Uyghur Update: April

I thought I would be back much sooner but things got a little crazy. I’ve started a new job, I’ve attended 2 weddings and 2 large protests, my grandfather passed away, inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon, and I’ve generally been running around a lot organising small projects. So we’ll see how that goes. But I’ll try to continue these news updates.

These will hopefully be shorter now. At least a quarter the size of today’s.

 

In the Uyghur Region

Religion

Religious symbols such as the crescent moon and star or minarets are being removed from mosques: Pulse, Twitter (!), Twitter. Christians are also being persecuted: Forbes, Express. Control over religion has generally increased since Xi came into power: Freedom House. Religions must be “subordinate” to Communist Party: RFA. A video showing how classrooms are anti-religion: Twitter. Profiling against women who wear hijab: Twitter. Tight regulations on Hajj applications: Twitter, Business Insider. Religious or traditional funerals are being banned in favour of “burial management centres”: RFA

Re-education Camps

Re-education camps have only been getting worse, and reports of people being sent there or dying there have only increased over the last month. Here are a few harrowing reports from Foreign Policy, RFA, RFA (Ghulja focus), Yahoo (this one goes into a lot of detail!). There are so many detainees that schools are being converted to re-education camps: ChinaAid. The families of those who have been hurt in the re-education camps are being told to pay high fees for their medical care: WND (the article has some descriptions of the type of torture they are receiving). Here’s a Kazakh man’s recount of a re-education camp: Radio Free Europe. More on orphanages and concentration camps: Medium.

Those who “want to travel abroad” are detained: RFA. Those who show sympathy for those in the re-education camps are detained: RFA. Prominent poets: WUC and professors: WUC. A soccer player for going overseas (to play soccer): RFA, video. A young mother who never even went to protest: Twitter. Reports of famous show hosts and singers such as Abdulla Aburehim being detained have also been floating around. Personal accounts of a man whose parents being taken into these re-education camps: WordPress blog. A daughter speaks of her old and unwell mother’s arrest: video. An entire family detained because one of their family members live abroad: Twitter. Kazkah people are not safe either: Twitter Twitter. More families: Facebook.

These re-education camps are not new, although mass detentions probably started in 2016. By 2014 there had already been 1000s detained: Twitter/XJDaily

The students from Egypt are still missing: RFA

Security/Surveillance

Extensive report on domestic security spending: Jamestown

Total surveillance and facial recognition will be implemented to the whole of China: RFA. Surveillance apps have been installed in all phones: Motherboard (VICE), Buzzfeed (extensive). The internet censorship has gotten much worse: CNET

Grid systems/housing will be implemented to better monitor people: RFA

People who want to use the subway will now have to show their IDs: SCMP. This is just a continuation of older practices though…

Pictures of how Chinese men are moving into homes that need help now that the healthy or working men and women have been detained: Twitter

Chinese people who show support or sympathy for Uyghurs are also harassed: The Globe and Mail

An extensive report on how China is committing genocide against Uyghurs right now: Freedoms Herald

Summaries of how the security crackdown is continuing: The Diplomat, RFA (video). A disturbing propaganda video: Facebook.

 

Education

China is creating more Chinese language schools

Works by Kazakh, Turkish, and Kyrgyz writers have been confiscated: ChinaAid. Uyghur and Kazakh textbooks have been recalled: ChinaAid

Daily Life

Many images of “ghost towns” and deserted areas where once there were a lot of life: Twitter, Twitter, Twitter (video), Twitter, Facebook

A thread on one researcher’s experiences of the changes happening with regards to security and the skew in population: Twitter. A story of another researcher’s experience of getting evicted from Kashgar: Facebook.

Infrastructural and industrial government projects have been halted to stop the increase in debt that “XUAR” has accumulated: SCMP

 

 

Activism

Rebiya Kadeer will be going on hunger strike: ABC News (video) (video) (article)The Sydney Morning Herald

World-wide protests occurred on the 27th of April, the main one being held in Brussels, Belgium: UNPO, WUC, UNPOEuronews. Protests were also held in Australia, USA and Canada.

USA

Reporters from RFA spoke out about their families being arrested (article):

They also spoke with State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert. Here’s a video of her speaking on the issue. More from Acting Secretary Sullivan.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China respectively, urged U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to visit XUAR and prioritize the issue of mass surveillance and detention of the Uyghur ethnic minority population, including the detention of family members of Radio Free Asia employees: Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Washington Post, Straits Times.

Associated Press reports that US officials may start sanctioning Chinese officials involved in the security crackdowns/human rights abuses under the 2016 Global Magnitsky Act.

Protests in DC, with speeches from President of the Lantos Foundation, Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett (video). Video and article by the Lantos Foundation.

A public statement by the UHRP on organ harvesting

An extensive report on the Bingtuan by the UHRP — The Bingtuan: China’s Paramilitary Colonizing Force in East Turkestan.

Ms. Zubayra Shamseden, Chinese Outreach Coordinator at the Uyghur Human Rights Project, spoke on the Religious Freedom and Empowering Civil Society panel during the International Religious Freedom Day on January 16th, with the Office of International Religious Freedom (IRF) in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the U.S. Department of State: US Department of State Official Blog

A group of Uyghurs were removed from the ICNA Convention for talking about the Uyghur genocide.

Japan

WUC and UHRP attended conferences in Tokyo: RFA, UHRP

Pakistan

Pakistani men with Uyghur wives who have been detained may begin protesting: Asia Times

Europe

WUC President Dolkun Isa was prevented from attending the UN Indigenous Forum again despite being approved: WUC. He was allowed in after some international outcry: Twitter.

WUC now has a broadcasting component.

China continues to spread misinformation about Uyghur people in order to justify their crimes: WUC

Speaking on repressions worldwide at the journalism festival.

An interesting video by Brut about a French Uyghur woman and re-education camps.

Online

Petition against organ harvesting

Petition to locate the missing Uyghur people

Petition against the locking up of people in re-education camps

A call for information by the WUC. If you know someone in re-education, contact them.

 

Chinese pressure Uyghurs overseas

China has been imprisoning families of Uyghur living abroad: Wall Street Journal

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This article talks about Uyghurs being sent to China and placed in re-education, and the silencing of Uyghurs abroad: The Economist

A summary of the type of policing the Chinese government has been implementing in different countries around the world: The News Lens

Personally I’ve heard of people in Australia and Canada receiving suspicious calls from Chinese embassies urging them to contact the embassies.

 

Chinese pressure everyone overseas

Clive Hamilton’s article asking why Australia is turning a blind eye to Chinese interference politically, academically, and in communities: The Conversation

How China has been kidnapping/disappearing Chinese and Uyghur people over the years: Foreign Policy

How academics self-censor their work for fear they will no longer be able to go to China to do their research, or for fear of intimidation: SCMP

Side note: The EU seems to be pushing back against the Belt and Road Initiative…

 

Talks

Soundscapes of Uyghur Islam by Rachel Harris April 10, New Haven, CT

The Political Economy of Han Xinjiang: Organised Dependency and Lucrative Chaos by Tom Cliff 26 April, Sydney, Australia

China’s Police State in Xinjiang by The Hudson Institute May 4, Washington DC

When the Government Defines You: China and the Uyghurs by Forum on International Affairs May 10, Washington DC

 

Outside of Politics

The indiegogo campaign to publish The Land Drench In Tears by Soyungul Chanisheff is still ongoing – please support!

A World Uyghur Writers Union has been established. President: Tahir Hamut, VP: Mutellip Seydulla, Secretary: Abdushukur Muhemmed, Committee members: Abdushukur Muhemmed, Alimjan Inayet, Exmetjan Osman, Tahir Hamut, Mutellip Seydulla, Muqeddes Nur.

A feature on the London Uyghur Ensemble in a Turkish newspaper:

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Uyghur culture was displayed at the Festival des Civilisations in France.

There will be another event in Turkey commemorating various writers.

Uyghur clothes for sale in Turkey: Facebook

 

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