Demand Albanese Supports Human Rights in China

We are Kubilay Kaan, Kris Lee, Ramila Chanisheff, Tsewang Thupten, and Xiaogang Zhang — youth activists, former refugees and leaders of our communities in Australia who still must use pseudonyms to protect our loved ones living under the Chinese Communist Party.

Together, we represent the Uyghur, Tibetan, Hong Konger and Chinese communities who suffer horrendous human rights abuses at the hands of the Chinese government.

In a few days, we’re heading to Parliament alongside Amnesty International. We will call on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to publicly speak out in support of human rights during his imminent visit to China. We are asking your help to hand over thousands of signatures showing support for our communities.

Amnesty supporters like you have already done a lot for our cause: they’ve taken action for human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists who the Chinese government has subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention; they’ve supported Uyghurs in Australia who have been separated from their family and friends because of China’s crackdown on human rights in Xinjiang; they’ve supported people like Mamutjan, who hasn’t seen his wife and children in Xinjiang since 2015.

A self-taken photo of Mamutjan
Mamutjan has been separated from his wife and children since 2015

Since then, the Chinese government has separated Uyghur and Tibetan children from their families and culture in large numbers and forced them into state-run boarding schools. It has continued to detain Chinese dissidents for speaking out in support of human rights. Following protests that swept Hong Kong in 2019, pro-democracy activists are still imprisoned under the draconian National Security Law. Some are imprisoned simply for organising memorials commemorating the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Today, democracy activists like Australian Dr Yang Hengjun are held in horrendous conditions. He faces decades behind bars and fears he will die in prison.

Successive Australian governments have sacrificed human rights at the altar of trade. Now, as the Albanese government tries to “stabilise” the relationship with China, human rights must be at the centre of that relationship. We have the opportunity to tell the Labor government to set the Australia-China relationship on the right course; one that is underpinned by our commitment to human rights and democratic values.

That’s why we’re heading to Parliament next week. While we celebrate the release of Chinese-Australian Cheng Lei and her reunion with her family in Australia yesterday, we want to make sure that the human rights movement in Australia keeps up the pressure on the Government. So that everyone, everywhere can enjoy their human rights.

We want Albanese to visit China knowing that thousands of Australians support us and our communities, and we want him to speak out about human rights.

We only have a few weeks to make a difference. Together, we can help release people like Dr Yang from prison and reunite Uyghur Australians like Mamutjan with their families.

In hope,

Kubilay Kaan, Kris Lee, Ramila Chanisheff, Tsewang Thupten, Xiaogang Zhang