What is World Uyghur Congress in essence?

In recent years, manipulated and encouraged by the anti-China forces in the United States, some truth-bending "academic institutions", rumor-mongering "experts and scholars" and "amateur actors" with no moral scruples have created a chain of lies to defame Xinjiang and mislead international public discourse, often through dirty funding, fact-twisting stories and massive smear campaigns.


Truth shall not be tainted, the world should not be deceived and narrative about Xinjiang mustn't be distorted. The recent reports by independent US news website thegrayzone.com and Australian publication Australian Alert Service, and a series of press conferences held by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have revealed the truth about the fraudulent Xinjiang-related "databases" and the so-called "witness testimonies" and, with abundant facts and figures, exposed the real mastermind behind them. Let us get to the bottom of what's going on and reveal the ins and outs of the lies about Xinjiang.


The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is an international separatist network. One of WUC's affiliate organizations, the right-wing Uyghur American Association (UAA), advocates a hardline China policy, and believes in violent activities to achieve its goals. The US government has supported and subsidized Uyghur extremist organizations through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). In the name of promoting and protecting Uyghur human rights, these organizations attempt to stoke Western hostility against China, with the aim of subverting China and establishing an "East Turkistan" nation-state in Xinjiang.

◆The WUC is a far-right, anti-communist,ultra-nationalist organization made up of Uyghur separatists in exile; its mission is to subvert China and establish an "East Turkistan" nation-state. Headquartered in Munich, the WUC is an international umbrella organization with 33 affiliates in 18 countries and regions, including the Uyghur American Association, the Uyghur Human Rights Project, and Campaign for Uyghurs.

◆Under its cover as a "human rights organization", the WUC is in fact a separatist network funded and directed by the US, and a key organization in Washington's attempt at a new Cold War against China. In collusion with the NED and Radio Free Asia (RFA), an anti-China media outlet, the WUC is tightly aligned with Washington's foreign policy agenda which seeks to contain and impede the rise of China.

Many leading members of the WUC have served in senior positions in anti-China media outlets, including the RFA and Radio Liberty. For example, Omer Kanat, Chairman of the WUC Executive Committee, was RFA's senior editor from 1999 to 2009.

◆The WUC relies heavily on US funding. Since its inception, the WUC has received support from the NED.

Since 2016, the NED has provided the WUC with as much as US$1.284 million, and millions of dollars of additional funding to WUC affiliates.
In 2018, NED funding to the WUC and its affiliates reached nearly US$665,000, and in 2019, US$960,000, up by almost 50%.

In 2020, the NED boasted that it had given Uyghur groups US$8.758 million since 2004, and claimed to be "the only institutional funder for Uyghur advocacy and human rights organizations".

◆In addition to funding from the NED, the WUC and its affiliates have other means to collect money. For instance, on the WUC website, there is a donation portal allowing two types of donation: one-time donation and monthly recurring donation. One only needs to enter bank card information and the money will go immediately to the WUC.

◆In recent years, the WUC and its affiliates have used these funds to churn out fabricated stories such as "alleged concentration camps that detain millions of people" and "The Karakax List" in collaboration with Western media outlets hostile to China. They have worked with pseudo-scholars such as Adrian Zenz to clamor for a new Cold War against China and to label China's Xinjiang policy as "genocide". And they have called on countries to impose sanctions and boycott China.

◆Although claiming to be "peaceful and nonviolent", the WUC and its affiliates have established connections with the far-right Turkish group Grey Wolves, which has engaged in violent activities from Syria to East Asia.
In July 2015, the ETIM instigated large-scale anti-China demonstrations in Ankara and Istanbul. Hundreds of demonstrators chanting religious slogans attacked in front of the Topkapi Palace a group of Asian tourists, who turned out to be South Koreans. Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the Turkish MHP, a party closely connected to the Grey Wolves, defended the attacks with extremely racist comments: "How are you going to differentiate between Korean and Chinese? They both have slanted eyes."

In August of the same year, the Grey Wolves and "East Turkistan" forces carried out a bomb attack at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand, killing 20 people. The attack was allegedly in retaliation for "the Thai government's decision to repatriate a group of Uyghurs to China". These "East Turkistan" elements were trying to travel illegally through Thailand to Turkey and Syria to join the ETIM or other extremist groups in those regions.

◆While establishing ties with far-right organizations in Turkey, the main representatives of the WUC called on Turkey to take "interventionist actions" against China, similar to what it did in Libya and Syria.

Wearing Turkish military uniforms, Uyghur militants released a video on the Turkish side of the Turkish-Syrian border in which they threatened to "wage war against China". Some militants held up guns and threatened in the Chinese language to "kill all the Chinese people", and then chanted jihadist slogans.

◆The UAA was founded in 1998 and has received millions of dollars in funding from the NED. In recent years, the UAA has worked closely with Washington and other Western governments to promote hostility toward China.
"The National Endowment for Democracy has been exceptionally supportive of the UAA," stated Nury Turkel, former UAA President, in 2006, "providing us with essential funding". The goal of the UAA is to exploit Washington's support to promote regime change in China.

Many important allies of the UAA are anti-Muslim, far-right elements in Washington, including Republican Congressman Ted Yoho, the Family Research Council, as well as the FBI.

◆While the UAA claims to represent the interests of China's Uyghur and other Muslim minorities, many of its closest allies are in fact anti-Muslim, far-right forces and figures, such as ultra-conservative Republican Congressman Ted Yoho, the Family Research Council that practices Christian fundamentalism, and the FBI that is notorious for spying on American Muslims, deliberately concocting terrorist plots, and entrapping Muslim-American youths.

Kuzzat Altay, the current president of the UAA, often makes pro-American and anti-China statements on social media, supporting the launch of a new Cold War against China, applauding the Trump administration's trade and technology war with China, and saying that all countries should treat China as a criminal.
During the pandemic, the UAA and members of its affiliate organizations spread far-right rhetoric, incited hatred against Asians, called COVID-19 the "China virus", and slandered China as waging a "virus war" on the world and "purposefully, intentionally exporting the virus to cause the pandemic."

On 21 March 2021, organized by the UAA, some US-government-funded Uyghur extremists disrupted a gathering against anti-Asian racism in Washington D.C. They barked anti-China slogans such as "Wipe out China!" and drove vehicles adorned with signs bearing slogans such as "Boycott China" and "CCP killed 80 million Chinese people." Their heckling of anti-racist demonstrators was heavily criticized and widely condemned on social media in the United States. The UAA then tried its best to distance itself from extremism and racism, but refused to retract its slogans such as "Wipe out China!"

◆Many key members of the UAA set up a military training organization called "Altay Defense" and arranged for US military instructors to conduct weapons training for members of Uyghur separatist movement. The UAA claims that all the training was provided by former US special forces officers, such as James Lang, a US Defense Department weapons trainer and former US Army Ranger who served in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Faruk Altay, the head of Altay Defense, is brother of UAA president Kuzzat Altay and nephew of former WUC president Rebiya Kadeer. He is also a right-wing, anti-communist, ultra-nationalist, as shown by his remarks on social media.

Participants in Altay Defense training sessions also included UAA's incumbent president Kuzzat Altay and Bahram Sintash, a member of the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), who was a key player in lobbying the US Congress to pass the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019.

◆The UAA's leadership consists of employees of the US government, Radio Free Asia, and the military-industrial complex.

Nury Turkel, former president (2004-2006), co-founded the UHRP with the NED. In 2020, Turkel was appointed a commissioner on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

Rebiya Kadeer, former president (2006-2011), is a longtime figurehead of overseas "East Turkistan" forces. Kadeer's husband, Sidik Rouzi, worked for US government media outlets Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. Under Kadeer's leadership, the WUC and the UAA forged close ties with the Bush administration.

Ilshat Hassan Kokbore, former president (2016-2019), has worked with Booz Allen Hamilton, a notorious private US military and intelligence contractor, since 2008. Edward Snowden was employed at the firm when he decided to blow the whistle on its invasive, all-encompassing system of mass surveillance.

Omer Kanat, former vice president, serves as WUC's Chairman of the Executive Committee. He has a lengthy history of working with the US government, from serving as senior editor of Radio Free Asia's Uyghur Service from 1999 to 2009, to covering the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and interviewing the Dalai Lama for the network.

Rushan Abbas, former vice president, is the US National Security Agency's favorite human rights activist and became the first Uyghur journalist and Uyghur news anchor when the US Congress funded the establishment of the Uyghur department of Radio Free Asia in 1998. She went to the United States in 1989 to study genetic engineering. After graduation, she married a Turkish-American and stayed in the United States, and was later employed by the CIA. She often boasted in her biography of her "extensive experience working with US government agencies, including Homeland Security, Department of Defense, State Department, and various US intelligence agencies". She served as a "consultant at Guantanamo Bay supporting Operation Enduring Freedom" during the Bush administration's so-called war on terror. Following a disastrous publicity appearance on Reddit's "Ask Me Anything" Q&A forum, during which participants blasted Abbas as a "CIA Asset" and US government collaborator, she has attempted to scrub her biographic information from the internet. Abbas currently heads the Campaign for Uyghurs, a WUC affiliate organization.

The current leadership of the UAA includes:

President Kuzzat Altay. Nephew of Rebiya Kadeer, Kuzzat Altay is fervently anti-communist and pro-US. He is known to have glorified the "East Turkistan" separatist movement, comparing it to the founding of the State of Israel.
Secretary Elfidar Iltebir. Her sister, Elnigar Iltebir, was appointed under the Trump administration as Director for China in the White House National Security Council. Their father, Ablikim Baqi Iltebir, worked for US government-funded media outlet Radio Free Asia from February 2000 to August 2017.
Treasurer Arslan Khakiyev. Khakiyev worked for Radio Free Asia for 18 years. His wife, Gulchehra Hoja, has been with Radio Free Asia since 2001.

◆In 2004, the NED helped the UAA to found the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), and became its primary funder. Between 2016 and 2019 alone, the NED granted the UHRP US$1.2447 million. UHRP-affiliated projects such as Advocacy and Outreach for Uyghur Human Rights and Advocating for Uyghur Human Rights through Artistic Interaction have also received considerable funding. The UHRP has brought in main leaders of the WUC such as Nury Turkel and Omer Kanat. Many holding senior management positions in the NED have joined the UHRP, such as former NED Vice President Louisa Greve, now serving as Director of Global Advocacy for the UHRP.