Sister of missing Uyghur woman on her fight to save 'her people' from China's alleged human rights abuses

Rushan (left) with her sister Gulshan who has been missing since September 2018. Credit: ITV News

The independent tribunal in London will investigate the Chinese government’s alleged rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims - and decide if they constitute genocide.

The tribunal, convened by prominent human rights lawyer Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, is expected to reveal new evidence and testimony from people like Rushan over several days.

Rushan's sister has been missing for two and a half years. She will give evidence in person at the tribunal having travelled to the UK from her home in the US.

Here, Rushan tells ITV News about her fight to save her people and hold China's government to account.

Thirty-three months ago, my sister vanished, abducted by the Chinese Communist Party. Her name is Gulshan, and she is a retired medical doctor who was living in Urumchi.

She was taken following remarks I made at one of the think tanks in Washington DC, where I condemned efforts by the Chinese regime to carry out the largest mass internment of an ethnic group since the Holocaust.

My sister is one of millions who have been targeted by this regime. My husband’s entire family disappeared to the camps in April 2017. 

'My sister is a retired medical doctor' - Rushan dismisses claims by the Chinese government that the camps were for 're-educating' Uyghurs, teaching them Chinese and giving them job skills

The regime has been inconsistent in their narrative and are now getting caught in their own lies. Originally, they denied that my sister had been imprisoned, choosing instead to engage in a smear campaign of lies against me.

In December 2020, they admitted that she had been imprisoned and sentenced. The sentences given to Uyghurs are usually arbitrary and carry terms which are nothing more than excuses to target a population that has been deemed inconvenient. 

The Uyghur 're-education' camps seen from the air. Credit: AP

Inside the camps, conditions are unfit for humans. Cells are packed with little to no sanitation and Uyghurs subsist on limited nutrition and insufficient water. Reports of torture are frequent, and numerous healthy individuals have been dying shortly after being released from the camps. As the Chinese regime touts the need to re-educate Uyghurs and eradicate our history and culture, the birth rate has plummeted as a result of forced sterilisation practices and intimidation. 

"I used to enjoy my life but since September 2018 I have not taken a day off" - Rushan's anger at the Chinese Communist Party fuels her activism

Every day, I think of my sister. I reflect on how other Uyghur families must feel, as I do, being unable to contact their family or know their condition. Uyghurs around the world, in the diaspora, are affected by this anguish. My love for my sister and my people is the reason I go on each day in this fight, and that love is the motivation of my activism.

Rushan on her shock at how a 'so-called legitimate government' could hold her family 'hostage'

The tragedy is there are so many other faces like my sister’s, and there are more each day. This is one of the defining issues of our era, and we must decide as a world whether we will remain silent once again as a people are pushed to destruction, or whether we will stand up for human dignity. The CCP’s brutalities are continuing with Hong Kongers, Tibetans and Southern Mongolians, but on Friday the threat of dehumanisation could target the entire free world using the ultra-nationalism that Xi Jinping is promoting rapidly. For the sake of my family, and for the sake of the free and democratic world, I call upon us all to act to stop genocide.