Authorities at the China Cultural Center in Wellington, New Zealand, hosted a major Chinese Lunar New Year celebration on Friday, Feb. 26, which included a dance show featuring Han Chinese dancers from New Zealand dressed in the cultural attire of Uighur Muslims, sparking outrage from genuine Uighurs who felt it was a provocation by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who enslave, torture, and murder them.

As new reports of torture and systemic rape emerge in Xinjiang, the propaganda machine of the CCP is hard at work in New Zealand. The Chinese New Year celebration in Wellington was truly an act of utter hypocrisy that deserves to be condemned by the entire world. 

The CCP-sponsored appropriation of Uighur culture has been called “disgusting” and “disrespectful” by those whose families and communities are being persecuted by the CCP, New Zealand media outlet Stuff reported. 

The China Cultural Center in Wellington is part of the CCP’s united front apparatus. While it is an incorporated society of New Zealand, it was founded and managed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China.

A New Zealand-based Uighur named Shawudun Abdulgofur told Stuff News he was “disgusted” by what he saw as cultural appropriation at the Lunar New Year event, noting that Uighurs only celebrate the Lunar New Year in China when the state forces them to do so. 

“This is very very disrespectful, considering that Uighurs cannot practice our culture in East Turkestan,” he told Stuff.

“East Turkestan” is the name Uighurs use to refer to Xinjiang, the area within western China’s territory where most of the country’s Uighurs reside. “Xinjiang” is a Mandarin term meaning “new frontier,” emphasizing its distance from the homeland of the Han people. 

Abdulgofur warned that this action is just one example of how the CCP demonstrates its power to Chinese living in New Zealand.

“That is to say, even within New Zealand territory, it can violate the traditions of other nations, and the New Zealand Government will allow it,” he said.

The Uighurs are a Muslim, Turkic-speaking minority native to Xinjiang, bordering Central Asia, which the CCP has set out to eliminate by applying the full weight of its repressive apparatus. Frequent denunciations narrate the atrocities that the communist regime is carrying out to completely exterminate the Uighur ethnic group. Actions range from prohibition of childbearing and forced abortions, to exploitation in forced labor camps, rape, and mass murder.

International law specialists and several governments, including the Trump administration, said that the CCP’s treatment of the Uighurs amounts to genocide.