Washington, D.C. – Uyghur restaurant owner, Hamid Kerim, said he cannot watch the Olympics because it reminds him of his brother and sister-in-law who are imprisoned in his home of Xinjiang.
“If I watch this Olympic, in my eyes I can see my brothers, my sister, my nation and my motherland. His very difficult life in jail. Very difficult life in camp very difficult life in cheap labor factory. So, I cannot watch this Olympic,” Kerim told Fox News.
The 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing have been boycotted by Uyghurs and human rights advocates for granting legitimacy to China despite its persecution of ethnic minorities. The genocide against the Uyghurs in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang has been ongoing since 2017, according to a 2020 report released by the State Department.
Kerim said: “CCP never respect for Uyghur, never respect for Uyghur culture, never respect for Uyghur human rights. So I think this Olympic is genocide Olympics, this is no normal Olympic.”
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“This Olympic like 1936 Nazi Germany Olympics,” Kerim said, “Because now CCP give Uyghur people for genocide, killing Uyghur people, killing Uyghur people culture.”
Kerim moved to the United States in 2017 after friends told him the government was imprisoning people in his home of Xinjiang, which he refers to as East Turkistan.
“I lost my old company, old business in my motherland. I start everything, have to start anew. First thing, I have to learn English to start my new life in this country and 2018 I opened the first location Dolan Uyghur Restaurant in D.C.,” he told Fox News.
Since opening Dolan Uyghur Restaurant in 2018, Kerim has opened a second location in Virginia. His dream is to open a Uyghur restaurant in all 50 states, he told Fox News.
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Kerim said, “My brother said, good luck. Please give your children good education and United States,” but a few months later, his brother and his sister-in-law were both imprisoned.
The government gave Kerim’s brother a 20-year sentence and his wife a 7-year sentence and the couple’s 3 children are currently being looked after by Kerim’s 76-year-old mother, according to the restaurant owner.
Kerim said: “This is very terrible, but this is just for one family. But in East Turkistan have millions same issues, the same problems.”
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Professors, religious leaders, businessmen and other successful Uyghurs are targeted because of their Turkish ethnicity, Kerim told Fox News.
“Every day I think about this because I miss my mom, I miss my brother, sister, I miss my friend and my motherland,” he added.