Uyghur Update: May 2018

A monthly update… a late monthly update… in my defense there’s been a lot of coverage in the media lately…

 

In the Uyghur Region

Forced Marriage

Uyghur women are being coerced into marriages with Han Chinese. If they refuse, they and their families may be detained or sent to re-education. This has been covered by: AJ+ Francais and Arabic, Taiwan News, Asia Times, TomoNews US. There are pictures floating around on Facebook, Facebook, and a video of a man crying about how if his daughter doesn’t accept the marriage proposal of a Han Chinese, the family will be thrown into re-education. Unverified Facebook post with another example… then again, it’s difficult to verify anything… They sing the Chinese anthem at weddings too…

Re-education Camps/Prison

More religious scholars, Abdulehed Mehsum and Allaamah Abdulahatkhan Makhdom have passed away in the camps. Previously I talked about Dr Halmurat Ghopur being detained. Apparently he has passed away in prison. This Facebook post also notes that his name may also be erased from some of his scientific publications.

A literature professor has been detained. More elderly are being taken into re-education where they are dying. A student returning from Malaysia has been detained. Imams and businessmen all being sent to prison. They’re donating cellphones to residents…

China is branding the re-education camps as “free medical treatment” for people with “unhealthy minds”: Facebook. They also say they are allowing people to learn the constitution in “interesting ways”: Global Times. But two Uyghur civil servants were jailed for 11 years for not showing enough “enthusiasm” and not sending people to re-education: RFA. Doctors seem to have been told to diagnose sick people as healthy so that police can fill their camp quotas. Here are some photos of the camps. They’re really not hiding it

Shawn Zhang released a list of re-education camps found using satellite images from Google Earth. You can keep up-to-date with him on Twitter as he finds more re-education camps, for example here where he finds 15 more in Ghulja. Here is more proof and PDFs of the existence of these camps.

Miscellaneous

Here’s a story of a mother who died trying to get to a flag raising ceremony.

More photos of knives chained to tables of restaurants and food carts because the Chinese government suspects all Uyghurs of being a potential threat.

Apparently many (if not all?) ethnic minority teachers have been fired from their jobs: ChinaAid. Here’s a notification released in April saying “double-faced personals” will be detained, aka people who don’t speak Chinese.

Religion

Here, UHRP summarises China’s new policies/White Paper on the control of religion (released in April, 2018). This article talks about how religious symbols are being removed from Hui places – and how rolling out policies effective in ET would be disastrous. Obviously Ramadan is banned: China Aid. Here’s an interview with Salih Hudayar on the fasting ban. Here’s video of Uyghurs drinking alcohol during Ramadan. Here’s an article on China’s “war against Islam“. Here’s a video of Rebiya Kadeer talking about the restrictions on religious freedoms by Freedom Collection. All mosques need to raise the Chinese flag.

During the month of Ramadan, WUC has been releasing posts on social media about the religious repression happening in East Turkistan. You can see it on Twitter or Instagram.

 

Surveillance/Security

Reuters:

A big selling point of the technology, according to one policeman from the restive far western region of Xinjiang who was eyeing a Hisign scanner, was its claimed ability to get data from Apple Inc’s iOS operating system, used in products like the widely popular iPhone.

“We are actually using these kinds of scanners in Xinjiang already, but I am interested in this one as it claims to be more successful with iOS phones than other brands,” said the policeman, surnamed Gu, who traveled 3,000 kilometers to attend the fair. He declined to provide his given name.

More than a billion dollars has been spent on surveillance in the region alone.

German citizen Osman Tursun told RFA that the Chinese government had asked him to spy on the Uyghur diaspora, holding his 3 sons in re-education camps as blackmail.

Human Rights Watch released a short video on how Chinese officials are living with Uyghur families to keep watch on their behaviour. Here is the accompanying article. This was also covered by CNN and RFA.

Apparently there seems to be bomb drills happening in Korla and other cities…

A report on how Bingtuan has tightened its grip on areas like Hotan through land reclamation and demographic dilution: Financial Times

 

In The News

Two pieces of news opened the floodgates for reporting on re-education camps this month. Firstly, Adrian Zenz came out with a paper that detailed evidence showing the re-education camps were real: “Thoroughly Reforming them Toward a Healthy Heart Attitude” – China’s Political Re-Education Campaign in Xinjiang. You can see more of his thoughts/a summary/link to the full report on his Twitter thread (his Twitter is also pretty great for evidence of what is happening in ET). Second was this interview with Omir Bekali, a Kazakh man who was placed in prison for 7 months and then into a re-education camp before being released. He describes how he was tortured and the types of threats they used against him to ‘confess’ to crimes he didn’t commit. Another interview with Kayrat Samarkand echoes the same sort of unprecedented torture they faced. You can read this Twitter thread by Gerry Shih for more information. Since these interviews came out, more news orgs have been talking about the re-education camps: New York Times, The Globe and MailBusiness InsiderThe InterpreterChina Digital TimesDaily Mail, The Independant, ABC, TRT World (video), Daily O, Albawaba

The Economist ran a very comprehensive article on what is happening to Uyghur people (also in print): Apartheid with Chinese Characteristics. They also ran another article comparing China’s digital police state to what’s happening in the West, and how to deal with it.

The Washington Post is calling it a “repugnant campaign to destroy a minority people”. National Review is saying this is a state of emergency. National Review also posted a fairly scathing article that I’m surprised I didn’t write myself. Reuters describes it a pity that we aren’t paying more attention to what is happening, as well as an “Orwellian nightmare“.

David Brophy released an article outlining the history and current situation, and proposed an alternative approach to improving the political situation.

Jessica Batke writes about the complex leadership structure that is responsible for the mass detention of Uyghurs.

Aydin Anwar released an article describing the situation in East Turkistan, along with interviews with refugees in Turkey who had been detained in Chinese prisons.

Nury A. Turkel was interviewed in the Q & A podcast at the Ricochet Podcast Summit, hosted by Jay Nordlinger, titled: The New Gulag in China

Tom Cliff (author of Oil and Water: Being Han in Xinjiang) outlines the situation again, this time drawing a comparison to the historical figure Wang Zhen, and poses the question: why? Unfortunately there is no answer.

Megha Rajagopalan gave a talk about how China’s mass surveillance is affecting Uyghurs at the Oslo Freedom Forum. She also gave an interview about the challenges of foreign correspondence in China.

Radio Free Asia released a short explanatory video on China’s repression on Uyghurs.

Aftenpoften, a Norwegian news press, also talked about re-education camps.

A news program in Turkey ran a 20-min long section with Uyghur guests on their Kanal 7 Iftaar Saati. The guests spoke on what is happening to Uyghurs right now and how their families are in re-education camps.

The Quartz put out an interesting article on the connection between “terrorism” and the Uyghur people. While the history is interesting, and I agree that China is helping to create the terrorist threat that they used to falsely claim, I don’t agree that Uyghur terrorism is a “genuine reason to fear”. ISIS isn’t going to attack China any time soon and I fear that these Uyghur kids are only going to be used to further their own agenda rather than fight China.

WashDiplomat published a piece on the April protests in Washington DC.

 

Detainment of Uyghurs and Kazakhs in “re-education camps” and the response of the diaspora

As more and more Uyghurs are detained, Uyghurs in the diaspora have been speaking out. Halmurat Harri Uyghur is one, and you can see his blog here, and his videos on his Facebook page. Women from France created a video during Mother’s Day. A doctor from Hong Kong expresses her support. Zumret Tursun has been posting a lot of live videos calling people to action. There are many more Facebook Live videos of Uyghurs speaking out, and more Uyghur-news-related Instagram and Twitter accounts surfacing now.

Talk to East Turkistan also posts and re-posts regularly about some of these stories, for example here. Follow them for daily updates on what is happening.

KJ Vids has started a “Voice of Uyghurs” campaign where Uyghurs can anonymously submit stories of what is happening to them.

If you have stories you would like to submit to Human Rights Watch, contact me through Instagram or Twitter.

Kazakh people whose relatives have been detained have been calling on the Kazakhstan government (or anyone) to do something about it, for example here, here, here (with Salih Hudayar speaking on behalf of her), here. Since then, Kazakh people have protested in front of the Chinese embassy in Almaty and Astana has apparently asked Beijing to release Kazakh citizens from the camps. Kazakh news has also interviewed ex-detainees.

 

Western Responses to China

Various opinion pieces have surfaced in the wake of all the news of China’s abuses against Uyghurs, human rights activists and their relatives, as well as their growing power and influence in various countries like New Zealand, America and Australia.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released another document describing their deep concern for the repression of Uyghurs.

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, released another letter, this time about selling surveillance technology to China. This was summarised in WSJ.

Congressmen Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and James P. McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, addressed the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights on the human rights situation – you can see the video and article here: Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

The U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor invited Zubayra Shamseden and Omer Kanat from UHRP to discuss Uyghur human rights in their Facebook live series: #HumanRightsHeroes.

Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom of the U.S. Department of State, Sam Brownback, talked about Uyghurs and re-education camps while responding to questions regarding whether the US Government takes human rights into consideration when considering trade between the US and China.

US Congressman Chris Smith gave China a failing grade for religious freedom and has been designated a Country of Particular Concern (CPC).

The language seems to have shifted to describing what is happening now to something similar to Russian Gulags and South African apartheid rather than Nazi concentration camps. The Orwellian state continues to be used, but more in the sense of “this would give even Orwell nightmares”.

 

WUC

A good interview with Dolkun Isa after the Brussels protests last month: Sydney Criminal Lawyers.

On May 15th, WUC attended a meeting with the European Parliament. You can find the meeting agenda here and a video here.

On May 22nd (New York), Ambassador Kelley Currie strongly rebutted China’s attempt to defame Uyghur activist Dolkun Isa and their efforts to revoke UN credentials of the Society for Threatened Peoples at the United Nations. I recommend listening to it… it’s refreshing to say the least. Here’s the full video of the proceedings. Here’s an article summary. The US rejected China’s attempt to remove him from the UN.

Omer Kanat spoke on DW News about Omir Bekali’s case and Chinese policies.

WUC is holding some sort of contest revolving around our National Anthem, for anyone who wants to enter: Facebook. Also I feel like I mentioned it before but they have a video news series now.

 

Sherqi Turkistan Milliy Oyghunush (East Turkistan National Awakening)

A new group has been formed in the US, mostly by youth, and headed by Salih Hudayar (at least, he is the most outspoken member). The name had been floating around for a few months but they have become much more active this May. One of their first actions will be a protest held on the 4th of June:

32815867_164553867573767_3933408762815053824_n

It is supported by the Lantos Foundation, Rebiya Kadeer, Anwar Yusuf Turani, and many Uyghurs around the world (with Facebook videos of youth from around the world extending their support to Salih Hudayar and urging Uyghurs to wake up and stand up: x x x). The protest will continue every day (in smaller groups) until Congress passes legislation.

 

 

Conferences

Symposium on the Identity Crisis of Uyghurs Today by UAA, Uyghur Academy, and UHRP was held on Friday, May 25th, 2018 at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies. You can find some of their proceedings and videos on Facebook.

When the Government Defines You: China and the Uyghurs by Forum on International Affairs (FIA) was held on May 31st, 2018 in Washington DC. Guest speakers included Nicole Morgret, Zubayra Shamseden and Louisa Greve.

“The Uyghur Diaspora and China”, “Uyghur Cybernationalism”, and “Uyghur Nationalist Movements and political manoeuvering in Japan” at The Association for the Study of Nationalities. You can see a summary here.

 

Outside of Politics

Here’s a cute video of a little Uyghur girl in Japan playing piano to a theatre audience.

I’m not sure what he’s saying, but here’s a video of Kashgar in 2017: YouTube

Check out Subhi Bora and her team in this video on ABC and how they created hijabi dolls, Salam Sisters.

Tahir Hamut’s poems were published (translated by Joshua L Freeman) in Asymptote Journal. Here are more poetry by the duo, published by Duration Press.

2lt. Shepket G. Tohti was recognised by the US army on their Facebook page during their Asian-American and Pacific Islanders awareness month. His picture displayed the East Turkistan flag with the US flag!

Abdusalam Abdureshit (“Abudushalamu Abudurexiti”) might be drafted into the NBA!

Uyghur Day – there seems to be more of these happening lately. This is the beginning of one in the Netherlands

For Ramadan, here’s a video of Uyghur men singing the “ramzan towlash” songs they used to sing when they were kids in East Turkistan. The Uyghur Language School students in Adelaide, SA also did Ramzan Towlash and was featured in AnaTil TV.

There will be an Uyghur scholar/intellectuals conference at the George Washington Institute on July 27-28, 2018. I believe they will discuss how best to preserve Uyghur identity while China is destroying our people.

33125697_2413455425338644_8998908391606714368_n

An interesting cable message from Stalin to Mao regarding the plane crash that killed Uyghur leaders: Facebook.

A Turkish series on YouTube on Uyghur history.

Advertisements

Salam Deng

So I asked someone for Uyghur rock song recommendations and she delivered. One of the songs she sent was this one called “Salam” by Tingshighuch (which means earphones haha). She really liked it because the lyrics are actually adapted from a poem by Abdurehim Otkur called Salam Deng. I loved it so much I made a lyric video with English subs on YouTube 🙂

 

But the original poem is a bit longer. So I translated that too. Because I’m procrastinating a lot right now. 

 

Salam Deng

Yelpünüp ötken shamallar, qulaq séling sözümge
Qolgha élip romallar tutung yashliq közümge

Éship taghlar üstidin bérip yéting yurtumgha
Yash yürektin séghinishliq salam éting yurtumgha

Baghqa bérip yetkende güllerni öpüp ötüng
Gul tüwide olturghan dilberni söyüp ötüng

Taghlar éship ötkende chécheklerge salam deng
Derd-elemde örtengen yüreklerge salam deng

Zulum bilen yardin juda mehbublargha salam deng
Qarangghu zindandiki mehbuslargha salam deng

Héch nersedin ghémi yoq bégimlerge salam deng
Atisi zindanda ölgen yétimlargha salam deng

Étizdiki emgeklik déhqanlargha salam deng
Baghda qan-qan yighlighan baghwenlerge salam deng

Yétim oghul, tul xotun bicharemge salam deng
Parche nangha qul bolghan diwanemge salam deng

Yat qollirida xarlanghan chimengülge salam deng
Nomus üchün jan bergen reyhangülge salam deng

Zöhresidin ayrilghan tahirlargha salam deng
Tili baghliq, dili daghliq shairlargha salam deng

Her jayda xar, her nege zar zeiplerge salam deng
Özi miskin, dili ghemkin ediblerge salam deng!

1945-yil Iyun, Lenju

 

Translation:

Say Salam // Send my Salam

To the winds that fan by me, lend an ear to what I say
Hold your scarf up to my eyes and wipe my tears away

Climb over those mountains and reach over to my homeland
From my tearful heart send my homesick salam to my homeland

As you reach the orchards, caress the flowers as you pass by
Kiss the beauty who sits below the flowers as you pass by

As you pass over the mountains, send my salam to the blossoms
To the hearts that have suffered from distress, send my salam

To the lovers separated by oppression, send my salam
To the prisoners in those dark dungeons, send my salam

To the Begs with not a care in the world, send my salam
To the orphans whose fathers have died in gaols, send my salam

To the laborious peasants in the farmlands, send my salam
To the gardeners who bitterly wept in orchards, send my salam

To the abandoned boys, the widowed women, to the wretched, send my salam
To the beggars who slave for a piece of bread, send my salam

To the wild flowers humiliated by outsiders, send my salam
To the basil flowers that died for humility, send my salam

To the Tahirs separated from their Zohres, send my salam
To the poets with orchard tongues and black-stained souls, send my salam

To the feeble, bullied everywhere, longing for all, send my salam
To the destitute writers with sorrowed souls, send my salam!

June, 1945, Lanzhou

 

So I didn’t quite know what to title it. I could have just translated it as “Say Salam” which I think works perfectly fine, but I’m not sure if people outside of the culture would understand it. I almost translated it as “send my greetings” but that would’ve just ruined it, I think. Salam is such a mood. People can look it up. Google is a thing. But yeah idk?

I don’t actually know what “öpüp ötüng” means, even though I translated it as “caress… as you pass by”. Wild guess. The word wasn’t in the dictionary I use. Probably because the poem is from 1945. He also uses the word “Dilber” which is a girl’s name which apparently means “beautiful woman”. I always thought it was a type of flower but I guess not. He does use Chimengul and Reyhangul which are both names of girls as well as plants – pretty sad that Reyhan is a girl’s name in Uyghurche but in English it’s Basil, which is a guy’s name. I ended up translating them to English but the double entendre’s been lost :/

I kept Beg as it is because it’s a type of leader or official and I feel like it works in English the way Sultan or Bey works.

Again, references to Tahir and Zohre, an epic love story/tragedy popular amongst Turk cultures.

Interestingly, he says “bichareMge” and “diwaneMge” which means MY wretched/begger rather than THE, which would’ve been “bicharige” or “diwanige”. I wonder if that was to keep the flow of the poem, or if that was done with some sort of meaningful intent. I translated it as “the” rather than “my” to keep the flow though.

The Uyghurs in Modern China

Thum, R. (2018-04-26). The Uyghurs in Modern China. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Link

Abstract

The Uyghurs are a Turkic-speaking ethnic group, most of whom live today within the People’s Republic of China. Virtually all Uyghurs are Muslims, and most are oasis farmers, small-time traders, or craftsmen. They constitute the majority population of the Tarim Basin, a region that eventually fell under Chinese rule after the Qing conquest of 1759. Although Turkic speakers predominated in the Tarim Basin for several centuries, the modern Uyghur identity was only named and formalized in the 20th century. During that period, a succession of Chinese states gradually transformed Uyghur lands from a loosely held dependency under the Qing to a closely monitored, assimilationist, settler colony in the 21st century, ruled by a Han Chinese–dominated bureaucracy. Uyghurs inherit traditions rooted in Turko-Persianate Central Asia, elaborated in the 20th century by strong influences from Soviet Central Asia and continually adapted to a political context of shifting outsider regimes punctuated by briefly successful independence movements.

Uyghur Update: April 30th – 6th May

May 5th is International Doppa Day! Here’s a nice little video explaining different types of doppa. Here’s the link to the infographic featured above.

 

In the Uyghur Region

Security

Navigating Xinjiang’s security checkpoints by Darren Byler speaks of one researcher’s recent experiences with the many security checkpoints. The last paragraph gave me chills.

Some data on how many Uyghurs are being detained in re-education, although the number is probably higher now: Twitter. More stats and stories on “successfully re-educated” people: Twitter, Twitter

More news of Kazakh and Uyghur people being imprisoned: ChinaAid. Here is a photo of a girl from a protest whose father is in re-education: TET.

A bit worrying — Erik Prince has set up a private security training school in East Turkistan, which will presumably help oppress Uyghur people: Washington Post

More on hacking by the Chinese government: ars technica

Media

On state-controlled media, propaganda and mind control: RFA

Policy

A paper on agricultural policies: Future Directions

China on bioethics: Foreign Policy

A summary of how China is “afraid of its ethnic minorities”: Axios

 

International

May 3rd was World Press Freedom Day: WUC

There was a protest in Canberra in front of the Egyptian embassy. You can read the open letter here: Facebook, video

31841416_2386627778021409_627541743247556608_n

Here are the proceedings of the conference in the Hudson Institute about the police state:

 

 

Outside of Politics

A summary of modern Uyghur history by Rian Thum: Oxford Research Encyclopedias

On Old Uyghur history and how they withstood drought through trade: The Atlantic

The BizUyghurlar blog, which started out in Russian, now has an English section! They have a lot of interesting articles on Uyghurs, Uyghur culture and history, as well as current events and op-eds by readers.

Uyghur culture was celebrated in Sydney, Australia at the SSI community kitchen: Facebook

Uyghur Akademiye hosted a meeting of academics and students while celebrating Doppa Day and conducting the 3rd conference for the discussion and commemoration of Uyghur intellects: Facebook, Facebook

Cycling to Kashgar with Eleanor Moseman. Follow her Instagram for some amazing stories and photos of her travels.

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

DZrX8mNU0AAnEPt

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:

DZrX7e1U8AM2OmW

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

 

How to Pronounce Uyghur?

Ever wondered how Uyghur is pronounced? Ever wondered who Uyghurs are? This was a fun and educational project run by POET, or People of East Turkistan, a group of Uyghur youth in Adelaide, Australia who ran a stall in a local festival to pose these questions to curious passersby. Participants also got pictures wearing the Uyghur hat, or doppa, and a little treat for their efforts.

Follow POET on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to keep up with future projects!

 

Protest Poem

I wrote this poem as a performance piece for the One Voice One Step protests that happened across the world on March 15th, 2018. I would normally tell you to enjoy it but… actually, you know what? Enjoy. Joy in the revolution!

 

From: An Uyghur Girl
To: China
Cc: The World

Re:

You say that you want peace and harmony
You want the unity of ethnic minorities
You want us all to be one big family
Uyghurs, Tibetans, Han Chinese
Yet Falun Gong, Taiwan and Democracy
The five of us are Poisons? The hypocrisy
Of your words reveal Chinese hegemony

Here’s the ‘peace’ you constantly proclaim
Our freedom is in jail, our mouths detained
We face economic advances that starve and maim
Educational opportunities that divide and tame

Ethnic unity to prevent unification
Anti-separatism that enhances separation

Freedom of speech where our words are taught
And moving off script will get you caught

Religious freedoms where our God is Xi
Our only congregation is the CCP

And if we decide we want to learn our tongue
And if we decide to keep our traditions
Or if we happen to think a stray thought—
Perhaps a memory of what freedom once bought
We are chained en masse and kept in dungeons

With chains like puppet strings praising xi jinping
Chains to destroy the language of the hearts within
Chains to mould our brains to the Party’s whim

Hundreds of thousands in the moulding classes
Cramped and tortured to re-educate the masses
A mistake away from the killing gasses

And those outside, those outside, those yet to be confined
Must forget half their family or replace their seats inside
It’s not a prison, there is no sentence, they are interned for life
Or until they come out broken, a psyche suicide
Witnessing the cultural cleansing, slow boiling genocide
Unable to escape China’s overheating eyes

So they cut ties with those overseas, for communication is a suspicious act
Or students cut their wrists to bleed, for after their parents they are next
Or they are cut after blood is taken, their organs kept intact
And all the while wombs are cut to prevent hope or life in this attack

Oh, but you see us smiling on TV?
Yes, we shine with the reflection of our blood-stained properties
Our sweat and oil excellent commodities for a rapidly growing economy
and colourful dances, cruelly twisted so each step is beautiful agony
in a colonialist standard of beauty
and each breath is the slow erasure of our true identities

So Uyghurs rise up! We are unwilling to rest
before our people can freely breathe
before we can leave our boundaries

Before we can live as Uyghurs without
Being suspected of being radicalized
Without our religion being terrorized
Without our history being revised to fit a culture
ready to be commodified
without being denied to learn in our language
rather than of our language
Our way of life brutalized to fit a shoe unfit for Life
Punished when our feet bleed and swell and protest

You speak of peace then quash communication
Bridges are burned and face condemnation
Human rights and compromise face humiliation
In the push to show the world a “great Chinese nation”
That fights imaginary disease with greater inflammation
And rots with overcrowded prisons, and murders in obscurity
And creates predictive policing with militarised security
And tries to prevent any word of this from dissemination
By blackmailing and torturing our families and relations

And so here we are today to implore the United Nations
To take action on our behalf, to look into the situation
Of how China has sentenced us to an oppressive subjugation

We must stand up now to claim our rights before it’s much too late
From here on out the world will only stand to share our fate

To march for our human rights is our only salvation
We fight for our freedom from China’s damnation

 

-Munawwar

Cultural Change and Continuity in Central Asia (1992)

Edited by Shirin Akiner

This book is about Central Asia in general, but there are a few chapters on Uyghurs (and the other chapters sound really interesting anyway). You can read part of the book on Google Books.

Description:

Central Asia has undergone dramatic material and cultural change in this century. Traditional Muslim societies have come under socialist rule and been forced to adapt to new political and economic systems. The emancipation of women, the introduction of universal education and the immigration of large numbers of foreigners into the region are some of the factors that have contributed to the new face of Central Asia.

However, the old ways have not been obliterated. In some cases a synthesis has been achieved between old and new, in others the old survives alongside the new. There has been change, but there is also continuity. This is vividly illustrated in such fields as literature, music, dress and family life.

This collection of nineteen studies by international scholars from a wide variety of disciplines explores themes connected with popular Islam, the role of ritual in family life and linguistic and cultural change. The majority of the studies concentrate on Soviet Central Asia, but some are concerned with cultural change in Afghanistan and Xinjiang.

 

Contents

1 Zaynab and Aman: Love and Women’s Liberation in the 1930s, a Story Poem Hamid Alimjan, David C Montgomery
2 Uighur Literature: The Antecedents, Eden Naby
3 A Late Piece of Nazira or A Symbol Making its Way through Early Uzbek Poetry, Ingeborg Baldauf
4 Religious Themes in the Novels of Chingiz Aitmatov, Irena Jeziorska
5 Script Changes in Xinjiang, Ildiko Beller-Hann
6 Census and Sociology: Evaluating the Language Situation in Soviet Central Asia, Simon Crisp
7 Russian Language Teaching Policy in Soviet Central Asia 1958-86, J M Kirkwood
8 Ritualism of Family Life in Soviet Central Asia: The Sunnat (Circumcision), Ewa A Chylinski
9 Professional Beliefs and Rituals among Craftsmen in Central Asia: Genetic and Functional Interpretation, C Jasiewicz
10 Women and Power: A Perspective on Marriage among Durrani Pashtuns of Afghan Turkistan, Nancy Tapper
11 Golden Tent-Pegs: Settlement and Change among Nomads in Afghan Turkistan, Richard Tapper
12 Ethnic Games in Xinjiang: Anthropological Approaches, C M Hann
13 Continuity and Modernity in the Costume of the Muslims of Central Asia, Jennifer M Scarce
14 Musical Change in Herat during the Twentieth Century, John Baily
15 Tradition and Change in Central Asian Architecture Today,  F Ashrafi
16 The Baha’i Community of Ashkhabad, Its Social Basis and Importance in Baha’i History,  M Momen
17 Islam in China: Western Studies,  Jacques Waardenburg
18 Change and Tradition in Eighteenth-century Kazakhstan: The Dynastic Factor, Alan Bodger
19 The Role of the Hui Muslims (Tungans) in Republican Sinkiang, Andrew D W Forbes

Situating the Uyghurs Between China and Central Asia (2007)

By Ildikó Bellér-Hann, M. Cristina Cesàro, Joanne Smith Finley

Blurb:

Drawing together distinguished international scholars, this volume offers a unique insight into the social and cultural hybridity of the Uyghurs. It bridges a gap in our understanding of this group, an officially recognized minority mainly inhabiting the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, with significant populations also living in the Central Asian states. The volume is comparative and interdisciplinary in focus: historical chapters explore the deeper problems of Uyghur identity which underpin the contemporary political situation; and sociological and anthropological comparisons of a range of practices from music culture to life-cycle rituals illustrate the dual, fused nature of contemporary Uyghur social and cultural identities. Contributions by ‘local’ Uyghur authors working within Xinjiang also demonstrate the possibilities for Uyghur advocacy in social and cultural policy-making, even within the current political climate.

Here are some reviews of the book by Pawan (2009) and Gammer (2009). And you can read parts of the book on Google Books.

Contents:

Part 1

The Historical Perspective: ‘Us and them’ in 18th and 19th century Xinjiang, Laura J. Newby

The Uyghurs as a part of Central Asian commonality: Soviet historiography on the Uyghurs, Ablet Kamalov

Part 2

Uyghur Culture: Issues of Music, Literature and Language: Cultural politics and the pragmatics of resistance: reflexive discourses on culture and history, Nathan Light

Situating the 12 Muqam: between the Arab world and the Tang court, Rachel Harris

Uyghur literary representations of Xinjiang realities, Michael Friederich

Hybrid name culture in Xinjiang: problems surrounding Uyghur name/surname practices and their reform, Asod Sulayman

Part 3

Socio-Cultural Practices: Situating Uyghur life cycle rituals between China and Central Asia, Ildiko Beller-Hann

Shrine pilgrimage and sustainable tourism among the Uyghurs: Central Asian ritual traditions in the context of China’s development policies, Rahila Dawut

The emergence of Muslim reformism in contemporary Xinjiang: implications for the Uyghurs’ positioning between a Central Asian and Chinese context, Edmund Waite

Part 4

Negotiation of Multiple and Hybrid Uyghur Identities: Polo, LAghmAn, So SAy: situating Uyghur food between Central Asia and China, M. Cristina Cesaro

‘The dawn of the East’: a portrait of a Uyghur community between China and Kazakhstan, Sean R. Roberts

‘Ethnic anomaly’ or modern Uyghur survivor? A case study of the Minkaohan hybrid identity in Xinjiang, Joanne Smith Finley

‘Making the oil fragrant’: dealings with the supernatural among the Uyghurs in Xinjiang

Bellér-Hann, I. (2001). ‘Making the oil fragrant’: dealings with the supernatural among the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Asian Ethnicity2(1), 9-23. Link doi

Excerpt from introduction:

Anyone interested in Xinjiang today must take account of the long-term cultural continuities which manifest themselves in many areas of life beneath the practices and institutions of the modern social formation. In this paper, I shall deal with some aspects of traditional modes of dealing with the supernatural, concentrating on rituals and daily practices which link the world of the living to the world of the dead. Indigenous and other sources from before 1949 confirm that veneration of the dead has long been at the heart of popular religious practices among the Turki/Uyghurs. Fieldwork data from the 1990s point to the remarkable persistence of these practices throughout the socialist period, though they have not remained untouched by the dramatic social and political changes.