I’ve been quite busy lately but so has China, unfortunately, so here’s what I’ve gathered in the past week.
In the Uyghur Region
The family planning policies have changed again. Now all urban couples are only allowed 2 kids and rural couples 3. Apparently this is to promote equality amongst ethnicities. The one-child policy was loosened recently for the Han (they could have 2 children). There was apparently a more lenient policy for minorities before (but tell that to the thousands of women who were forced to hide their babies or made to abort them). But this new family planning policy officially includes all minorities in the region. China honestly disgusts me.
The ban on teaching Uyghurche in schools has been picked up by VOA and The Independent (points out that these laws are unconstitutional in China). I said last week that the ban seemed like it was only for the Hotan region, but it has now spread to Ili and I have no doubt that it will spread everywhere else soon. It just occurred to me that this is probably the reason why China reported earlier that it was sending in 10,000 Han teachers to Tibet and East Turkestan. Apparently this policy was meant to be put into effect in the previous academic year.
I previously spoke of flags and banners being put up in mosques, but here is the official report from RFA, with quotes from people in the region, such as:
Under the directive, which has been implemented since June, caretakers of mosques in the prefecture are required to fly the national flag of China atop the buildings, sources said.
They have also been ordered to remove inscriptions of Islam’s holiest verse, “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God,” from mosque walls and replace them with large red banners that read “Love the [Communist] Party, Love the Country” in yellow writing.
On Monday mornings, instead of a muezzin calling Muslims to prayer at the prefecture’s mosques, flag-raising ceremonies are now held, followed by the singing of the Chinese national anthem and a patriotic song entitled, “Without the Communist Party, There is No New China.”
The mosque’s imam or a government official then explains the meaning of the ceremony and reminds religious followers that the flag is a symbol of the sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China, and urges them to love the party and nation, defend the “unity of the motherland,” and protect social stability.
So apparently the number of Uyghurs going to mosques have decreased now. I guess that makes sense. Sad.
It seems like some Chinese official in Hotan was sacked and will be put on trial for corruption and for failing to “fight extremism”. I don’t give a damn what the Party does to its own, but I worry that they will put someone worse in his place. Sigh.
Uyghurs in Egypt
Amnesty released another document stating that more Uyghurs have been returned from Egypt. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom also released a statement condemning the deportation of Uyghurs in Egypt.
I read this really interesting and in-depth article looking at the history of Islamic scholarship in Al-Azhar University, Hui Muslims, and the current arrest of Uyghur students. It was neatly written so check it out.
Here is an article looking at the arrests from the perspective of an Uyghur student who was detained for a bit and then let go. It really summarises what has been happening so far and what the situation is like for them at the moment, so please read.
As of writing this, the GoFundMe campaign started a month ago has raised over $1400. I believe one of the organisers has gone to Turkey and is distributing it amongst the Uyghur students who managed to escape.
Also I wrote an article, too.
Xi Jinping is going hard at it again in some speech he did saying that China will be holding strong to its “socialism with Chinese characteristics” roots and will “…crackdown on media and civil society to silence dissenting voices” as he promotes “the ‘Chinese dream’ of a domestically unified and internationally powerful nation.” There is more in the article about some of the specific things he says, and apparently he directly denounced Taiwan and said no splittism would be tolerated by anyone. Here are some more quotes from his speech from this article:
“We do not allow any individual, any organisation, any political party, at any time or by any means, to split any single piece of the Chinese territory,” Xi said to rapturous applause.
“No one could expect us to swallow consequences that damage our sovereignty, security and developmental interests,” he said.
The article also mentions:
Xi also asked the military to focus on preparations for war, and urged its leaders to improve capabilities in modern warfare and combat readiness. The military should be ready to win a war whenever needed, he said.
As commander-in-chief of China’s military, Xi said that with the unprecedented changes happening around the world, China’s armed forces are the bottom line guarantee for defending peace and security.
There’s also new rules for all Party Cadres! No more visiting “illegal websites” or disclosing party or state secrets online. They now require permission to sign up to social media accounts. They can’t share any info that damages the image of the Party and its leadership. Apparently this crackdown on Party members is happening because of the “19th Party Congress, a meeting of top leaders that will mark the halfway point for President Xi Jinping’s presumed term in office” so he has to assert his power or something stupid like that. Apparently there are also pre-game drinks called the Beidaihe before the actual Congress and this article goes into the fun details.
“We take China’s security as our security. We absolutely will not allow in Turkey any activities targeting or opposing China. Additionally, we will take measures to eliminate any media reports targeting China,” –Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
This article talks more about what this means for Uyghurs in Turkey – no more headlines, no more news, even less people knowing about the Uyghur situation. Does this also mean no more protests, or…?
Anything that makes it seem like China is oppressing Uyghurs will not be reported. Like what the actual fuck, Turkey? Turkey has been supporting Uyghurs for a long time and to sell us out like that for this OBOR shit is such a stab in the back. I get it when Thailand and other small, non-Muslim countries next to China deport Uyghurs, but when this thing comes from Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Egypt, and Turkey, it’s just frustrating. “China’s security is our security” — get outta here, seriously.
Anyway, China and Turkey will be “working together” to root out Uyghur extremism or some BS, although I hope Turkey is just saying this to benefit their economy but will still continue to help Uyghur refugees. Maybe partnering with China will be a good thing in the long run because then they’ll have more influence in promoting Uyghur rights in the region. I really hope that is the case.
In the West
So in my first Uyghur Update post, I talked about a documentary filmed in Australia about Chinese spies. In a similar vein, here is an article talking about Chinese self-censorship in Australian classrooms. It talks about the author’s experience teaching in Beijing and how students with similar mindsets were coming into Australian universities. I thought this quote was interesting:
When Chinese students self-censor or monitor and report on their peers, it is not necessarily because the Chinese state is bearing down on them. Rather, many Chinese students believe that speaking out against the officially approved view, on any topic, is inappropriate. The anthropologist Erika Evasdottir describes this as “self-directed control.” Monitoring and reporting on peers who diverge from the party line is seen as the right thing to do.
I think this means that although the students or their families may face consequences if their views are too out-of-line, this is not the reason why many of these students do what they do. They simply believe it is the right thing to do. It is internalised. That’s the scary thing about being brainwashed for generations. Similar to women with internalised misogyny, these ideas are stubbornly, inexplicably part of their worldview, and it takes a lot of effort to change their minds. …I do feel a little weird writing this as I sit amongst Chinese international students in this Australian university lol. I wonder if any of them have glanced over my shoulder and read what I’ve been writing. That would be interesting lol.
Apple defended itself from criticism over deleting the VPN apps in its China stores by saying they had to abide by the Chinese government. I mean, it’s all business for them so I doubted they would stop selling in China because their ethics didn’t align. If you had a billion-dollar business and was given the choice to loosen your ethics or lose the market of an entire country, would you go with ethics or money? Personally I would rather be banned from China but not many people think that way. I hate that.
I haven’t talked much about OBOR recently because it’s just this huge and constant Thing that’s causing us a lot of trouble, but this… er… article came out saying it’s… it’s BRI… not OBOR… apparently the Belt and Road Initiative is the official name… not One Belt One Road… alright… whatever mate…
Outside of Politics
Photographer Kevin Frayer released more photos with some interesting captions – they’re really nice so check it out.
Two Chinese tourists were arrested in Germany for doing the Nazi salute which 1. why is this international news?? but 2. was hilarious.
Also, if you didn’t know already, you can read Nurmuhemmet Yasin’s Wild Pigeon in English on the iBooks app for Apple. Somewhat ironic, yes, but it’s a free book called “Caged” so check it out. There’s also a short prose piece on love which is interesting, and a note from the translator.