Give Up the Blood-Soaked Trade with China! An Open Letter to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte

The premier said that human rights considerations should not affect business with China. Two Uyghur activists find his stance intolerable.

by Rebiya Kadeer and Kok Bayraq

Mark Rutte with Xi Jinping. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
Mark Rutte with Xi Jinping. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.

“I oppose reconsidering trade relations with China over its policies toward Hong Kong and its Uyghur minority… The EU … shouldn’t isolate countries that don’t live up to European standards.”

Mr. Mark Rutte, we are more disappointed with your insincerity than with the selfishness of your words above. No one in the European Union is pushing their standards on China; the EU advocates that basic and humane standards be implemented for all. Unconditional trade with China is not a sign of cultural tolerance, but rather a sign of immorality and a lack of civilization.

You also said that cutting ties with China won’t “help anyone in Hong Kong or the Uyghurs.”

We have not advocated to the European countries that they cut off relations with China, but rather we have asked them to communicate to China in the right way to prevent it from committing genocide, and if EU countries do not have the power to stop China, then we ask them to be neutral. Doing business with a genocidal government is not a neutral stand; on the contrary, it means that these countries are turning a blind eye to the oppressed and giving strength to the killer.

It is no secret that you are taking this stand to protect the interests of some of your business friends and perhaps to try to get your government elected for a fifth term. There is no point in trying to disguise your selfishness in this matter.

We, as the sacrificial victims of the EU–China trade relationship, are well aware of the benefits and disadvantages of this trade to us, and we have learned this lesson from our real-life experiences, not from books or reports like you did, and we are tasting this bitter lesson every moment of every day.

“This is one of the reasons I believe the EU should be more of a geopolitical powerhouse, that we have to develop our own policies toward China, in close connection with the U.S.,” you said.

Not isolating China was Kissinger‘s half-century-long strategy to “civilize China through embracing it.” As a result, the Chinese Communist Party has transformed from a poor regime that bullies its own hungry people into an arrogant power that commits genocide against the native peoples in its occupied land, threatens its neighbors, verbally attacks U.S. diplomats—claiming that “you don’t have qualifications to question us”—and ignores the EU’s demand to not support Russia in its aggression against Ukraine. Kissinger has not yet awakened from his dream of embracing China, and it is difficult for us to accept his failures.

In our view, you are well aware of the inhumane nature of your position, and you are probably comforting your conscience with the excuse that you are “protecting the interests of the Dutch people.”

We would like to remind you that this stance does not work for the benefit of the Dutch.

The Dutch people are neither in a period of economic starvation nor in a survival phase. In addition to the economic interests of the Dutch people, there is an interest in standing up for truth and justice, and as part of the Christian tradition, there is also an interest in carrying on the tradition of being the flag bearer for peace.

With regard to interest, a wise statesman thinks not only of a few businesses and companies but also of all the people of a country, not only of what is in front of him but of also the future, and not only of material values but also spiritual values.

The EU’s recognition of the risk of a Uyghur genocide was not instantaneous. Behind this resolution are China’s leaked secret documents, the relentless efforts of independent researchers and journalists, the tears of more than three million of our brothers and sisters who are groaning in prisons and camps, and the heavy price paid by their fellow activists abroad.

You may think that your rhetoric is politically correct, but to us, it seems to bully the oppressed and flatter the oppressor, turn a blind eye to genocide, and beat the drums for the killer.

We are writing this open letter not in the hope of changing your selfishness but just to expose your perverse theory and prevent you from misleading the international public. Please give up blood-soaked trade with China, and don’t seek to protect your interests through blood money!

Rebiya Kadeer is one of the most well-known activists and businesspersons of the Uyghur diaspora. She currently lives in the United States. She serves as Director of The International Uyghur Human Rights Democracy Foundation.