Uyghur Update: 13th-20th October

I’ve been sick and stuffy so my brain was also stuffed with phlegm and I haven’t been able to get work done. Why is life so busy? Who knows. Why does China continue to be the worst? Allahu a3lam. Let’s go! (This will have less of my thoughts and more of just linking to articles).

 

Uyghur Region

We start off with a really excellent article on the security state that China has created in East Turkestan. It’s an extensive Buzzfeed report, with a lot of fieldwork and interviews from both local and international Uyghurs, as well as academics. It’s also just nicely written, and that last sentence really packed a punch for me. Highly recommend.

Nathan VanderKlippe released an article on how the Karez systems (underground water channels) are drying up and disappearing. (I previously talked about how he was detained by Chinese police for a while). I believe both he and the author of the Buzzfeed article, Megha Rajagopalan, will be reporting more on Uyghur issues so I’m looking forward to that.

Here are images and videos of the sort of patriotic activities Uyghurs have to do these days.

The problem with re-education camps is that a lot of those taken in are men with families who depend on them. So a lot of women and children are left without a living wage. In order to make up for this loss of workers, they are now sending women and children to pick cotton on farms and do other hard labour jobs. Indentured servitude…?

RFA reports that imams who don’t teach what China wants are being sent to facilities and “brainwashed”. The images in the last few chapters of 1984 come to mind. Claire Hoffman reported it in the Daily Mail as usual… Anyway, 7 cadres have been jailed for praying and the cadre that outed them received a monetary reward for it…

Apparently China’s developed a laser gun and this article specifically states that it may be good to use in the Uyghur region… to counter terrorism… wow.  Speaking of security, China seems to be teaming up with private security services in the Uyghur region? Read the article for more details…

Of course, the reason why security was dramatically increased recently is because of the 19th Party Congress, which finally happened. There are a lot of articles talking about it so I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go into that here. It is interesting to note that the number of females and ethnic minorities present were a lot less than last time. Anyway, my main qualm is I doubt the security will go away even now that the event has ended. Although, at least maybe now they will be able to leave their homes casually. Also… were kids being made to watch that 3 hr speech? lmao. And there was this app you could download to clap for Xi’s speech?

 

International

WUC released a letter refuting the claims that news about Uyghurs coming out recently were “fake news”.

The UNPO Conference – Friends of Uyghurs “Promoting Culture & Supporting Human Rights for the Uyghur People” – happened. A live video was streamed here, and here are some photos: x x x. They also have a Friends of Uyghurs Facebook page now, if you want to follow their future projects:

Follow the new Friends of Uyghurs Facebook page to stay up to date on the progress of the Uyghur Friendship Group of the European Parliament. This group led by MEP’s Ilhan Kyuchyuk and Csaba Sógor and supported by 17 MEP’s will support the human rights and culture of the Uyghur peoples.

The 46th Annual Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies Conference was held at Drexel University. I discussed it in the last update but here’s some more news: UHRP.

It seems like the UN wants to call for an independent investigation into China’s imprisonment of human rights activists. Apparently this document has not been made public. I suppose it would be interesting to follow this story.

I found paper called “China’s De-Extermination of Uyghurs in Xinjiang“. Here’s the beginning of the introduction:

Despite numerous economic development campaigns, massive security operations, and intensive ideological education programs in the last 20 years, the Chinese government has failed to achieve the harmonious, multiethnic, and prosperous society that it desires for the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang). Instead, interethnic relations between the Chinese Uyghur ethnic minority and the dominant Han have deteriorated since the early 1990s. Given the failure
to achieve a harmonious and prosperous Xinjiang, it is important to question the suitability of the regional security policy being implemented by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

To provide the necessary background to the current sociopolitical situation in Xinjiang, this paper first describes how, between 1990 and 2010, the Chinese government gradually turned Uyghur national identity and Islamic practices into national security threats, i.e., extremized/securitized them. The securitization allowed the CPC to legitimately restrict many of the Uyghurs’ cultural and religious rights enshrined in Chapter II, Article 36 of the Constitution of China and protected by Chinese laws.

Seems interesting. It’s also got some pretty amazing pictures. It came out in 2016 but oh well.

The story about Chinese government influence on Australian universities seems to be going beyond sensational headlines and various academics. The head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Frances Adamson, warned Australian universities that it needed to be “resilient to foreign interference”.

 

Outside of Politics

Some nice photos were released by Patrick Wack

Found this travel blog on Urumchi and Kashgar which had some really nice pictures and descriptions.

I also found this blog post which was interesting to read because it presented a Chinese view of Tibetans and Uyghurs (and a few other minorities). It explains that both regions had been annexed to China recently and that since becoming a part of the PRC the standard of living had significantly improved, and were obviously much better off materially and more comfortable than before (and says Tibet used to be poor, feudalistic, and inaccessible, wow). It says that although most of the natives were happy to be a part of China, a small percentage (from each group) want their region to become independent, then mentions terrorist attacks for Uyghurs and self-immolations and violent protests for Tibet. It also says that Uyghurs are unhappy because our jobs are being taken by Han (that’s all? really?) while Tibetans are unhappy because of human rights abuses. They make it sound like China is just helping Tibetans and Uyghurs out of the generosity of their own hearts rather than for economic gain, and only says that China “denies” all the accusations that Uyghurs and Tibetans make. It doesn’t give any reasons why we would make such claims, and totally skips over the fact that the Panchem Lama was selected by China, and the original Panchem Lama was abducted and is still missing. It doesn’t mention why Uyghurs and Tibetans want independence but it also doesn’t mention why China has any right to govern these lands. So… it’s a mess tbh. But interesting to see that that’s the narrative told by Chinese people. The sad thing is I’m pretty sure this one was actually trying to see both sides of the argument. They probably think the new laws and the extra security is freeing and helping us poor, backwards Uyghurs and Tibetans. In a similar line, China’s news outlet published this article saying they should be wary of “pan-Turkism” because the surrounding Turkic states were writing about Turkic history without input from Russia or China. I guess to them, Central Asia isn’t qualified to write about Central Asia? They also say Uyghurs were descended from Uyghurs, not Turkic people… lol okay.

 

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