FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2016
* * MEDIA ADVISORY * *
UYGHUR LEADER RECEIVES AWARD FOR ADVANCING FREEDOM IN COMMUNIST CHINA
Mr. Dolkun Isa of the World Uyghur Congress Recognized by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
WASHINGTON D.C. – Marion Smith, Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC), announced today that Mr. Dolkun Isa, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Uyghur Congress, will receive its award of recognition for his dedicated human rights advocacy. The ceremony was held at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, DC, with the award presented by Dr. Lee Edwards, Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
Dolkun Isa has led a movement of principled opposition to the ongoing persecution of the Uyghur Muslim minority in the People’s Republic of China, and has continuously sought a peaceful solution with the Chinese Communist Party government. Currently a resident of Germany due to harassment by the Chinese authorities in retaliation for his political activities, Mr. Isa traveled to the United States for the purpose of accepting this award.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Isa said:
The Uyghur people are among the millions of victims of communism’s abuses. Eastern Europeans were too, and are rebuilding their nations under democratic systems; however, the captured nations of China still brave the injustices of communist rule. Chinese communism still endures to challenge world peace from the militarization of the South China Sea to the arming of brutal dictators. In our overlooked struggle, the Uyghur people stand firmly with the democratic peoples of the world who seek a conclusive end to the poverty and cruelty of communist repression. This honor not only shines a light on the Uyghurs’ resistance to communism, but also clearly states we will not stop our work until we consign this destructive ideology, in the words of Ronald Reagan, to “the ash heap of history.”
On the occasion of the VOC presenting this award to Mr. Isa, Executive Director Marion Smith said:
Mr. Isa is a proud addition to the ranks of world leaders, brave activists and advocates for peace that have been honored by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. China remains the world’s largest and most powerful Communist country by far, and the Chinese government’s continued repression of its own people like the Uyghurs must not be allowed to go unchallenged.
To read more about the struggle of the Uyghurs under the Communist Chinese government, click here.
To read Dolkun Isa’s full acceptance speech in Washington, click here.
About Dolkun Isa
Dolkun Isa is the co-founder and current Executive Committee Chairman of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC). Born in Aksu, East Turkistan (a.k.a. the Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region), Isa attended grade school locally before enrolling in the Physics Department of Xinjiang University in 1984. During his university career, Isa experienced a political awakening and eventually led a student protest on June 15, 1988, which led to his expulsion from the university in September 1988. Between 1988 and 1990, he travelled to various cities in China and East Turkistan collecting information about Chinese Uyghur policy. From 1990 until 1994, Isa learned English and Turkish at Beijing Foreign Language University, while spending time copying and distributing Uyghur history books to the Uyghur community. In 1994, pressure from the Chinese Communist Party forced Isa to flee to Turkey where he studied Political Science at Gazi University in Ankara. As a result of continued harassment and threats, he sought asylum in Germany in 1996. In 2004, he played an important role in the establishment of the WUC, and was elected its General Secretary; he held that position until 2012, when he was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee. He has presented on Uyghur human rights issues to the United Nations, the European Parliament, various Western governments, and many international human rights organizations.
About the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is a Washington-based, non-profit educational and human rights organization devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes. Recently VOC has announced its efforts to launch an international museum on communism in Washington in 2017. VOC regularly awards individuals and institutions that have demonstrated a life-long commitment to freedom and democracy and opposition to communism and all other forms of tyranny.
For more information or to schedule a press interview please contact Ayla Ybarra at [email protected] or (202) 629-9500.