Uyghur Update: October 27th – 3rd November

Research degrees are such a drain on the soul…

 

The Uyghur Region

Imprisonment

Update on the re-education camps and prisons in the region:

Police are targeting anyone who expresses a critical opinion of the ruling Chinese Communist Party on social media, as well as those with overseas links, such as family who live or study abroad, sources said.

Many of those detained are being sent to re-education centers across the region, while some face criminal prosecution, they said.

“They have to detain 3,000 Kazakhs or Uyghurs per week,” the Kazakh source close to the Urumqi police department said.

…and they’re building more prisons:

A Kazakh source living in the north of Xinjiang said the recent waves of detentions has outstripped existing capacity, prompting the authorities to build more detention facilities, including those with cells just one meter high.

“[new construction] has already started happening in the jails near where I live,” the Kazakh source said. “I heard that there are two reasons for this: one is that the [existing jails] are packed with people, and the other is that they are making a distinction between political prisoners and ordinary criminals.”

“The ceilings are just one meter high, so a person can’t stand upright: they have to squat down.”

Here’s another article on mass detentions. They’ve also done away with those sham “trials” and are straight-up sending “political criminals” to jail without trial. They are now imprisoning Uyghurs who have gone on pension. Pensioners. At least 4 elders have died in the “re-education camps”. And this father was sentenced to 10 years in jail for telling his son not to drink alcohol.

A few weeks ago I talked about Abdurehim Heyt, a singer who was apparently detained. Here is an article talking more about why he was arrested. Spoiler alert: the reasons are stupid.

Update on Huseyin Celil, a Canadian citizen who was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment by China: his sentence has been reduced to 18 years after he took part in a re-education program. The article goes on to talk about China-Canada trade relations. Here is an article written on the issue by Canada’s newspaper The Globe and Mail which includes this amazing quote:

The Chinese delegation visiting Ottawa argued that these restrictions are justified in part because the Uyghurs are susceptible to radicalism and have abandoned traditional dress and customs. China is helping them rediscover their roots, Mr. Zuo and others explained.

“Traditionally, Ugyhurs have been an ethnic group that is very focused on dancing and singing. However, [as a result of] some extremism thoughts … very influential in the less educated population, during some of the celebrations, they have stopped dancing and singing because of the influence,” he said.

*screams in frustration*

Someone posted this WeChat screenshot… I did a rough translation and it’s just sad. Apparently it’s normal for people to be deleting or blocking over-seas relatives from their phones:

Look out for yourself little brother, you are courageous. I believe you will be able to endure this. Study hard, you must become someone beneficial to China. Come back to us with good results.

All your relatives are sick. All your male relatives are sick with an infectious disease and have been taken to hospital. We do not know which hospital they have been taken to yet.

The weather gets colder day by day, we are just about dying from the chill(?). Think of us from time to time, but not so much that it affects your studies. Keep your father in your thoughts more, my dear brother…

Enough, I will be deleting you [from WeChat]. If all is well, stay healthy until our next meeting, alright? We all love you and miss you a lot. Make the most of the opportunities you have. Do not, for a minute, become negligent.

Tell everyone you know to study well, remain attentive, and to come back as someone who can be useful to the Chinese Communist Party.

Environment

China wants to build a 1000 km underground tunnel from Tibet to East Turkestan for water… and apparently it will become like California lmao… I’m a medical scientist, not a geologist or engineer… but boy, no…

Here’s a video of Dr Enver Tohti talking about the victims of nuclear testings in Taiwan on LATW TV Taiwan.

 

International

Egypt

Update on the Egypt issue: of the 200 people arrested, many where deported to China or released, but about 20 are still unaccounted for. Here is the RFA article with some more details.

In a similar vein, Nathan Vanderklippe reports on how China has been affecting the lives of people in the Uyghur diaspora, starting with someone who escaped from Egypt to  Turkey, but also talking about those in non-Muslim countries such as Canada, USA, and Australia. Very interesting.

Op-Eds

An article talking about how China’s “War on Terror” may cause, rather than prevent, a future terror threat. Good overview of the crap we’re going through.

Interesting article on the “People’s War on Terror” and Uyghur migrants (from the country sides to Urumchi), with some great photography:

nicola_zolin_011+(1200x800)

According to the link: This is the first of a two-part series by Darren Byler, who with Nicola Zolin powerfully documents how the bodies of migrants are marked, just as their communities are erased, in the often unconsidered spaces of China’s “People’s War on Terror.” Intrigued about part two.

A TIME article on OBOR, from Khorgos, which talks about the new Silk Road in a broader geopolitical context and mentions the escalation of security in the Uyghur region.

An article that talks about Trump’s upcoming visit to China and two political prisoners we should be thinking about: Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchem Lama, and Gulmira Imin, “…the moderator of Salkin, a now defunct Uyghur-language culture and news website, to which she contributed poetry and short stories that included criticism of Chinese government policies. In July 2009, authorities accused her of organizing protests which, initially peaceful, turned violent.”

Academic Institutions

A depressing article about how the Chinese army is utilising Australian universities to study and create tools to better their army. 😦

Springer Nature has blocked papers in China due to government pressure. This is ridiculous – there was so much more outrage when Cambridge decided to block papers but I have barely heard anything about this? Nature and Scientific American are some of the biggest journals in science and now they’re blocking subjects like: “…Taiwan, the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution and the status of Tibet, which are considered sensitive by the Communist Party”. No doubt topics on Uyghurs are in there as well.

Rights Groups

An interview with William Nee, a China researcher at Amnesty International. There is a section where he talks about Uyghurs:

What one human rights issue are you most passionate about?

Among China specialists a lot of people know what is happening to Uygurs – people who live in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. But I don’t think a lot of people realise how bad it has become in the past year.

There is a new Communist Party secretary there who has massively increased the number of security personnel, placed so-called police stations around and put surveillance cameras everywhere. They have a DNA database of Uygurs and they have anti-extremism regulations that are policing this hardcore anti-Islam, anti-Uygur-identity policy. They have set up many arbitrary detention facilities called political study centres, or re-education and transformation centres, where, even if you have a friend who has been abroad, or you’ve studied religion or been found praying, you can be sent to these facilities without going through a court.

I travelled in the region many years ago and I knew some Uygurs when I was living in Beijing. My impression was that things weren’t great but overall they weren’t that bad, so to see how things have deteriorated over the last seven years, and particularly over the last year or two, has just been really heartbreaking. There is no one to give them an international voice so, to the extent possible, we try to highlight their issues and what is going on there.

 

There were demonstrations with the Tibetans in Italy (in Campagna and Rome) on the 20th-21st of October as reported by Omer Kanat…

Dolkun Isa talked on “…China and East Turkistan Issues with some important fugues like Mr.Norman Baker, former Under-Secretary for Home Affairs of UK and Mrs. Najima Thay Rhozali, former Secretary of State for Education of Morocco at the conference – CONVENTION OF THE NONVIOLENT RADICAL PARTY TRANSNATIONAL TRANSPARTY. 27th – 29th OCTOBER 2017.” This was also held in Rome. 

 

Outside of Politics

The Uighur Language School of South Australia performed in the annual Children’s Week Parade. I believe they have been going every year since the late 90s.

East Turkestan National Day is coming up, so there should be some events around the corner. I believe there will be a demonstration in Melbourne, VIC on the 10th November, and a picnic in Adelaide on the 12th.

Istanbul has a new Uyghur bookshop called Taklimakan Uyghur Kitabkhanisi! How cool.

A blog post about travelling – or attempting to travel – outside of/around Ghulja, which brings back so many memories of being around Uyghur people who won’t just move. I remember that feeling of frustration. I’m a lot more patient now. I miss Ghulja. The writer’s anecdotes were nice to read.

And finally I came across this weird abomination of an Uyghur dance (and paper cutting…?). The description reads: 

Sydney Future Star International Youth Arts festival is organized by Auburn Asian Welfare Centre奧本亞洲福利中心 and Australian Chinese Language School Association澳大利亞中文學校聯合會, with China 桂林市小桂花藝術團 and Sydney國際演藝學院.

…So no Uyghurs involved? This sort of thing happened at a Children’s Week Parade once (the annual event in Adelaide I talked about earlier). One of the Chinese schools put on a “Chinese” dance that had a Chinese version of an Uyghur song, and the performers wore Uyghur clothing. We were so mad? There’s literally an Uyghur school doing Uyghur dances at the same event? Shouldn’t the Chinese be doing Han dances? Wtf? This also reminds me of a time in high school where one of my classmates went to China on exchange (for his Mandarin class) and part of the short program involved learning Uyghur dancing… why…  “…Traditionally, Ugyhurs have been an ethnic group that is very focused on dancing and singing…” ugh. 

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