Uyghur Update: 17th – 25th November

In the Uyghur Region


They found a new graphite reserve in Qitai county…

Archaeologists have found more tombs near the Ili river valley, which apparently can push back the origins of the culture by a thousand years… I need more information…


Apparently the “…tuition, textbook costs and accommodation fees will be waived for a total of 857,200 students studying in high schools as well as secondary vocational schools” as of December. I believe free education is necessary but eh… I suppose Uyghurs will no longer be paying to go through the Chinese education system. Now that they have the access, hopefully some of them will come out with the tools to think for themselves, no matter what they are taught.

Just wow:


Raids and detentions

A couple thousand more people were locked up near Kashgar.

Thousands of homes in Tikes county were raided for Islamic items.

A quick overview of the situation

Last week I talked about the Interethnic Interfaith Conference in Japan. Here is UHRP’s release of Zubayra Shamseden’s speech for those interested. It talks a little bit about 7 points: patriotic re-education camps, spreading fear amongst Uyghur communities, suppression in the name of counter-terrorism, religious repression, violation of education rights, travel restrictions, and economic marginalisation.



Academic freedom

Foreign-funded universities in China will now have to “…install party units and grant decision-making powers to a party official”, in contrast to prior academic freedom agreements. I am actually more surprised that this wasn’t already a thing.

Here’s a nice look at China’s Red Army schools.

Human rights

This article talks about the worsening human rights conditions under Xi, focusing on a particular human rights lawyer’s story, but also briefly mentioning the reeducation centres Uyghurs are being sent to. There are a lot of Chinese human rights lawyers being sent to jail.

Security and technology

This article looks at China’s repression tactics, particularly the security measures set in place. Here is a HRW article on “Police Clouds”, or Chinese big data systems which target dissidents and violates privacy.

Skype is now unavailable in China.

Not Just Uyghurs

Christian motifs such as the cross or statues of Jesus are being taken down in Christian homes and being replaced with Party propaganda.

Of course, Tibet also still remains as an open-air prison.

This restaurant owner was detained for 15 days for hanging the Chinese flag up-side-down in his restaurant. The reasons were: “insulting the national flag”, “causing an adverse effect in society”, and to “reduce the adverse impact and save the dignity of the national flag.”



Uyghur migrants escape from Thailand immigration detention centre

The big news this weeks seems to be the escape of Uyghur migrants from a Thailand immigration detention centre. Around 20 Uyghurs broke out of the detention centre using blankets to climb down holes in the wall on Monday. They were part of the hundreds of Uyghurs who had been found in a human trafficking camp in Thailand in 2014, where they had refused to say they were Chinese citizens for fear of repatriation. Thailand sent around 170 to Turkey but deported over a 100 of them to China in 2015. The same report states that in 2016, the remaining asylum seekers were on hunger strike as they feared they would also be sent to China. Apparently there are still around 60 Uyghurs remaining in detention centres across Thailand. Of the 25 who escaped, 10 have been caught (numbers vary according to sources but the idea is less than half have been caught). China urges Thailand to bring all of them “to justice”, Uyghur rights groups do not want Thailand to send them to China, Thailand says they just want to continue verifying their nationality and will not immediately deport them (although it’s been 3 years…). It seems the escapees have moved into Malaysia. In general, the fate of those caught and those who have escaped are very much uncertain at the moment and I believe everyone will be keeping a very close eye on how this situation unfolds. I hope they are all safe…

Here are two op-eds from Bangkok and Malaysia taking the Uyghur side.


The US-China relations 2017 annual report is out for anyone who’s interested in it.


Update on the delay on publishing of the book Silent Invasion: How China Is Turning Australia into a Puppet State by Clive Hamilton. The article talks more about the contents of some of the chapters, and some of the context behind why the publishers believe they will be targeted. I believe they are referring to the current defamation cases ABC and Fairfax Media are going through with one of the guys they exposed in a report they published earlier this year (which I talked about in my very first Uyghur Update). I hadn’t realised theyd been sued for defamation lol.


So here’s a good protest idea – this under 20s Chinese soccer team threw a tantrum and didn’t play for 25 mins because of some Tibetan flags in the stands in a friendly in Germany. Obviously security didn’t do anything because it was peaceful and they have freedom of speech. So I guess next time China is playing in your city, take your biggest East Turkestan flags out yeah? Apparently they have now cancelled all games in Germany this year to avoid further protests. Amazing.


Belt and Road Initiative

Seems like Pakistan and Nepal have pulled out of a project concerning OBOR?

This looks like it’ll be an interesting event: “Muslims on the Belt and Road: New Silk Road Social Transformations in Inner Asia, Four Talks and a Film Clip Screening.” It’s being held in London but you can sign up to watch online:

This workshop facilitates an open dialogue on the local and trans-local ground effects of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in local Muslim communities in Xinjiang, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Tajikistan. It aims at bridging empirical and local research perspectives with a more holistic and broader understanding of socio-economic transformation, moral discourses and power dynamics between centres and peripheries. The event features four public talks with commentary and discussion and a sneak preview screening from the film project AAA Cargo followed by a discussion in the evening.


Outside of Politics

A Pakistani journalist wrote a little bit on the life of Uyghur people in Urumchi. It doesn’t really say much except that not all Uyghurs feel oppressed, no one really talks about politics, and Pakistani visitors are welcomed by security. I guess it is important to see that there are Uyghur people who are just living their lives. It’s nice to know that not everyone feels China’s policies are an excessive restriction of human rights. Perhaps right now, ignorance is bliss for those who live there. (I commented a little more about this news but it turned into a mini rant so here’s a link to a separate post.)

I found a list of tips for foreign travelers who want to visit ET. Enjoy!


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