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EXCLUSIVE: Sister’s plea for her brother trapped in China

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Uyghur tech entrepreneur, Ekpar Asat, has been held in solitary confinement since 2019

Ekpar Asat developed a social media platform for Uyghur. He was allegedly convicted, without any known trial, on charges of inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination, then sentenced to 15 years in prison.

There are reports he is being subject to isolation, malnutrition and lack of any care as his family fear for his well being.

Up to a million Uyghurs are being detained in camps which the Chinese Communist Party refers to as “re-education camps,” but have been described as “concentration camps”.

Image provided by Ekpar Asat website

His sister, human rights lawyer Rayhan Asat, has been advocating for his release. She says her last contact with her brother was in a proof of life video showcased by the Chinese Government.

“In that video … he looked gone, he looked a shadow of his former self,”

she tells Ticker News. 

Rayhan Asat adds that all his communication is heavily monitored so that he can’t reveal the overall nature of his situation.

“The truth is, he is in solitary confinement,”

she says.

Currently, the Winter Olympics are being held in Beijing where an Uyghur athlete was selected to be the torchbearer at the opening ceremony.

Asat says it “add[ed] insult to injury” as she doesn’t see how things can improve.

Ticker’s Holly Stearnes asked the Human Rights Lawyer, “For a country that has been condemned over its treatment of the Uyghurs… why did they choose an Uyghur athlete to be the torchbearer at the opening ceremony?

“It is whitewashing a genocide,” she says, “Now this kind of tokenising … to showcase that there is no torture, there is no genocide, everything is wonderful in China, ethnic communities around China get along well … that is a kind of message the Chinese government is trying to send to sanitise what’s happening in Xinjiang, but the world is not buying into it.”

Rayhan Asat told Ticker News that if she could speak with her brother right now her message would be: 

“I love him deeply. He’s my best friend and the best brother I could ever hope for and incredibly proud of him, proud of his resilience, kindness, and the example that he exemplified for me to be a better person every day and I want him to know he’s not forgotten. I’m fighting for him every day,” she says.

The Winter Olympic’s raises awareness

“The Olympic’s actually has been, in the saddest way, an opportunity to highlight what’s happening,” she says.

 Asat says while people are watching the games and cheering for the athletes, it’s important to remember the abuses happening to small ethnic communities in China.

“Shame and name the perpetrators and tormentors that have my brother and make sure the Chinese government knows that the international community cares,”

she says.

Rayhan Asat hopes the increased attention on the atrocities being committed by the Chinese government, can deter the Chinese government’s repression. 

Savannah Pocock reports

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TikTok implements stricter guidelines on weight-loss drug promotion

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TikTok is tightening its regulations on influencers who promote weight-loss drugs like Ozempic.

With over 170 million users in the US, the app aims to prevent the spread of potentially harmful content related to rapid weight loss.

Starting in May, TikTok will prohibit influencers from posting “before-and-after” photos and restrict minors from accessing weight-loss content deemed risky. The crackdown extends to any content promoting drastic weight loss methods, aiming to combat the promotion of unrealistic body standards.

However, some influencers, like Dave Knapp and Kim Carlos, criticise the move, arguing it discriminates against those with health conditions. Others fear losing their income as TikTok takes down their content, prompting concerns about the platform’s future amid potential US bans.

As TikTok enforces stricter guidelines, influencers may seek alternative platforms to share weight-loss content. Despite the popularity of drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, the crackdown reflects growing concerns about the impact of such promotions on user health.

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Game on with indie devs celebrated by Nintendo

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Nintendo Switch fans rejoice! The recent Indie World Showcase unveiled 17 new titles coming in 2024.

Including in the rundown is the adorable “Little Kitty, Big City” and explosive platformer “Anton Blast.” In other news, “Stellar Blade” confirms an uncensored release on PlayStation 5, Fallout’s TV adaptation gears up for Season 2, and Keanu Reeves joins the cast of Sonic 3 as Shadow. New releases this week include “Tales of Kenzera: Zau” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants,” while “Fallout 4” gets a next-gen update. With “Stellar Blade” topping the list, gamers have plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks.

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What are the major takeaways from day one of Trump’s trial?

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The first day of Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial that the former president broke the law and corrupted the 2016 election, while his defence lawyer said he committed no crime.

On this episode of Ticker Today – Former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial is officially underway, President Joe Biden makes cannibal claims, TikTok US ban enters the next phase and Gen Z’s are dropping degrees and picking up tools to become blue-collar workers.

Ticker’s Ahron Young and Veronica Dudo discuss.

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