE) intends to put an end to the “climate of terror” which weighs on the Sunni Muslim people in France. For this, the association filed a complaint against According to IODE, fear is growing within the Uyghur diaspora after a series of events “of extreme seriousness which are part of a long genocidal process”, and which took place at the beginning of month of May, during Xi Jinping’s visit to France.

On May 5, the day of the Chinese president’s arrival in Paris, a “theatricalized” demonstration organized by Uyghurs, in the presence of IODE, was held at Place de la Madeleine in the 8th arrondissement of the capital. . Dilnur Reyhan, the president of the association, a teacher at Sciences Po and Inalco, affirms that she was disturbed by two different groups of individuals. “Young people of African origin, who wore surgical masks, shouted “Liars, liars” with signs in their hands,” describes the sociologist. Another group, this time composed of Chinese dressed in black, came to the church square. Everyone had a phone in their hand to film the demonstration. “They sang the Chinese anthem in order to disrupt our theater stage,” says Dilnur Reyhan.

Gulbahar Haitiwaji, a Uyghur survivor who has lived in France for ten years, remembers that this second group held up signs with photos of Uyghur activists – Dolkun Isa and Rushan Abbas – whose “faces were crossed out by a cross”. “This is the first time I have witnessed an attempt to intimidate the Chinese. Before, they just took photos of us,” explains the 57-year-old woman. Gulbahar Jalilova, another survivor of a Uyghur internment camp in China, says she has “not slept” since May 5. “The bullying scene reminds him of camp. Every month, around ten Chinese soldiers shouted through the gates of the women’s cell. In the second, they had to be naked and with their hands on their heads, otherwise they would be beaten,” explains Dilnur Reyhan.

And added: “She lives with the fear that these events will happen again in France.” The president of the association continues by recalling that “several Uyghurs have been hospitalized in psychiatry in recent years due to Chinese intimidation and threats.”

According to Western studies and NGOs, since 2017, more than a million Uyghurs or members of other ethnic groups, mainly Muslims, have been interned in “re-education” “camps” where human rights violations ‘Man are numerous. China, for its part, presents part of these infrastructures as “vocational training centers”.

Three days after these incidents during the demonstration, Gulbahar Jalilova was personally targeted. A group of Chinese, still dressed in black, showed up in front of his home. “Luckily she wasn’t at home. But his son was still sleeping there,” explains Marine Mazel, political advocacy officer for IODE. The police headquarters reportedly indicated to IODE that these people were “Chinese born in China and that at least one person is linked to the Chinese embassy in Paris,” she assures.

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Last weekend, the newspaper Le Monde reported notes from the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI) and the Paris police headquarters – to which the daily had access – “which reveal the presence of civil servants from “State belonging to Chinese services during (…) an aborted “intimidation action” on May 8 against a political refugee of Uyghur origin.” Reacting to this article on its website, the Chinese embassy in France on Wednesday denounced “fake news”, “a narrative by journalists riddled with errors” and “obvious rigging”.

“We don’t feel that the Uyghurs are protected,” laments Marine Mazel. While Gulbahar Haitiwaji has not yet been the victim of personal intimidation, she says she is “always careful in the street,” is always “accompanied when she goes shopping” and always checks to see if anyone is filming her. After these events, she confides that her “fear” grew.

After the group arrived at the foot of Gulbahar Jalilova’s building, the individuals were “checked by the police” who had in their possession “Chinese passports and visas for the nine men and women”, indicates Libération. Since then, “we have had no news, and Gulbahar has not been heard,” underlines Marine Mazel.

Also read: Uyghurs: new “Xinjiang papers” confirm Xi Jinping’s role in repression

This is why Gulbahar Haitiwaji, and many other Uyghurs, support the complaint filed by IODE. “We have to show that we are not afraid and that we are not going to give in,” she says. Dilnur Reyhan hopes that this legal action will push the French government to take charge of the issue of “protecting the Uighurs”. “The Chinese services now know the address of Gulbahar Jalilova. We should offer him new, secure accommodation,” the president of the association gives as an example. “With this complaint, we are awaiting a response from the State, with an investigation so that we understand the reality of the actions of the Chinese,” she insists.