Uighurs, China, Asia

Uighurs, China

US politicians call on Hilton to cut links with hotel project in China's Xinjiang

A Telegraph investigation revealed the development was on the site of a mosque bulldozed in 2018 by Chinese authorities

7/30/2021 3:58:00 PM

🔴US politicians have called on Hilton Worldwide to pull out of a hotel project in China ’s Xinjiang region after a Telegraph investigation revealed the development was on the site of a mosque bulldozed in 2018 by Chinese authorities

A Telegraph investigation revealed the development was on the site of a mosque bulldozed in 2018 by Chinese authorities

The US government and UK parliament have declared genocide is taking place in Xinjiang, given the razing of religious and cultural sites important to the Uyghurs, an ethnic Muslim minority in China. As many as two million people are estimated to have been detained in "re-education" camps.

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As such in a letter on Thursday to Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta, the bipartisan US Congressional-Executive Commission on China urged the company to scrap its involvement in the hotel project.“The site is emblematic of the Chinese government’s campaign of widespread destruction of Uyghur religious and cultural sites ... and official efforts to eradicate Uyghurs’ religious and cultural practices,” wrote commission heads Democrats Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative James McGovern, as well as Republicans Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Jim Smith.

“Hilton should not allow its name to be used to perpetuate and promote the cultural erasure and repression of the millions of Uyghurs,” the letter said.“We ask that Hilton take steps to halt construction…. The continued presence of international brands in [Xinjiang] has given the Chinese government a public relations tool to whitewash these human rights abuses.” headtopics.com

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest US Muslim advocacy organisation, has also called on Hilton to drop the project, and this week urged company shareholders to seek further information about the development.The Telegraph revealed in June that a Hampton by Hilton hotel was under construction on the site of a demolished mosque in Hotan, a prefecture in Xinjiang.

Hilton at the time noted the hotel was a franchise project overseen by a Chinese firm, Huan Peng Hotel Management, which said the land itself had a local owner and was a vacant lot at the time of purchase via public auction.Huan Peng also said that it would “comply fully with all local laws, authorities and Hilton brand development standards”.

At least three HIlton-branded hotels are in operation in Xinjiang, all in the region’s capital of Urumqi.Hilton didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday regarding calls for the company to back out of the project.In Xinjiang, other former mosque sites visited by The Telegraph have been reduced to public toilets, bare ground or parking lots. Some mosques and shrines that remain standing are closed to the public, including graves, a development experts described as a major blow to one of the remaining vestiges of Uyghur culture.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank, estimates that 16,000 mosques in Xinjiang – about 65 per cent of the total – have been destroyed or damaged due to Chinese government policies since 2017. Read more: The Telegraph »

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