Press Release: On the Occasion of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
As we celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, we are reminded of the Yuan dynasty when messages inserted into moon cakes called for rebellion against what historians considered as the most repression dynasty in China.
During the Yuan dynasty, people were divided into four classes with the Mongols being the first class and the Han people being in the third and fourth class depending on the geographical locations.
There was a popular saying that every ten household would share a chopping knife and every one hundred households must support a garrison.
The Yuan dynasty collapsed in 1368 lasting less than 100 years even as its expansion extended to Europe.
On August 31, the United Nations Human Right High Commission released its long awaited report on the Uyghurs situation in China. The report documented China's arbitrary and discriminatory detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities with the pretext of vocational training and fightinIlham Tohti is an economics professor who worked to bridge the understanding between the minority Uighur people in China ang terrorism.
Of particular interest is China's "Becoming Family" campaign where over 1 million cadres spent a week or more living in Uyghur homes without their consent. Videos in social media shows the cadres treatments of the women in those homes.
The report identifies sexual violence affecting mainly women, rape, oral sex, invasive gynacological examinations taking place in a group setting. The rapes would take place outside dormitories, in separate rooms without cameras.
Visual Artists Guild has brought attention to the Uyghur's plights since 2018 with our performance art at the city of Pasadena and at our annual Tiananmen Commemoration in 2019 honoring Uyghur economics professor Ilham Tohti who has been sentenced to life in prison. In our 2020 Tianamen Commemoration, Visual Artists Guild honored the Uyghur Human Rights Project as well as Uyghur Tursunay Ziawudun who courageously testified about her own horrific treatments while imprisoned.
While the Visual Artists Guild commends the UN Human Rights High Commission for releasing the report and its recommendations that detained and missing individuals be released, we ask that the Commission will continue to pressure the government of China to change their behavior through sanctions even as China blatantly denied the facts of the report.
Submitted by Ann Lau, Chair, Visual Artists Guild