Uyghur Update: August 8th-15th

Trump and North Korea are threatening fire and fury while Turnbull pledges his allegiance to America in the instance that Kim actually fires his missiles. Meanwhile the Tiki stick company denounces the white supremacist marchers in Charlottesville harsher than Mr Fire and Fury as people literally die in clashes between NAZIS and people who actually remember WW2. In America. 2017. (Although, if that came as a surprise then you were not paying attention). And under all that smoke, China looks to the US with contempt and brags about their “social stability” as they continue to shine UV light on Uyghurs. Perhaps the world cannot see the smoke but we are burning in silence.


In the Uyghur Region

Hebibulla Tohti was sentenced to 10 years in jail for: teaching religion to Uyghur students in Egypt without permission from the Chinese authorities, attending a major religious conference in Saudi Arabia in 2015 without permission from the Chinese authorities, emphasizing the distinct achievements of the Uyghur culture in his dissertation paper, and failing to write or speak out positively about Chinese policies in the Uyghur region. He had been sponsored by China to study in Egypt and had returned last year when told to in order to register himself. He was detained immediately, released in January, then detained again in March. Apparently he was “double-faced”.

But China does not care if you are endorsed by themselves or not – just being Uyghur and in a position of influence seems to be bad. They have now banned books by Seypidin Azizi. He was “…the first chairman of Xinjiang from 1955-1978 and vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee from 1993-1998 before his death in 2003” — he supported the Communist Party. He worked for the Second East Turkestan Republic and then joined the CPC. Maybe they want to erase the fact that ETR existed… I’m not sure what his books talk about… in any case, the article says China probably wants to erase all history of Uyghurs. smh.

An article looking at the hiring practices of security and police emerged, saying 50% more people were hired in the past year than in the last decade. A total of 84,000 security-related positions were advertised since September 2016. So, yes, literal police state. Read the article for more figures.

And dear God, they are thinking of diverting water from Tibet to East Turkistan in order to “…help turn the vast deserts and arid lands into oasis and farmlands, alleviate population pressure in the east…” It looks like it’s still in the planning stages so… I guess we’ll see what will happen…

Also, some footage from the “Army Games” in Korla…


Outside the Region

The WUC held their 6th Congressional meeting…? Rabiya Qadir was elected as leader? Click the link for more info but it is in Uyghurche. I do not have formal education in Uyghurche and I wonder why RFA never reports internal matters in English. That being said, I need to learn Uyghurche better. Anyone willing to give me lessons?

(They also put out a press release concerned about the total ban on Uyghur language teaching in Hotan…)

I talked about how Dolkun Isa was detained in Italy recently. Three Italian politicians have now called on parliament to explain why this happened.

The East Turkestan Government-in-Exile also held a conference in Japan. I am not too sure about the details for this one either. It might have been about Hiroshima and the nuclear testing that China conducts in East Turkestan. Perhaps if I had more time I could ask someone for clarification and make this blog/update more legit but I literally write these summaries between experiments in my lab (I am scientist, not a journalist) and I have no extra help… so if anyone wants to contribute to the research behind this, it would be a pleasure to work with you!



A short article saying that the deported students seem to have disappeared. There hasn’t been much news on the status of Egyptian Uyghurs this week.

A slightly longer article covering China’s tactics in bringing back Uyghurs from overseas (Egypt as well as other countries) and some commentary on the international community’s silence on the issue.



More internet controls will probably be put in place as China investigates WeChat, Weibo and Baidu for failing to comply with cyber laws. Here’s a general report on the Chinese police state.

The Epoch Times released a video of China’s crackdown on human rights lawyers.

On OBOR: here is a little summary of a conference held on the matter in light of Balochistan (which will connect to Kashgar). I believe Dolkun Isa spoke at the event. Here’s another article on the Road’s development plans and local protests in China and Myanmar.

Soft Power

  1. a persuasive approach to international relations, typically involving the use of economic or cultural influence.

China exerting soft power over African countries… I can see how the world would try to rely on an Asian global superpower after being f’ed by Europe and USA for so long… but if they could only see that China is just as evil, if not more so…

A few articles this week seems to focusing on soft power. This one titled China’s ‘Magic Weapon’: The United Front Work Department talks about the United Front Work Department and how they influence minorities within the country, Taiwan, and overseas.



I came across this opinion article about Kashmir which uses Uyghurs as an example of failed Chinese strategy:

This is not a new idea. Other countries have tried this strategy. Most notably, the Chinese Communist Party (CPP) engineered migration of ethnic Hans into Xinjiang (and even Tibet) as a way of “pacifying” these restive regions.

The Chinese example is relevant because, like Kashmiris, Tibetans (5 million) and Uighurs (9 million) are small ethnic minorities. The mainstream Han comprise over 90 per cent of China’s population. To deal with a restive Xinjiang, the CCP engineered large-scale migration of ethnic Han into the region between 1950s-1970s. Han Chinese now comprise 58 percent of Xinjiang’s population. In 1949, Xinjiang’s Han population was only 6 percent.

Repressive policies accompanied the Han migration. The CCP regulated religious freedom, language, school curriculum and employment opportunities to the detriment of ethnic Uighurs. However, after almost seven decades, billions of dollars of investments, a demographic inversion, and its “Strike Hard” policy, Xinjiang remains restive. Over time, extremism has emerged as a threat in a region that was known for moderate Islamic practices. Uighurs remain alienated and an existential fear grips them.

Yeah, India… look at China… restrictive policies don’t work…


Outside of Politics

Sydney-based The Modest Bride is a blog about bridal fashion which offers styles that do not “…compromise on a sense of modernity, minimalism and ultimately modesty”,  according to the editor, Saltanat. They have recently started a series called Roots, the first of which is about the Modern Uyghur. As explained by the featured model, it uses “…the medium of bridal fashion to communicate culture and introduce Uyghur cultural motifs & a sense of identity to an audience who may never have heard of ‘Uyghur’ before.” Although it is important to expose the atrocities and oppression that Uyghurs face in their homeland, I think it is equally important to introduce the Uyghur people to the world, separate from their politics. Political pawns are never seen as human, people are. And in a world where our culture and language is continually appropriated, cut up and re-shaped to fit a Chinese narrative, it is essential that Uyghurs take back their heritage and express it ourselves. And girl, is it beautiful.

The Roots series attempts to “…capture the unique aesthetic beauty of diverse cultures and their expression on one’s wedding day. Not as an historical curiosity, but as a recognition of the beauty in holding on to cultural motifs and expressing them today, through the experience of fluid identities and blending of lived realities.” Here is a teaser photo:


Check out the website for more! Also check out twiicethestyle, a popular fashion account on Instagram run by two Uyghur sisters. I could never do this type of thing myself and I am so glad there are others who use different mediums to promote Uyghurs in such a positive light. Political tweets and blogs tend to be circulated in the same circles.


Speaking of different mediums, food has always been a popular one for minorities, and here is an extensive article about the Uyghur restaurants that have been popping up in the US – Uyghur Food: ‘A Combination of Everything’. It’s a colourful little article which includes video and a recipe for polo.


There is also music. And a name I did not expect to see in the headlines: Yulduz Osmanova. Apparently she will be performing in Dubai. I remember listening to her Uyghur and Uzbek songs when I was a kid. Great memories.

This tambur version of Despacito also went semi-viral on Facebook. I guess… I mean, Despacito is the first YouTube video to reach 3 billion views so it is a pretty popular song so like… I suppose… lol. Nah, it was pretty impressive.

And I recently came across this group called Sama in Beijing. I have yet to check out their music, but the description sounds great: The Uyghur flamenco passion/Xinjiang folk group combines traditional Arabic songs and lively Spanish rumba classics, with lyrics both in English and Uyghur. Yes indeed, Sama continue bringing the energetic sounds of Xinjiang to China’s capital. 

sama (1)

If anyone is in London, head on over to Sufis on the Silk Road: Nawa’i on September 20th. Click the link for info – looks cool! Rahima Mahmut is listed as a vocalist for the performance. If her name sounds familiar, it’s because I talked about her translation of Söyün’gül Janishif’s book “Koz Yeshida Nemlengen Zimin” or “Land Drowned in Tears” in a previous update. I presume there is only one Rahima Mahmut in London…


Meanwhile, 16-year-old Hasna Turner, a Bermudian schoolgirl, has published a book with the assistance of Luke Hansen, an American-based editor, called Uyghurs: Prisoners in Paradise. It is about the Uyghurs who are living in Bermuda after being moved from Guantanamo Bay. “The group has since been fighting legally to earn passports for themselves and their children, and Hasna said that all of the proceeds from the book sales will go towards those legal costs.” The book’s description reads:

 “This non-fiction book recounts the compelling plight of four Uighurs from central Asia who fled the gruelling oppression of communist China only to be caught in the crossfire of the US led ‘War on Terror’.

“Their attempt to immigrate into Turkey derails as they are captured as a bounty offer in Afghanistan and turned into the US military for reward money by local tribesmen. Ultimately, this resulted in their false imprisonment within the notorious US detention centre in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

“Moreover, after seven years of being indefinite ‘detainees,’ and overcoming unimaginable obstacles while in captivity, their prayers begging for freedom were finally answered. Subsequently, they were released to the remote, mid-Atlantic subtropical island of Bermuda.

“And despite their new-found freedom in a paradise that American author, Mark Twain, once referred to as ‘superior to heaven’, they are stateless and stranded to this day, now remaining as ‘prisoners in paradise’.”

The book is now available for purchase through A digital eBook version of the book costs $9.99, while a printed paperback is available for $39.99 plus shipping.

It is so nice to see more people supporting us. And she’s only 16! The future is bright, people.





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