Liberal MP and outspoken China critic vows Uighur ‘loved ones’ will not be forgotten

Liberal MP Andrew Hastie has commended the courage of Uighurs in Australia - with family and friends facing ‘systematic persecution’ in China’s Xinjiang province.

Liberal MP Andrew Hastie.

Liberal MP Andrew Hastie. Source: AAP

Liberal MP Andrew Hastie has vowed the "loved ones" of Uighurs with family and friends detained in China’s Xinjiang province will not be forgotten.

The Former SAS soldier was strongly rebuked by Chinese officials over what they described as his "cold war mentality" in describing China's rise as a superpower, only two months ago. 

But this did not see Mr Hastie hold back on his condemnation of alleged human rights abuses being reported in China’s Xinjiang province in a speech to Parliament.

Mr Hastie expressing deep empathy for those with personal ties to Uighurs facing "systemic persecution and internment" urging them not to give up hope.

Liberal MP Andrew Hastie has promised Uighurs in Australia their loved ones will not be forgotten.
Liberal MP Andrew Hastie has promised Uighurs in Australia their loved ones will not be forgotten. Source: AAP

"They have shown great courage and perseverance despite the tears, heartache and pain," he told Parliament on Tuesday night.

“I say to them that we might not see resolution soon, but we will continue to work with you and make sure your loved ones are not forgotten.”.

It is estimated more than one million members of the Muslim minority are being detained in so-called re-education camps in the western Chinese region.

Chinese authorities have strongly rejected allegations over the rounding up and detainment of Uighurs denying systemic human rights abuses have taken place in Xinjiang.

In his speech, the Chair of Parliament’s Joint Committee for Intelligence and Security bluntly assessed China’s alleged treatment of the Uighur minority.

“I am very troubled by the way that Uighurs culture and identity is being systemically assaulted, deconstructed and scrubbed out by the authorities,” he said.

“About the clear evidence of re-education camps, where … Uighurs have been forcibly detained and indoctrinated into communist thinking.”

Liberal MP Andrew Hastie has spoken against mistreatment of Uighur's in China's Xinjiang province.
Liberal MP Andrew Hastie has spoken against mistreatment of Uighur's in China's Xinjiang province. Source: AAP

Mr Hastie said he had met with members of Australia’s Uighur community who had shared their personal stories of having “family and friends” trapped in Xinjiang province.

“I, along with many Australians, am troubled by the repressive surveillance state and how the Uighur people are being banned from practising their religious faith.”

“They are being oppressively monitored in the homes, in their communities 24/7.”        


He cited a recent ABC Four Corners report for helping shed light on the “plight and suffering” of the Uighurs and identified Australian businesses sourcing cotton from Xinjiang.

"Australian citizens or permanent residents have been targeted and jailed. Others are trapped under state surveillance, their passports seized," he said, 

One of these Australian citizens includes a two-year-old boy named Lutfy - who alongside his mother Nadila Wumaier has been banned from leaving the region - despite Australia's diplomatic requests.

Lutfy and his mother Nadila Wumaier.
Lutfy and his mother Nadila Wumaier. Source: ABC Australia / , ABC

Mr Hastie said Cotton On and Target Australia had both reviewed their supply chains and ceased sourcing cotton from the troubled district.

“Australia is a country that lives by the values of freedom and fairness, and so it is right that we acknowledge when our businesses do the right thing."

The ABC alongside the Australian Strategic Policy Institute identified 28 detention camps in Xinjiang province using satellite imagery.

China previously hit out at Mr Hastie for likening the world’s approach to containing China to a failure to preventing the rise of Nazi Germany. 

3 min read
Published 24 October 2019 at 11:43am
By Tom Stayner
Source: SBS