Uyghur Update: 15th-22nd August

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Sorry if this seems a little rushed. I am swamped. Tell me if I missed anything major.


In the Uyghur Region

If anyone can offer a translation of this image:


Apparently this is a list of new restrictions in Hotan. From what I’ve gathered on Twitter: any sudden changes in people’s power or water usage to be immediately reported and investigated. “All citizens full surveillance” requirement means that all movements of all citizens are always registered. Uyghurs can only enter banks, supermarkets, hotels, bus stations after showing ID, and are subject to thorough searches (I’m pretty sure this was happening already). Every village is to hold a flag raising ceremony every Monday morning, along with patriotic education (this is definitely already happening).

News of the number of Chinese teachers, police, and civil servants that will be sent to East Turkestan was released… 30,000… God help us…

Oh… hooray… a 3 million RMB donation for the creation of yet another police station in Turpan.

So news came out that an Uyghur veterinarian was sentence for 8 years in jail because he removed a bullet from the leg of a protester, even though he had not been involved in the protests himself. The story is summarised neatly by RFA:

On July 28, 2014, Uyghur residents of Elishku township, in Kashgar’s Yarkand (Shache) county, protested the detention of a dozen Uyghur women for praying overnight at a local mosque and the subsequent indiscriminate use of force and extra-judicial killings by Chinese security forces in several townships.

Authorities fired on the protesters with live ammunition and at least 96 people were killed in the ensuing violence, according to Chinese state media, though Uyghur exile groups have said as many as 2,000 may have died. A crackdown by police in the county following the incident led to mass jailings of work-age Uyghur males.

Speaking to RFA’s Uyghur Service on the third anniversary of the violence, Yasinjan Helil, the party secretary of nearby Tomosteng township’s No. 9 village, suggested that he had maintained stability at the time as “only a veterinarian from my township was involved in the incident, while several hundred others were from neighboring townships.”

When pressed for more information about the jailed veterinarian, Helil confirmed that 65-year-old Haliq Mahmut, also of Tomosteng, had been sentenced to eight years in prison for removing a bullet from the leg of a wounded fellow Uyghur that asked him for assistance at his home on the night of the incident.

“Even the veterinarian was not directly or knowingly involved in the incident—it was an accidental case,” he said.

“The wounded suspect had come to his house at midnight after the violence and asked him to remove the bullet from his leg. The veterinarian did as requested.”

According to Helil, Mahmut and the suspect knew of one another, but “had no actual relationship.”

He hadn’t even been at the incident. The wounded man had come to his doorstep at midnight! I guess there is no such this as the Hippocratic Oath in China. Or being a decent human being.

We already knew that kitchen knives and such had to be stamped for ID purposes but here’s further proof that it extends to anything sharp, like sickles used for farming.

Here’s a little summary that was released recently of the “economic realities” behind the “civil strife” in East Turkestan.

China is still cracking down heavily on Kyrgyz and Kazakh people and those who are studying overseas. Their passports are being confiscated. And they can’t talk about a certain boxer? China wtf?


Chinese Censorship

This article came out analysing China’s surveillance methods and plans for Uyghurs and the whole of their own country, too. Dystopian, yes, Orweillan, yes, and the “social credit” thing reminds me a bit of that anime Psycho-Pass.

More commentary on the issue of Chinese censorship in Turkey.

Cambridge University Press caved into Chinese pressure to remove about 300 articles from their China Quarterly, which covered a range of topics deemed sensitive by Beijing. This, obviously, sparked outrage in the academic community. Apple VPN apps are one thing, but removing “sensitive” documents from an academic journal published by the publishing arm of Cambridge University, the world’s oldest publishing house? In response to the outrage, they reinstated the articles (and published a letter from the editor on their Twitter). Cambridge University also released a letter. Here is another article on the censorship request which includes some quotes from people and links to some interesting stuff, such as the list of the articles that had been taken down. I wonder if China will ban the journal altogether:

State-run tabloid the Global Times said in an editorial on Monday that the removal of the articles would have little impact because the journal’s readership was small, adding that leaving was an option if institutions do not like China’s rules.

“Western institutions have the freedom to choose. If they don’t like the Chinese way, they can stop engaging with us,” the paper, a nationalistic tabloid published by the Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said.

“If they think China’s internet market is so important that they can’t miss out, they need to respect Chinese law and adapt to the Chinese way.”

See, this is where I think it is the responsibility of every democratic country and organisation to stick to their ideals instead of give into “Chinese law”. Cambridge did good in advocating academic freedom. Now if everyone else would stop hypocritically supporting China to exploit their cheap labour and extensive markets…


Outside of the Region

The US Secretary of State Tillerson made some remarks on the 2016 International Religious Freedom Annual Report which mentioned Uyghurs and Tibetans and our lack of religious freedom. Here is the section of the report that focuses on China and Uyghurs. Obviously, China was pretty mad about it lmao. I know some people will say that it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but at least in this case the US’s problems are in the limelight, and people are actively working towards a country where racial and religious discrimination is discontinued. In China the discrimination is overtly implicated in their laws despite their claims otherwise, and they continue to deny that Uyghurs and Tibetans are marginalised in any way (while they literally kill us).

Here is an article questioning the protective status of the EU for Uyghurs as China gains more influence in the region. In a similar vein, UNPO released an article condemning Italy for detaining Dolkun Isa.

WUC released a letter condemning the Umbrella Movement leaders’ unfair sentencing.

An opinion piece about why China’s treatment of Uyghurs is bad for the rest of the world.

Also… how is this kid only 20 and being sentenced for being one of the leaders of the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong…? As a kid I would take it for granted that all these ‘adults’ would go off to fight in war or lead passionate rebellions… but now I look at them and they are just teenagers… It is inspirational. I can sort of see why all the protagonists in books about saving the world are teenagers or young adults.




Uyghur Update: August 8th-15th

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Trump and North Korea are threatening fire and fury while Turnbull pledges his allegiance to America in the instance that Kim actually fires his missiles. Meanwhile the Tiki stick company denounces the white supremacist marchers in Charlottesville harsher than Mr Fire and Fury as people literally die in clashes between NAZIS and people who actually remember WW2. In America. 2017. (Although, if that came as a surprise then you were not paying attention). And under all that smoke, China looks to the US with contempt and brags about their “social stability” as they continue to shine UV light on Uyghurs. Perhaps the world cannot see the smoke but we are burning in silence.


In the Uyghur Region

Hebibulla Tohti was sentenced to 10 years in jail for: teaching religion to Uyghur students in Egypt without permission from the Chinese authorities, attending a major religious conference in Saudi Arabia in 2015 without permission from the Chinese authorities, emphasizing the distinct achievements of the Uyghur culture in his dissertation paper, and failing to write or speak out positively about Chinese policies in the Uyghur region. He had been sponsored by China to study in Egypt and had returned last year when told to in order to register himself. He was detained immediately, released in January, then detained again in March. Apparently he was “double-faced”.

But China does not care if you are endorsed by themselves or not – just being Uyghur and in a position of influence seems to be bad. They have now banned books by Seypidin Azizi. He was “…the first chairman of Xinjiang from 1955-1978 and vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee from 1993-1998 before his death in 2003” — he supported the Communist Party. He worked for the Second East Turkestan Republic and then joined the CPC. Maybe they want to erase the fact that ETR existed… I’m not sure what his books talk about… in any case, the article says China probably wants to erase all history of Uyghurs. smh.

An article looking at the hiring practices of security and police emerged, saying 50% more people were hired in the past year than in the last decade. A total of 84,000 security-related positions were advertised since September 2016. So, yes, literal police state. Read the article for more figures.

And dear God, they are thinking of diverting water from Tibet to East Turkistan in order to “…help turn the vast deserts and arid lands into oasis and farmlands, alleviate population pressure in the east…” It looks like it’s still in the planning stages so… I guess we’ll see what will happen…

Also, some footage from the “Army Games” in Korla…


Outside the Region

The WUC held their 6th Congressional meeting…? Rabiya Qadir was elected as leader? Click the link for more info but it is in Uyghurche. I do not have formal education in Uyghurche and I wonder why RFA never reports internal matters in English. That being said, I need to learn Uyghurche better. Anyone willing to give me lessons?

(They also put out a press release concerned about the total ban on Uyghur language teaching in Hotan…)

I talked about how Dolkun Isa was detained in Italy recently. Three Italian politicians have now called on parliament to explain why this happened.

The East Turkestan Government-in-Exile also held a conference in Japan. I am not too sure about the details for this one either. It might have been about Hiroshima and the nuclear testing that China conducts in East Turkestan. Perhaps if I had more time I could ask someone for clarification and make this blog/update more legit but I literally write these summaries between experiments in my lab (I am scientist, not a journalist) and I have no extra help… so if anyone wants to contribute to the research behind this, it would be a pleasure to work with you!



A short article saying that the deported students seem to have disappeared. There hasn’t been much news on the status of Egyptian Uyghurs this week.

A slightly longer article covering China’s tactics in bringing back Uyghurs from overseas (Egypt as well as other countries) and some commentary on the international community’s silence on the issue.



More internet controls will probably be put in place as China investigates WeChat, Weibo and Baidu for failing to comply with cyber laws. Here’s a general report on the Chinese police state.

The Epoch Times released a video of China’s crackdown on human rights lawyers.

On OBOR: here is a little summary of a conference held on the matter in light of Balochistan (which will connect to Kashgar). I believe Dolkun Isa spoke at the event. Here’s another article on the Road’s development plans and local protests in China and Myanmar.

Soft Power

  1. a persuasive approach to international relations, typically involving the use of economic or cultural influence.

China exerting soft power over African countries… I can see how the world would try to rely on an Asian global superpower after being f’ed by Europe and USA for so long… but if they could only see that China is just as evil, if not more so…

A few articles this week seems to focusing on soft power. This one titled China’s ‘Magic Weapon’: The United Front Work Department talks about the United Front Work Department and how they influence minorities within the country, Taiwan, and overseas.



I came across this opinion article about Kashmir which uses Uyghurs as an example of failed Chinese strategy:

This is not a new idea. Other countries have tried this strategy. Most notably, the Chinese Communist Party (CPP) engineered migration of ethnic Hans into Xinjiang (and even Tibet) as a way of “pacifying” these restive regions.

The Chinese example is relevant because, like Kashmiris, Tibetans (5 million) and Uighurs (9 million) are small ethnic minorities. The mainstream Han comprise over 90 per cent of China’s population. To deal with a restive Xinjiang, the CCP engineered large-scale migration of ethnic Han into the region between 1950s-1970s. Han Chinese now comprise 58 percent of Xinjiang’s population. In 1949, Xinjiang’s Han population was only 6 percent.

Repressive policies accompanied the Han migration. The CCP regulated religious freedom, language, school curriculum and employment opportunities to the detriment of ethnic Uighurs. However, after almost seven decades, billions of dollars of investments, a demographic inversion, and its “Strike Hard” policy, Xinjiang remains restive. Over time, extremism has emerged as a threat in a region that was known for moderate Islamic practices. Uighurs remain alienated and an existential fear grips them.

Yeah, India… look at China… restrictive policies don’t work…


Outside of Politics

Sydney-based The Modest Bride is a blog about bridal fashion which offers styles that do not “…compromise on a sense of modernity, minimalism and ultimately modesty”,  according to the editor, Saltanat. They have recently started a series called Roots, the first of which is about the Modern Uyghur. As explained by the featured model, it uses “…the medium of bridal fashion to communicate culture and introduce Uyghur cultural motifs & a sense of identity to an audience who may never have heard of ‘Uyghur’ before.” Although it is important to expose the atrocities and oppression that Uyghurs face in their homeland, I think it is equally important to introduce the Uyghur people to the world, separate from their politics. Political pawns are never seen as human, people are. And in a world where our culture and language is continually appropriated, cut up and re-shaped to fit a Chinese narrative, it is essential that Uyghurs take back their heritage and express it ourselves. And girl, is it beautiful.

The Roots series attempts to “…capture the unique aesthetic beauty of diverse cultures and their expression on one’s wedding day. Not as an historical curiosity, but as a recognition of the beauty in holding on to cultural motifs and expressing them today, through the experience of fluid identities and blending of lived realities.” Here is a teaser photo:


Check out the website for more! Also check out twiicethestyle, a popular fashion account on Instagram run by two Uyghur sisters. I could never do this type of thing myself and I am so glad there are others who use different mediums to promote Uyghurs in such a positive light. Political tweets and blogs tend to be circulated in the same circles.


Speaking of different mediums, food has always been a popular one for minorities, and here is an extensive article about the Uyghur restaurants that have been popping up in the US – Uyghur Food: ‘A Combination of Everything’. It’s a colourful little article which includes video and a recipe for polo.


There is also music. And a name I did not expect to see in the headlines: Yulduz Osmanova. Apparently she will be performing in Dubai. I remember listening to her Uyghur and Uzbek songs when I was a kid. Great memories.

This tambur version of Despacito also went semi-viral on Facebook. I guess… I mean, Despacito is the first YouTube video to reach 3 billion views so it is a pretty popular song so like… I suppose… lol. Nah, it was pretty impressive.

And I recently came across this group called Sama in Beijing. I have yet to check out their music, but the description sounds great: The Uyghur flamenco passion/Xinjiang folk group combines traditional Arabic songs and lively Spanish rumba classics, with lyrics both in English and Uyghur. Yes indeed, Sama continue bringing the energetic sounds of Xinjiang to China’s capital. 

sama (1)

If anyone is in London, head on over to Sufis on the Silk Road: Nawa’i on September 20th. Click the link for info – looks cool! Rahima Mahmut is listed as a vocalist for the performance. If her name sounds familiar, it’s because I talked about her translation of Söyün’gül Janishif’s book “Koz Yeshida Nemlengen Zimin” or “Land Drowned in Tears” in a previous update. I presume there is only one Rahima Mahmut in London…


Meanwhile, 16-year-old Hasna Turner, a Bermudian schoolgirl, has published a book with the assistance of Luke Hansen, an American-based editor, called Uyghurs: Prisoners in Paradise. It is about the Uyghurs who are living in Bermuda after being moved from Guantanamo Bay. “The group has since been fighting legally to earn passports for themselves and their children, and Hasna said that all of the proceeds from the book sales will go towards those legal costs.” The book’s description reads:

 “This non-fiction book recounts the compelling plight of four Uighurs from central Asia who fled the gruelling oppression of communist China only to be caught in the crossfire of the US led ‘War on Terror’.

“Their attempt to immigrate into Turkey derails as they are captured as a bounty offer in Afghanistan and turned into the US military for reward money by local tribesmen. Ultimately, this resulted in their false imprisonment within the notorious US detention centre in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

“Moreover, after seven years of being indefinite ‘detainees,’ and overcoming unimaginable obstacles while in captivity, their prayers begging for freedom were finally answered. Subsequently, they were released to the remote, mid-Atlantic subtropical island of Bermuda.

“And despite their new-found freedom in a paradise that American author, Mark Twain, once referred to as ‘superior to heaven’, they are stateless and stranded to this day, now remaining as ‘prisoners in paradise’.”

The book is now available for purchase through A digital eBook version of the book costs $9.99, while a printed paperback is available for $39.99 plus shipping.

It is so nice to see more people supporting us. And she’s only 16! The future is bright, people.




Uyghur Update: August 1st-8th

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I’ve been quite busy lately but so has China, unfortunately, so here’s what I’ve gathered in the past week.

In the Uyghur Region

The family planning policies have changed again. Now all urban couples are only allowed 2 kids and rural couples 3. Apparently this is to promote equality amongst ethnicities. The one-child policy was loosened recently for the Han (they could have 2 children). There was apparently a more lenient policy for minorities before (but tell that to the thousands of women who were forced to hide their babies or made to abort them). But this new family planning policy officially includes all minorities in the region. China honestly disgusts me.

The ban on teaching Uyghurche in schools has been picked up by VOA and The Independent (points out that these laws are unconstitutional in China). I said last week that the ban seemed like it was only for the Hotan region, but it has now spread to Ili and I have no doubt that it will spread everywhere else soon. It just occurred to me that this is probably the reason why China reported earlier that it was sending in 10,000 Han teachers to Tibet and East Turkestan. Apparently this policy was meant to be put into effect in the previous academic year.

I previously spoke of flags and banners being put up in mosques, but here is the official report from RFA, with quotes from people in the region, such as:

Under the directive, which has been implemented since June, caretakers of mosques in the prefecture are required to fly the national flag of China atop the buildings, sources said.

They have also been ordered to remove inscriptions of Islam’s holiest verse, “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God,” from mosque walls and replace them with large red banners that read “Love the [Communist] Party, Love the Country” in yellow writing.

On Monday mornings, instead of a muezzin calling Muslims to prayer at the prefecture’s mosques, flag-raising ceremonies are now held, followed by the singing of the Chinese national anthem and a patriotic song entitled, “Without the Communist Party, There is No New China.”

The mosque’s imam or a government official then explains the meaning of the ceremony and reminds religious followers that the flag is a symbol of the sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China, and urges them to love the party and nation, defend the “unity of the motherland,” and protect social stability.

So apparently the number of Uyghurs going to mosques have decreased now. I guess that makes sense. Sad.

It seems like some Chinese official in Hotan was sacked and will be put on trial for corruption and for failing to “fight extremism”. I don’t give a damn what the Party does to its own, but I worry that they will put someone worse in his place. Sigh.

Uyghurs in Egypt

Amnesty released another document stating that more Uyghurs have been returned from Egypt. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom also released a statement condemning the deportation of Uyghurs in Egypt.

I read this really interesting and in-depth article looking at the history of Islamic scholarship in Al-Azhar University, Hui Muslims, and the current arrest of Uyghur students. It was neatly written so check it out.

Here is an article looking at the arrests from the perspective of an Uyghur student who was detained for a bit and then let go. It really summarises what has been happening so far and what the situation is like for them at the moment, so please read.

As of writing this, the GoFundMe campaign started a month ago has raised over $1400. I believe one of the organisers has gone to Turkey and is distributing it amongst the Uyghur students who managed to escape.

Also I wrote an article, too.


Xi Jinping is going hard at it again in some speech he did saying that China will be holding strong to its “socialism with Chinese characteristics” roots and will “…crackdown on media and civil society to silence dissenting voices” as he promotes “the ‘Chinese dream’ of a domestically unified and internationally powerful nation.” There is more in the article about some of the specific things he says, and apparently he directly denounced Taiwan and said no splittism would be tolerated by anyone. Here are some more quotes from his speech from this article:

“We do not allow any individual, any organisation, any political party, at any time or by any means, to split any single piece of the Chinese territory,” Xi said to rapturous applause.

“No one could expect us to swallow consequences that damage our sovereignty, security and developmental interests,” he said.

The article also mentions:

Xi also asked the military to focus on preparations for war, and urged its leaders to improve capabilities in modern warfare and combat readiness. The military should be ready to win a war whenever needed, he said.

As commander-in-chief of China’s military, Xi said that with the unprecedented changes happening around the world, China’s armed forces are the bottom line guarantee for defending peace and security.


There’s also new rules for all Party Cadres! No more visiting “illegal websites” or disclosing party or state secrets online. They now require permission to sign up to social media accounts. They can’t share any info that damages the image of the Party and its leadership. Apparently this crackdown on Party members is happening because of the “19th Party Congress, a meeting of top leaders that will mark the halfway point for President Xi Jinping’s presumed term in office” so he has to assert his power or something stupid like that. Apparently there are also pre-game drinks called the Beidaihe before the actual Congress and this article goes into the fun details.


In a move that shocked me and a lot of other Uyghurs, Turkey has decided to pal up with China and promised to eliminate all anti-China reports in its media.

“We take China’s security as our security. We absolutely will not allow in Turkey any activities targeting or opposing China. Additionally, we will take measures to eliminate any media reports targeting China,” –Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

This article talks more about what this means for Uyghurs in Turkey – no more headlines, no more news, even less people knowing about the Uyghur situation. Does this also mean no more protests, or…?

Anything that makes it seem like China is oppressing Uyghurs will not be reported. Like what the actual fuck, Turkey? Turkey has been supporting Uyghurs for a long time and to sell us out like that for this OBOR shit is such a stab in the back. I get it when Thailand and other small, non-Muslim countries next to China deport Uyghurs, but when this thing comes from Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Egypt, and Turkey, it’s just frustrating. “China’s security is our security” — get outta here, seriously.

Anyway, China and Turkey will be “working together” to root out Uyghur extremism or some BS, although I hope Turkey is just saying this to benefit their economy but will still continue to help Uyghur refugees. Maybe partnering with China will be a good thing in the long run because then they’ll have more influence in promoting Uyghur rights in the region. I really hope that is the case.

In the West

So in my first Uyghur Update post, I talked about a documentary filmed in Australia about Chinese spies. In a similar vein, here is an article talking about Chinese self-censorship in Australian classrooms. It talks about the author’s experience teaching in Beijing and how students with similar mindsets were coming into Australian universities. I thought this quote was interesting:

When Chinese students self-censor or monitor and report on their peers, it is not necessarily because the Chinese state is bearing down on them. Rather, many Chinese students believe that speaking out against the officially approved view, on any topic, is inappropriate. The anthropologist Erika Evasdottir describes this as “self-directed control.” Monitoring and reporting on peers who diverge from the party line is seen as the right thing to do.

I think this means that although the students or their families may face consequences if their views are too out-of-line, this is not the reason why many of these students do what they do. They simply believe it is the right thing to do. It is internalised. That’s the scary thing about being brainwashed for generations. Similar to women with internalised misogyny, these ideas are stubbornly, inexplicably part of their worldview, and it takes a lot of effort to change their minds. …I do feel a little weird writing this as I sit amongst Chinese international students in this Australian university lol. I wonder if any of them have glanced over my shoulder and read what I’ve been writing. That would be interesting lol.

Apple defended itself from criticism over deleting the VPN apps in its China stores by saying they had to abide by the Chinese government. I mean, it’s all business for them so I doubted they would stop selling in China because their ethics didn’t align. If you had a billion-dollar business and was given the choice to loosen your ethics or lose the market of an entire country, would you go with ethics or money? Personally I would rather be banned from China but not many people think that way. I hate that.

I haven’t talked much about OBOR recently because it’s just this huge and constant Thing that’s causing us a lot of trouble, but this… er… article came out saying it’s… it’s BRI… not OBOR… apparently the Belt and Road Initiative is the official name… not One Belt One Road… alright… whatever mate…


Outside of Politics

Photographer Kevin Frayer released more photos with some interesting captions – they’re really nice so check it out.

Two Chinese tourists were arrested in Germany for doing the Nazi salute which 1. why is this international news?? but 2. was hilarious.

Also, if you didn’t know already, you can read Nurmuhemmet Yasin’s Wild Pigeon in English on the iBooks app for Apple. Somewhat ironic, yes, but it’s a free book called “Caged” so check it out. There’s also a short prose piece on love which is interesting, and a note from the translator.

I wrote for another blog.

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I wrote this little piece comparing China’s hold on Uyghurs to Mother Gothel’s hold on Rapunzel in Disney’s Tangled and it was published today, a month later, on UHRP’s blog. A lot has happened since then so it is a little bit out of date already, but I thought it would be neat to throw in a Disney comparison to the mix of Uyghur news — to humanise us more in the Western world. Is it ironic that comparing us to cartoons is humanising? I don’t know. Here’s the article though: China’s Rapunzel. Enjoy.

Short Movies

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I have come across some really random videos while looking for all the links on this blog, so here are some that don’t quite fit a criteria but are interesting nonetheless. I have included the organisations or schools that have funded each project to give an idea of the sort of information inside it (e.g. Chinese propaganda), so keep that in mind while watching. Enjoy.

University of the Arts London, London College of Communication
An Uyghur Odyssey (2009) A simple tale – we pick up three Uyghur musicians on their way to play a 24 hour long song. 

The Uyghurs (2013) Stef Hoffer: [this video] gives an impression of the traditions and remaining culture I encountered while traveling through the region. There are images of Kashgar, Hotan and smaller villages in the area.

Xinjiang Art Institute with the Committee Propaganda Department of Chinese Communist Party, Yecheng County
The Edge of the Bazaar (2015) This short Uyghur language film (English and Chinese subtitles) by student filmmakers Dilmurat Tohti and Abdukadirjan Upur follows the lives of three craftsmen (a mat-maker, spoon-maker, and salt seller) who live at the margins of a small town in the south of Kashgar prefecture called Qaghaliq.

Rahime (2015) a short film by Mukaddas Mijit. “In this particular time of human history, where cultural heritages, morality and brotherhood have been humiliated; a grandmother from a remote place sends a message of peace, respect and generosity.”

University of Hawaii: National Resource Centre for East Asia, National Foreign Language Resource Centre. Funded by the US Department of Education, Confucius Institute, and the PRC Ministry of Education
Xinjiang, Kashgar – Uyghur Muslim China ئۇيغۇر‎ an interview with a local on various Uyghur and Muslim customs


Send me suggestions for more if you know of any.

Tahir Hamut

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From the description on the website:

Tahir Hamut was born in 1969 in a small town near Kashgar, in the southwest of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. He published his first poem in 1986, and has since been recognized as one of the foremost modernist poets writing in Uyghur. His poetry has appeared in translation in Crazy HorseBerkeley Poetry Review, and Off the Coast. Since the late ‘90s he has worked as a film director, and has founded his own production company Izgil, which specializes in documentaries, advertisements and music videos. He lives in Ürümchi, Xinjiang’s capital with his wife and two daughters.

I found more translations of Uyghur modernist poetry, this time translated by Darren Byler and Dilmurat Mutellip (bios in link). Again, fascinating to read and I wish there were more.


A city.
Inside the dead ice
its significance removed
by a cold wind that remains from long ago.
Soaked to the bone
a reflection of stars on the water;
I saw sobbing in broad daylight
where steam seeped out from underground.

A city—
A repeated, chaotic story,
but, I am removed from it.
on a sunny day long years ago,
when a frail girl disappeared from this city,
fearing love.
She didn’t want to understand
the Uyghur words “I love you!”

A city,
as exhausted as I am;
A city,
which abandoned the spring and autumn;
A city,
Fading away in the fog.
March 2007


.بىر شەھەر
ئۆلۈك مۇزلار ئىچىدە
ئېلىپ كەتكەن قەدرىنى ئۇنىڭ
.ئۇزاق زامانلاردىن قالغان سوغ شامال
چىلىق-چىلىق ھۆل بولۇپ كەتكەن
يۇلتۇزلارنىڭ سۇدىكى ئەكسى؛
يەر تېگىدىن ھور چىققان يەردە
.ئېسەدەشنى كۆردۈم كۈندۈزى

–بىر شەھەر
،تەكرار سۆزلەنگەن قالايمىقان بىر ھېكايە
.لېكىن، بۇ ھېكايىنىڭ ئىچىدە مەن يوق
،ئۇزۇن يىل بۇرۇنقى ئاپتاپلىق كۈنى
مۇھەببەتتىن قورققان پېتى
،بۇ شەھەردىن يوقاپ كەتكەن كېسەلمەن بىر قىز
چۈشىنەلگىلى زادى ئۇنىماي
.سىزنى سۆيىمەن!” دېگەن ئۇيغۇرچە گەپنى”

،بىر شەھەر
ماڭا ئوخشاش ھارغىنلىق يەتكەن؛
،بىر شەھەر
باھار ۋە كۈزنى تەرك ئەتكەن؛
،بىر شەھەر
.تۇمان ئىچىدە يىراقلاپ كەتكەن

يىل مارت

City Night

From the airport to the train station and bus station
Myriad people emerge
Crazily they throw themselves at the city
Seeping with anger into the ground like dirty water, splattered
But I enter its night, walking

Glimmering in front of my eyes
Stubborn streets, angry cars, humpbacked buildings, glaring lamps, immoral
Roads, lonely trash, beautiful dungeons, naked concrete
I have come again, as I often come
Yet it is as if I have never been here before
The prowess of the city, the gift of the night
To become a black cat, a white goat
Crossing in front of me on and on
This is all I can do:
The mountain and I hold the two hands of the city
And pull it in opposite directions
I am not interested in anything about this city
I don’t even think of it as a proper place to die
It is just that its night is crazy about me
Out of pity I stroke its head1 and look into its shifty eyes
Grasp its hand and pull it down
Wearing its fog, I lie with it

In this city I am the enemy that fights my self
February 2, 2015

شەھەر كېچىسى

ئايرپوتتىن، ۋوگزالدىن، پاساژىر بېكىتىدىن
چىققان سانسىز ئادەم
ئەسەبىيلەرچە ئۆزىنى ئاتار بۇ شەھەرگە
سىڭىپ كېتەر غەزەپ بىلەن يەرگە چېچىلغان پاسكىنا سۇدەك
لېكىن مەن پىيادە كىرىمەن ئۇنىڭ كېچىسىگە

چاقناپ ئۆتەر كۆز ئالدىمدىن
جاھىل كوچىلار، سەپرا ئاپتوموبىللار، مۈكچەيگەن بىنالار، چەكچەيگەن چىراقلار، قىلىقسىز
يوللار، غېرىب ئەخلەتلەر، چىرايلىق زىندانلار، يالىڭاچ بىتونلار
مەن يەنە كەلدىم، دائىم كېلىمەن
خۇددى ھېچقاچان كېتىپ باقمىغاندەك
بۇ شەھەرنىڭ ئىقتىدارى ۋە بۇ كېچىنىڭ ماھارىتى
بىر قارا مۈشۈك ۋە بىر ئاق ئۆچكە بولۇپ
كېسىپ ئۆتىدۇ ئالدىمدىن ھەر قېتىم
:مېنىڭ قولۇمدىن كېلىدىغىنى شۇ
تاغ بىلەن ئىككىمىز بۇ شەھەرنىڭ ئىككى قولىدىن تۇتۇپ
ئىككى تەرەپكە سوزىمىز
مەن بۇ شەھەرنىڭ ھېچنېمىسىگە قىزىقمايمەن
ئۇنى ھەتتا ئۆلۈشكە مۇۋاپىق جاي دەپمۇ قارىمايمەن
ماڭا چاپلاشقىنى ئۇنىڭ كېچىسى
ئۇنىڭ بېشىنى سىلاپ قويىمەن، ئوغرى كۆزىگە قاراپ قويىمەن
قولىنى تۇتۇپ پەسكە تارتىمەن
تۇماننى يېپىنىپ، ئۇنىڭ بىلەن بىللە ياتىمەن

بۇ شەھەردە مەن بىر دۈشمەن ئۆزۈمگە قارشى

يىل 2-فېۋرال

My Habitat

This place – slightly to the east of the city
A name remembered by many
Lulling them to sleep

I swear
Fish couldn’t dream that a place like this exists
And the nest of the horned wind is also here

I don’t threaten anything here
Yet if my name was not properly connected to my father’s
I would be worth less than a stone

This neighborhood with twenty-six buildings, is where my house is lofted
I, my wife, and my two girls
Floating like four balloons

The meditating walls will never hear
The way the neighbor girl mimics a dog’s barking

Like indecent viewers, countless windows
Gaze steadily at the naked mysteries within

A door with three locks which I have to open everyday
A pair of red eyes which I have to close everyday
A four-room house where I put on and take off my skin everyday

This is my habitat
I am a captive here
It is as clear as my five fingers who has captured me
April 21, 2015

مېنىڭ ماكانىم

بۇ – شەھەرنىڭ قىيپاش شەرقىدىكى
ئىسمى نۇرغۇن ئادەملەرنىڭ ئېسىگە يېپىشقان
ئۇيقۇ كەلتۈرىدىغان بىر جاي

ئىمانىم كامىلكى
دۇنيادا بۇنداق يەرنىڭ بارلىقىنى بېلىقلار بىلمەيدۇ
بۇ يەر ھەم مۈڭگۈزلۈك شامالنىڭ ئۇۋىسى

مەن بۇ يەردە ھېچقانداق نەرسىگە تەھدىت سالمايمەن
مېنىڭ ئىسمىمغا دادامنىڭ ئىسمى قېتىلمىسا
بىر تال تاشچىلىكمۇ ئەتىۋارىم بولمايدۇ

بۇ – يىگىرمە ئالتە بىنا بار قورۇ، مېنىڭ ئۆيۈم مۇئەللەقتە
مەن، ئايالىم ۋە ئىككى قىزىم
تۆت تال شاردەك لەيلەپ تۇرىمىز

بۇ يەردە
قوشنا قىزنىڭ ئىتنىڭ قاۋىشىنى دورىغان ئاۋازىنى
خىيالغا چۆمگەن تاملار ھەرگىز ئاڭلىمايدۇ

بۇ يەردە
رەزىل تاماشاچىلاردەك سانسىز دەرىزىلەر
يالىڭاچلانغان سىرلار ئىچىدە تەمكىن قاراپ تۇرىدۇ

مەن كۈندە ئېچىشقا مەجبۇر ئۈچ قۇلۇپلۇق ئىشىك
مەن كۈندە يۇمۇشقا مەجبۇر بىر جۈپ قىزىل كۆز
مەن كۈندە تېرەمنى سېلىپ كېيىدىغان تۆت ئېغىز ئۆي

بۇ يەر مېنىڭ ماكانىم
مەن بۇ يەرگە بەند قىلىنغۇچى
مېنى كىمنىڭ بەند قىلغانلىقى ماڭا بەش قولدەك ئايان

يىل 21-ئاپرىل


1. In Uyghur this refers to the actions of friends and relatives toward someone in pain. 

Uyghur Update: 26th July-1st August

Posted on Updated on

Today my supervisor tried to convince me again to upgrade to a PhD and one of his new arguments was that I could go back to “Uyghur land” and become a professor there. I laughed and said I doubted they’d let me into the country. Even if they did, they would probably want me to teach in Chinese rather than Uyghur… and I probably would not be able to write this blog haha. Honestly at this point I only laugh because the alternative would be to get depressed and I can’t be about that rn.

In the Uyghur Region

Uyghurche has been banned in schools now:

In late June, the Education Department in Xinjiang’s Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture issued a five-point directive outlawing the use of Uyghur at schools in favor of Mandarin Chinese “in order to strengthen elementary and middle/high school bilingual education.”

Under the directive—a copy of which was obtained by RFA’s Uyghur Service—schools must “insist on fully popularizing the national common language and writing system according to law, and add the education of ethnic language under the bilingual education basic principle.”

Beginning in the fall semester this year, Mandarin Chinese “must be resolutely and fully implemented” for the three years of preschool, and “promoted” from the first years of elementary and middle school “in order to realize the full coverage of the common language and writing system education.”

The directive instructs schools to “resolutely correct the flawed method of providing Uyghur language training to Chinese language teachers” and “prohibit the use of Uyghur language, writing, signs and pictures in the educational system and on campuses.”

Additionally, the order bans the use of Uyghur language in “collective activities, public activities and management work of the education system.”

Any school or individual that fails to enforce the new policy, that “plays politics, pretends to implement, or acts one way and does another,” will be designated “two-faced” and “severely punished,” it said, using a term regularly applied by the government to Uyghurs who do not willingly follow such directives.

Basically it’s saying that Chinese language teachers should not learn Uyghurche, and Uyghur teachers should only speak Chinese so that the students can learn the language better. To improve the (er) “bilingual” education.

“All teachings will be conducted in the Chinese, not Uyghur, language in the upcoming semester,” [an Uyghur official at the Chira county’s Education Bureau] said.

“Even the Uyghur textbooks will be replaced with Chinese textbooks from inland China. All teachers and students are required to speak the Chinese language only in the school and education system,” he added.

The Uyghur official said that while Hotan prefecture had repeatedly tried to implement a bilingual education policy over the past 10 years, “the national language hasn’t become popularized.”

“As a result, the Prefectural Education Department issued this directive to deal with this situation,” he said.

A Han Chinese official from the Education Bureau for the seat of Hotan prefecture told RFA that the directive is being implemented throughout the prefecture to “encourage” the learning of the national language.

“Education authorities decided to ban the use of the Uyghur language in order to create a favorable environment for minorities to study the national language,” he said.

“This is, in fact, good for Uyghurs to study the national language. Uyghur students will not study Mandarin if they learn from Uyghur language materials in the school system. That is why they should immerse themselves daily in Chinese language announcements, propaganda, signs and other materials.”

“All meetings and collective activities” in the school system will be held in Mandarin in the future, the official added.

It sounds like it’s only happening in Hotan at the moment but I doubt it will take long to reach the whole of the region. It is no longer a secret that China wants to ban Uyghurche or control Uyghur people in ways that abuse our human rights. And still the world turns a blind eye…

Check out these photos:

For those of you who do not know Uyghur or Chinese, these are signs of the new words one must say while doing the athaan, takbeer, du’aa and tasbeeh. Basically one praises Xi Jinping and the country of China instead of Allah. I actually posted about this in May on Instagram and it looks like they have really put it into effect. Here are the translations from the notices from then (they’ve mostly stayed the same, except for the tasbeeh):

Hotan wilayitining namazgha alaqidar 7 noqtini birlikke kelturush pilani:

1. Hotan wilayiti boyiche namazda oqulidighan Quran surah-ayetlerni birlikke kelturush: 1-parining 1-surisi bilen 30-paridin 9 surah (94-, 95-, 97-, 99-, 103-, 106-, 107-, 110-, 113-surah) tallinip, jemii 10 surah namazlarda oqulidu.

Surahs permitted: Surah Al-Fatiha and 9 surahs from the 30th juz (Surah al-Inshirah, al-Tin, al-Qadr, az-Zalzalah, al-‘Asr, al-Quraish, al-Ma’un, an-Nasr, al-Falaq) for a total of 10 surahs.

2. Hotan wilayiti boyiche juma namizida qilidighan tebligh mezmuni birlikke kelturush: 2017-yili juma namizida tebligh qilidighan mezmunlar alliburun her qayisi sheher, nahiyelerge tarqitildi. Nowette putkul wilayet juma oquldighan meschitlerde bir tutash tarqitilghan pilan we mezmun boyiche tebligh we tepsir qilinidu

The tebligh (sermons) given at Friday prayers have been pre-written and distributed to all areas of Hotan prefecture (so all mosques and imams must follow the rules hereafter).

3. Hotan wilayiti boyiche juma namizida oqulidighan khutbini birlikke kelturush: 2017-yili juma namizida oqulidighan besh parche Arabche khutbe mezmuni alliburun her qayisi sheher, nahiyelerge tarqitishqa teyyar boldi. Bundin keyin putkul wilayet jume oqulidighan mesjidlerde bir tutash tarqitilghan besh parche Arabche khutbah mezmunigha asasen khutbah oqulidu. (Dini zatlar peqet Arabchila oquydu)

The context of the sermons given at each Friday prayer (5 subjects) is pre-written and distributed to all areas of Hotan prefecture. Imams and clerks must deliver the Khutbah accordingly and in Arabic only.

4. Hotan wilayiti boyiche namazlarda oqulidighan athaan, tekbir, tesbeeh, we du’aalarni birlikke kelturush: Azaan: “Biz hemmimiz wetenning perzentiliri (x2), weten ulugh (x2), namaz waqti keldi, beht tileshke tiz kilinglar, wetenning inaq muqimliqni tilenglar, wetenning gullep yashinishni tilenglar”

The athaan will go as follows: “We are all children of our great country (x2), China is the greatest (x2), It is time for prayer, Come to wish good fortune for all, for the stability of our country, for the prosperity of our country”

5. Tekbir: “Biz hemmimiz wetenning perzentliri (x2), weten ulugh (x2), namaz berpa qilindi, mukemmel bolushni tileymiz, wetenning inaq muqimliqni tileymiz, wetenning gullep yashinishni tileymiz”

The Tekbir will be as follows: “We are all children of our country (China) (x2), China is great (x2), Prayers have been established, we pray for the peace and harmony of our country China”

6. Tasbeeh: “wetenge minnetdarmiz, Xi reisige minnetdarmiz”

Tasbeeh: “We are grateful to our country, we are grateful to our leader Xi (Jinping)” — this has been changed to “Dolitimiz Jonggugha minnetdarliq bildurimiz, Re-is Xi Jinping’gha minnetdarliq bildurimiz” which explicitly states “We will show our gratitude to our country China, We will show our gratitude to our leader Xi Jinping.” (It used to say just “weten” which means country, rather than Jonnguo/China).

7. Du’aa: “Hotanning tinish muqsim bolushini, hatirjem tirikchilik qilishni, yashanghanlarning saghlam bolup uzun omur korushini, balilarning hoshal-horam chong bolushini, her bir ailining inaq, behtlik bolushni tileymiz. Hatirjemlik we beht tileymiz!”

Du’aa (supplication prayers): We pray for the safety and stability of Hotan prefecture, we pray for the peace of every household, we pray for a long and healthy life for our elders and younger generations and also pray for a happy and prosperous life for everyone.”

I am not sure if this has spread further than the Hotan prefecture yet (but again, it probably will soon).

I’ve also noticed that photos of the Id Kah Mosque now have a Chinese flag flying above it, whereas it wasn’t there before. You also have to walk through metal detectors to get in. (And women aren’t allowed to pray there? And non-Muslim tourists have to pay to visit?)

Looks like they’re changing the family planning policies again? Minority urban couples can have 2 children and rural couples can have 3. It’s funny how they talk about population increases and fail to mention that it’s largely because of the influx of Han Chinese from China and not because of birthrates. There are so many stories of women who are forced to abort their children and children affected by nuclear waste from the testing done in Lop Nur. Family planning policies do not promote ethnic equality at all… anyway, this is from Global Times, which is a Chinese news portal. I guess we’ll have more information about this next week.

This isn’t strictly “Uyghur” news but apparently 200 Kazakh people born in East Turkestan but who had moved to Kazakhstan are being deported back. Why?

And finally… well… I found this article. China and Russia will be co-hosting the International Army Games. Wtf. After some Googling I found out that this isn’t the Military Games, where ex-military compete in sports – no, this is literally army games where you compete in things like weapons handling and infantry attacks/races or nuclear, biological, and chemical reconnaissance. Apparently Russia started it last year… and now… it’s a thing? But China will be hosting four out of six of these events in Korla. KORLA. Just… wtf…

Outside of East Turkestan

So Dolkun Isa (WUC, UNPO) is in the news again. He was meant to speak at a press conference hosted by Senator Luigi Compagna and co-organised by UNPO and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (PRNTT), but he was detained by Italian police and questioned about his identity for hours. He may have also be questioned by Chinese officials. Apparently he was stopped at in front of the senate building and taken in by plainclothes members of the Divisione Investigazioni Generali e Operazioni Speciali (DIGOS):

When Isa demanded to know why he had been detained, the DIGOS officers informed him that they had acted on a request from China, which routinely objects to political activities by ethnic Uyghurs living in exile from their traditional homeland in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Interpol had issued an international alert on Isa several years ago based on what he called a “politically motivated and baseless request” by the Chinese government, and the alert was later rejected by German authorities, who viewed it as a “political warrant,” he told the DIGOS officers.

In November last year, China’s Deputy Minister of Public Security Meng Hongwei was elected president of Interpol, Isa told the officers, and asking Interpol to run a check on his background “is like asking the Chinese government” to do so. The officers informed Isa that they intend to proceed with the Interpol check.

Isa told RFA after his release that he was treated well while in custody and expressed gratitude to the German government for its intervention in his detention. He also thanked members of the Italian Senate, the Nonviolent Radical Party, the UNPO and the WUC for their concern.

It made a few headlines: Reuters, NY Times

There has actually been some protesting as China’s vice minister of public security Meng Hongwei is sworn in as the president of Interpol. Shouldn’t there be some sort of regulation for this? Surely there’s conflict of interest? I feel like they’re going to start arresting human rights activists soon.

Here’s a nice little Letter to the Editor which asks Pakistan to help the Muslims (Uyghurs) in ‘China’ as “China’s ‘all-weather friend’”. I wish Pakistan would help their Muslim ummah. I wish.

Uyghurs in Egypt

The Dean of Al-Azhar University admitted that Uyghur students had been taken into custody (which he had previously denied).

Here’s an update on the situation though. From the first account it seems like Chinese authorities are now conducting searches, not just Egyptian authorities. Egypt’s really letting China run their streets now? Here’s a video interview with someone who was in Egypt. This might be a better video.

China being a Prick

I found this really neat review of a book called Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power by Howard W. French. The review is titled “The Real Reason Behind Chinese Expansionism” and goes through some Chinese imperialist history which is interesting to read.

An analysis of China’s trading with Europe.

A neat video on the current climate between China and India regarding border disputes and army deployments. Interesting to see that India refused to join China’s big trade plans.


A German envoy has cried foul over China’s new bans on VPNs and tighter internet controls. But Apple is complying with China and removing its VPN apps from their stores? I really wish Apple would just pull out of China and stop abusing their cheap labour to build their products.

On Liu Xiaobo: he has died, but his wife Liu Xia, who had been under a sort of “unofficial house arrest” for a while now, is still under harsh scrutiny from China despite never being charged with anything. Here’s a journalist getting harassed for trying to find out what happened to her. Anyway it seems like she might have disappeared

Here’s an article that talks about more “prisoners of conscience” still trapped in China.

And finally, an article that talks about the worsening human rights abuses in China. There’s a photo of Xi Jinping in there which is captioned with his name and then “(not Winnie the Pooh)” lmao.


Outside of Politics

Found a few more travel blogs, one in Kucha and two others in Urumchi: 1, 2. This one is about a girl who studied music and learnt Uyghurche for a year as an exchange student and I thought it was really cool (also she does look Uyghur haha). I think I find them fun to read because I can live vicariously through them as I don’t know when I will ever be able to go there #sigh.

I also came across this Tweet and found out that there’s going to be a new movie called Crazy Rich Asians based on the book by Kevin Kwan. Apparently(?) there’s a character in there who is half-Uyghur but she is being played by a half-Japanese half-white actress Sonoya Mizuno. Tbh I don’t really care… I doubt the character is going to have anything Uyghur about her anyway. I have heard of some Uyghur actors trying to make it in Hollywood though so maybe it would have been nice for them to have been cast. Still, I guess it’s more important that there are big budget films being made by Asians for Asians in Hollywood in a time where representation really matters in the US. If this is successful then maybe there will be more movies for Asian people of more backgrounds (rather than just East Asians). I just really want to see a big budget movie with a Central Asian in its main cast lol. Not even Uyghur, just Central Asian.


Anyway, tell me if I missed anything.