On Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the central Muslim city of Mecca, Saudi Arabian police arrested Setiwaldi Abdukadir, the father of an Uyghur American politician, for wearing a T-shirt supporting “East Turkestan” and in repudiation of the genocide suffered by minorities in China.

His son, Prime Minister Salih Hudayar, known for advocating for the independence of East Turkestan (a region China calls Xinjiang), confirmed his father’s arrest on Twitter the same day.

“Saudi police detained my father Setiwaldi Abdukadir, an American citizen, in Mecca for simply wearing this t-shirt which urges people to pray for an end to China’s genocide and occupation in East Turkistan. I ask @USAinKSA to urgently secure his release,” Hudayar tweeted. 

Referring to this development, the East Turkestan Government-in-Exile, with parliamentary base established in Washington DC, by Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other peoples of East Turkestan, said in a tweet:

“We see this a direct effort by Saudi Arabian authorities to appease China. Praying for the end of China’s genocide in East Turkistan is an obligation of all Muslims and is the least that Muslims can do. We urge @KSAmofaEN to immediately free Mr. Abdukadir.”

Hudayar tweeted again to announce that his father had been released after the intervention of the U.S. government:

“Good news, after nearly 6 hours of being arbitrarily detained by Saudi police in Mecca, my father is now free. I want to thank the men & women at the @StateDept/ @USAinKSA who worked urgently to secure my father’s release. I ask @StateDept to help the 22 other Uyghurs detained,” he tweeted. 

There are believed to be 22 Uighurs of other ethnicities who remain detained in Saudi police custody for also speaking out against the Chinese regime.

These new arrests in Saudi Arabia come on top of others that have been coming and demonstrate the ever-increasing influence the Chinese Communist Party has abroad.

A similar situation occurred two weeks ago in Greece, on the eve of Athens handing over the Olympic flame to Beijing for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. 

On that occasion, two female Tibetan students were arrested by the Greek police while trying to hang a banner on the Acropolis in Athens, demonstrating against the Games being held in China under a government committing genocide against various ethnic and religious minorities. 

One of the students named Tsela Zoksang said, as quoted in a statement from the student organization Free Tibet, that “Now it is time for the international community, and all people of conscience, to take a stand and boycott Beijing 2022; anything less will be a clear endorsement of China’s genocidal regime.”

China’s communist regime continues to intimidate minorities around the world from exposing its gross human rights violations. But more and more are courageously speaking out against the evil of the Chinese Communist Party. Despite the pressure, they choose to stand on the side of truth and not betray their consciences.

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