Uyghur Update: 2nd – 9th December

The conference went well but I am so exhausted from all that social interaction…


In the Uyghur Region


China is being called “the most impressive surveillance state in history“.

The ramped-up security this year has negatively affected Uyghur businesses, as reported by RFA.

In regards to the weekly flag raising ceremonies Uyghurs are required to attend: apparently a person will get a black dot their file if they do not attend one Chinese flag raising ceremony. 3 black dots = 1 red dot, and 2 red dots means you can be arrested.

China is continuing to recall the passports of Uyghurs, now in areas outside of the autonomous region.


Last week I said China had found 1.2 billion tonnes of high quality oil near Karamay. This week they are reporting to have found 520 million tonnes of crude oil reserves in the Jungghar basin. China will be selling 5 oil and gas blocks to domestic investors. Apparently they’ve stopped mining 69 mining projects for fears of harming the environment. There’s… a lot of contradictions… in Chinese media…



4th World Internet Conference

The 4th World Internet Conference was held in Zhejiang, China on December 4th. One fun fact that came out of the conference was that China was carefully monitoring the social media accounts of the Uyghur diaspora. Specifically, they “…have been tracking and analysing the Twitter accounts of what they call “East Turkistan Islamic” terrorists.” There are apparently 34 in Australia. Thirty four! Who?? I didn’t realise we had so many Uyghur social media activists in Australia. This map makes it look like they’re all in Adelaide. I mean, I’m probably one of them. I hope they enjoy the amount of kpop gifs I like. This article took a photo I posted on the ETAA website, how fun. Here are some more pictures and info to come out from the Internet Conference held in Beijing.

I’m sure everyone already knew China was watching “East Turkistan terrorists” but now they’re talking about it openly in academic conferences…

By the way, here’s an article on how China only seems to refer to Uyghurs and Tibetans as terrorists, compared to other ethnicities in China who are referred to as “criminals” rather than “terrorists” despite carrying out mail bombings or suicide bombings. But also, their definition of “terrorism” or “endangering state security” is quite loose – I am not saying I talk about carrying out terrorist activity on Twitter – I don’t – but my definition and China’s definition can be a little different, as outlined in the next news item:

Counter-espionage laws

These link to a brief outline on how new counter-espionage laws will extend the power of state security agents. Foreigners who may be likely to “…engage in activities that might endanger national security” can be denied entry to China, and those who are suspected of espionage can be prevented from leaving. Things that may harm national security are religion, cults, anything that challenges the socialist system, and anyone who “fabricates and distorts facts”, among the usual definitions of espionage and security threats. In this article they quote a Chinese Australian professor who had recently experienced some of this sort of security:

“In China in the last few years they have introduced their own very comprehensive security and anti-espionage laws and they have a heavily resourced security apparatus,” says Feng Chongyi, a professor at the University of Technology, Sydney. Mr Feng was questioned and prevented from leaving China for 10 days earlier this year on the grounds that he was “endangering state security”.

“In Australia, the government is introducing legislation to limit foreign infiltration and foreign interference,” he said. “We need to make it clear this is about defending basic human rights, democratic principles and institutions. In China, they use these laws to punish any dissenting voices.”

Mr Feng said he was lucky that his temporary detention in April attracted a lot of attention and he was released. However, he pointed to the case of Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che, who was last month sentenced to five years in prison on charges of subverting state power by promoting Western-style democracy in online messaging groups. He had been arrested after entering mainland China in March.

So basically if you have different religious, political or academic views to the government you could be arrested for subverting state power or harming national security.


Human Rights 

South-South Human Rights Forum

China hosted the South-South Human Rights Forum this year. Mhmm. Part of me believes they do want human rights for their citizens, but only those citizens who do not want to question the government – the rest can die for the safety of those few. It’s weirdly utilitarian, except the “majority” are those who hold more power rather than more numbers. Anyway, the European Union expressed that it is “deeply concerned” with China’s human rights records, and that they should stop arresting human rights activists.

Weimar Human Rights award

Last week I spoke about how Ilham Tohti won the 2017 Weimar Human Rights award. This is an interesting interview with Ulrich Delius from the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) about Tohti’s work and the significance of the award.

Human Rights Day 2017

For those interested in adding their voice to Human Rights Day 2017, UHRP has a call to action which you can follow here. Through it, you can voice your thoughts on the UN website and read reports on the sort of human rights abuses Uyghurs are facing.

UN Minority Forum (minority language rights)

WUC’s Peter Irwin spoke during the UN Minority Forum about the Uyghur language ban in Hotan prefecture. Meanwhile, someone wrote about how great the improvement in education has been. All in all, it’s complicated, and while these policies may be good for some, it is certainly detrimental to many others. Most importantly, there doesn’t seem to be any input from actual Uyghurs or other minorities about how education in our “autonomous” region should be mediated. Read more in WUC’s monthly newsletter.




This sort of summarises the situation of the Uyghur refugees in Thailand in context of Thailand’s history with China.


Apparently Trudeau brought up human rights issues and the imprisoned Canadians (which includes one Uyghur person) with the Chinese government, despite previous reports saying he wouldn’t be speaking about human rights.


For anyone in London, there is a protest on the 10th December to “call for the release of all Tibetan, Uyghur, Chinese, HongKongese and Taiwanese prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally.”


For anyone in Netherlands, there will be a demonstration on the 17th of December from 2-4 pm in Dam Square, Amsterdam.


Outside of Politics

East Turkestan

Scientists found 215 pterosaur eggs near the Gobi desert in ET. Flying dinosaurs!

Link to some images from an “ethnic unity” village.


The Uighur Language School of SA and the Tengritagh Xanim-Qizlar group in Adelaide held an “Ana Til” (mother tongue) event with a lot of adorable performances from the students; oh my, I wish I were there. Here’s the RFA report on the event.

Over in Sydney there was an Uyghur dance performance in an event for Social Inclusion Week.


Cornell University launched a project called One Book Welcome which aims to provide multilingual books to multilingual children. The article features Uyghur Cornell alumni Sophie Aierken who translated the featured book, “The Bus for Us” by Suzanne Bloom, into Uyghur. Nice!


This video was shared around over the past week although it was posted in 2015. In it, a Turkish singer (Sevval Kayhan) sings what seems to be a self-composed song about East Turkestan.


A new Uyghur restaurant in Adelaide opened up recently. So many Uyghur restaurants in Adelaide.

The Tarim food truck is back for those in Arlington, VA, and this article also link to an Uyghur restaurant in the DC area.

CNN wrote a report that talked about an Uyghur restaurant in Beijing run by the Xinjiang government? Idk, but the food pictures were mouth-watering.

And to end this update, here’s a random but informative photo of the Uyghur names of vegetables:



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