Possible Hilton boycott over plans to build on Uighur site
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other civil rights activists are giving Hilton Worldwide Holdings one week to reverse its decision to build a hotel on the site of a destroyed Uighur site in China, or face an international boycott.
On Wednesday morning, CAIR led a group of Muslim civil rights leaders, including several from the Uighur community, to the Hilton Worldwide headquarters in McClean in northern Virginia, to deliver a letter threatening the boycott. CAIR’s executive director Nihad Awad, surrounded by other activists, delivered the letter to the building’s receptionist.
"China has gotten away with committing genocide and atrocious acts for the Uighurs, including forced labour, ethnic cleansing, religious oppression and so much more, and part of this is because of corporate complicity. So, organisations like the Hilton are complicit in allowing this genocide to occur every single day in China," Iman Durrani, media director for Free Uyghur Now, said in front of the Hilton Worldwide headquarters.
"We are calling upon the Hilton to ensure that this doesn’t happen anymore and that they uphold their company values to make sure that this doesn’t happen anymore, and that the Hilton will not stand by China in committing these genocidal acts and be on the wrong side of history."
Hilton’s plans for a hotel in the Hotan district of Xinjiang province, announced earlier this summer, were met with condemnation from activists due to its sensitive location on the site of a destroyed mosque. China's Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking minorities have faced routine crackdowns on their liberties, including mass surveillance, forced labour, indefinite detention, and destruction of their cultural sites.
Though the term genocide is not universally used to describe the treatment of Uighurs in China, though there is a growing use of this word in official institutions. In October 2020, the US Senate introduced a bipartisan bill designating China’s practices toward its Uighur population as genocide. Moreover, there is growing public awareness of
“This is not going away,” Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s national communications director told The New Arab. “We don’t want a boycott. We would much rather Hilton do the right thing.”
Hilton Worldwide did not respond to The New Arab’s request for comment.