This update comes a little late… my grandma passed away last week. Please pray for her. I am sure she is in a better place now, a place where she no longer has to worry about what is happening to our family and friends.
The last week has been interesting because of the referendums for the Kurdish people in Iraq (Kurdistan) and the Catalan people in Spain (Catalonia). I hope they get their independent states. It will be difficult but I support them. Apparently China does not support an independent Kurdish state but this article argues that it might be in their interest to support it (and mentions Uyghurs and Turkey). lol. Why is politics so complicated.
Inside the Uyghur Region
So I mentioned this a bit last update, but as the week progressed the news gained a lot of traction, especially as the Daily Mail reported on it: Qurans and prayer mats are to be handed into police stations, or else the owners would face punishments. There was one rather optimistic viral tweet (by Demba ba? Football player?) saying that as Muslims we don’t need the physical Quran or prayer mats, that we could recite the Quran by heart. I understand the sentiment and the fact that Islam will never be wiped out as a whole, but those individual Uyghurs out there have zero access to religious education and it’s only a matter of time before they no longer have the Quran in their hearts. And, no, you can’t download Quran apps, as other Twitter users pointed out (here’s another article on the Great Firewall of China, just looking at the security measures that are in place across the country.)
Apparently China has denied the news, as usual. I mean, they still deny Tienanmen; I doubt they will ever accept anything that shows them in a negative light. Anyway, the news was picked up by UHRP, The Independent, Metro, Yahoo, World Religion News (who uh… scream their news at you so take care), Indian Express, USCIRF, DOAM (who made a dramatic short film about it), Mvslim, and probably a lot of other sites. I did find one article that said it was “a fake news infowar attack cooked up by the US “deep state” through two of its anti-Chinese proxies” which I found incredibly hilarious. Muslims enjoy a very restricted life in China, mate.
Reports claim that households have to put up a picture of Xi Jinping now. I think the news came from RFA Chinese. Ugh. Apparently the person ordering this (that Chen guy who used to oversee Tibet), “…is said to have ordered Tibet households to prominently display portraits of past national leaders including Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao.” So I suppose it’s in line with what he has been doing. I am disgusted just thinking about it. Imagine we all had to put up a photo of Abbott or Trump in our houses. Oh god, disgusting. This tweet says that it’s a ruling for minority peoples in particular?
More on those re-education camps, which are reportedly holding “thousands” of people.
According to some local reports, there are now “green lanes” for Han Chinese travellers – in the story a guy trying to get to Hotan tried to drive through the shorter “green lane” but was stopped and told to go to the other lane because he was Uyghur. There, he had to put his ID card through a card reader and walk through a body scanner before moving on. Straight up racial discrimination.
Officials in Tumxuk has now installed body scanners to detect metals and bombs. More security before the Party Congress. Here’s an article on the social security measures being put in place due to the Communist Party Congress.
And here’s a video showing the number of Chinese flags put up on buildings in the region. Honestly, the first time I went to America I was shocked at how many American flags were flown everywhere, but this is a whole new level. Bloody hell. I mean look at this – I’m pretty sure I see less Australian flags on Australia Day. Actually, we have flags from all over the world (including East Turkestan), and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags being flown on that day.
There was a “warning” assembly in Pilal village. Not quite sure what they were warning the villagers about but?
UCA has reported on how the oppressive, anti-Islamic rulings for Uyghurs have extended to Kazakh and Kyrgyz locals as well.
Interestingly, it seems like even Han Chinese from the Uyghur Region get discriminated against – they are not allowed to stay in hotels in other provinces? Seems weird.
We’ve learned the name of one student who was detained after returning from Egypt. She has apparently been sentenced to 7 years in a secret trial. Amnesty has put out an Urgent Action. And you can download more info here. Her picture is making it around social media as well. A man that has also gone missing is still not found, and you can find more info on him here.
Malaysia has deported 29 Uyghur “militants” who were apparently a part of Daesh (ISIS). There is no other information, other than the fact that they’d been caught because they were using fake passports.
University World News (??) picked up on the whole Uyghur deportation thing as well.
Chinese National Day
October 1st was China’s National Day, and UHRP put out an article reminding people why it really wasn’t a cause for celebration. I believe there were protests in light of this as well, as you can see from these Facebook videos: x x x. In any case, it seems China was of a similar mind, because it has been reported that people in East Turkestan were made to work rather than have the holiday. Wow, equality. Apparently the holiday usually gave a week off of work or school, (“Golden week”) but everyone in Xinjiang were told to go to work/school in order to prepare for the Party Congress. Some quotes from this article:
Regional carrier Urumqi Air told passengers they could get a refund or reschedule flights if their holidays had been cancelled between October 1 and 8.
“According to the government of the [Xinjiang Uygur] autonomous region, all government offices and schools will not take a break during the National Day holidays … Urumqi Air is offering a full refund or to change tickets for these customers during the National Day holidays,” the airline said in a notice on Monday afternoon.
“To prepare for the party congress … staff at all levels of the Xinjiang administration and state institutions have been told to work through to the end of October, including weekends,” he said. “We weren’t sure if we would be allowed to go on leave. Then suddenly we were told we had to work on Monday.
“Everyone is complaining. One of my colleagues had already gone to Shihezi [about 130km from Urumqi] on Sunday and had to come back to work on Monday with no compensation for the travel costs,” he said.
Local government officials, academics and students told the South China Morning Post they had also been called back to work.
“This is the first time the whole National Day holiday has been cancelled,” a nurse from southern Xinjiang said.
Those working in the private sector were apparently not affected by the cancellation.
And I even found a tweet from Far West China who also concur that everyone is at work during the holidays.
So I’ve sort of been talking about China’s influence on Australian education etc. where I probably sound super biased and mention articles that I would usually hate because they’re so racist. I will admit that. But here’s another article looking at the issue of Chinese values in Australia.
A blog post was published about how the Trump Administration should care about human rights in China and it mentions some of the human rights abuses Uyghurs face.
These guys in Turkey did a thing for 68 years under Chinese Occupation? I don’t know Turkish so… not sure who they are…
So this is kinda interesting: activists from Hong Kong seem to have met up with World Uyghur Congress. I wonder what will come of that.
If you’re in Stockholm from October 13th-15th, WUC and UNPO (along with Uyghur Academy and NED) will be holding an Uyghur human rights and advocacy training workshop, so check it out:
If you’re in Brussels on the 19th of October, there will be an event at the European Parliament called “Friends of Uyghurs: Promoting Culture and Supporting Human Rights for the Uyghur People“. Check it out:
Outside of Politics
There was this interview that came out with a photographer who focuses on Tibetan and Uyghur women’s issues. An interesting quote about Uyghurs:
With the echoes of genocide, I moved onto China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, one of my favorite places in the world. I had intended to focus on Uyghur family dynamics among the working women that work in the office, school or among the crops with their husbands. I have found women choosing to work being unique compared to the neighboring countries of Central Asia. Upon my return this summer, what I was exposed to is women losing their husbands, sons, and friends to strictly enforced regulations, such as prohibited mosque visits for prayer or questionable material on their phones.
So in the last update I included a link to an article about Uyghurs being a top pick for modelling agencies in China because we look Asian/European. The news was picked up by Nextshark, funnily enough. I didn’t think the news would spread anywhere. I feel like most Westeners would be sad that the Uyghur models are proud to look European. Like… the way we’re buying into the weird, European standards of beauty thing. Anyway, my (Uyghur) friend was mostly annoyed because the guy in the article isn’t even one of the good looking ones lmao.
I found this random blog piece about a guy’s trip to the Uyghur Region and it was really weird but it mainly said that “Xinjiang” is huge, sparsely populated, LOTS of security, LOTS of energy production and natural resources, and LOTS of Chinese tourists with cameras… big camera and storage space market. Oh I think I get it now; he must have been noting things that people should invest in. Anyway, I already died when he said that Uyghur was pronounced “weega” so yeah *eye roll*.
My Uyghur Instagram page has reached 5000 followers! I’m probably not marketing it as well as I could be, but I just don’t have time to go around liking and tagging things. It’s been a steady growth though. Most of my followers are from Central Asia and as a result I can now read Cyrillic script lmao. There’s a 45:55 split between men and women so that’s pretty cool and even. But yeah hopefully it’ll grow more in the future.
This was an interesting article on Uyghur instrument makers and had a cool infographic on some of the different types of instruments we have: