Uyghur News

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:

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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!

 

Egypt

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.

 

China

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

noun
  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.

 

Other

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:

TMB-RootsFinal-61-683x1024

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 Lulu.com. 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.

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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.

China

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.

Turkey

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.

Uyghur Update: 26th July-1st August

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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.

Uyghur Update: July 18th-25th

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Just to reiterate from my first “Uyghur Update” post – these are just really informal summaries of the news from the past week, mostly so that I know what is happening to the Uyghurs of the world. This is in no way meant to be read as a serious report – that’s what all the links are for lol.

Within the Uyghur Region

This video began to circulate the web recently. It shows Uyghur villagers being made to stand in lines and sing songs praising the Chinese government… disgusting… Also, apparently if you exercise or regularly go to the gym you may be connected to terrorism..? And there are government-sponsored alcohol-drinking contests?? And the Uyghur language is now FORBIDDEN in Hotan public education activities & school management (so much for “bilingual education”!).

Also here’s more photos of Chinese propaganda displayed in mosques. There’s also this really… effed up video…? It is a performance that shows a man and a woman dancing, and there is another woman in black with a hijab who is also dancing and trying to get this guy’s attention, but to no avail. She cries for a bit on the ground then flings off her black clothes to reveal bright etles and a doppa, after which the man becomes interested in her and (I guess?) everyone is happier. The ending pan reveals an applauding audience of Uyghurs dressed only in traditional clothing. Like… wtf kind of mockery…?

The “China is creating a police state” story has been picked up by Nextshark and Independent.

China has banned religion for every single one of it’s Communist Party members. That’s about 90 million people, apparently. These aren’t just government officials — according to Wikipedia:

As of 30 June 2016, individuals who identify as farmers, herdsmen and fishermen make up 26 million members; members identifying as workers totalled 7.2 million.[83] Another group, the “Managing, professional and technical staff in enterprises and public institutions”, made up 12.5 million, 9 million identified as working in administrative staff and 7.4 million described themselves as party cadres.[83] 22.3 million women are CPC members.[83] The CPC currently has 88.76 million members.

Now,

“Party members should not have religious beliefs, which is a red line for all members…Party members should be firm Marxist atheists, obey Party rules and stick to the Party’s faith…they are not allowed to seek value and belief in religion,”

“Officials who have religious faith should be persuaded to give it up, and those who resist would be punished by the Party organisation,” [wrote Wang Zuoan, the director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA)]

…Religions in general should be sinicised. This doesn’t affect Muslims only, this is literally all religions. You know, for national security and social stability. Ugh.

Security and Surveillance

China continues to find new ways to censor everyone despite the already-heavy restrictions – now WhatsApp is partially blocked:

A Chinese censorship researcher known by his pseudonym Charlie Smith said authorities appeared to be blocking non-text WhatsApp messages wholesale precisely because they have not been able to selectively block content on the platform like they have with WeChat, which is produced by Shenzhen-based internet giant Tencent and legally bound to cooperate with Chinese security agencies.

Because WhatsApp content is encrypted, “they have moved to brute censor all non-text content,” Smith said in an email. “It would not be surprising to find that everything on WhatsApp gets blocked, forcing users in China to use unencrypted, monitored and censored services like WeChat.”

Here is another article written by someone who has experienced the censorship, with some analysis with regards to Liu Xiaobo.

More media outlets are picking up on the news that people are being made to download surveillance apps. This article has a photo of a “personal communications device checkpoint”. Apparently the app is able to pass through password-security and access the hard drive of whatever it’s installed on. Here’s another article in Infosecurity Magazine which describes how people were given 10 days to download the app (Jingwang), and checkpoints were set up to check if it had been installed. If it wasn’t, then you could face 10 days of detention. Charming.

Here’s a write-up in The Australian about the app. It also includes a list of all the other ridiculous laws placed on Uyghurs recently. More articles describing the app: Hong Kong FP, China Digital Times, Bleeping Computer, Tribune, The Register, International Business TimesMashable (which has a little more info):

The app reportedly scans for the MD5 digital signatures of media files in the phone, and matches them to a stored database of offending files classified by the government as illegal “terrorist-related” media.

Jinwang also keeps a copy of Weibo and WeChat records, as well as a record of IMEI numbers, SIM card data and Wifi login data. The records are then sent to a server.

This move is the latest in digital surveillance in Urumqi. In March, government workers were asked to sign an agreement have “terrorist-related” media content, while the police sprung a surprise spot check on a group of nursing students.

But I guess if they’re even banning Winnie the Pooh because he looks like Xi then there’s no stopping to what will or won’t be banned. This was a pretty interesting article about this ban and other censorship tactics within mainland China.

Uyghurs in Egypt

Here is a really in-depth report on the current situation of the students in Egypt, which I encourage you to read. It includes interviews with the students, Egyptian officials, and some idea of what the Chinese and Egyptian governments are doing about the situation.

Here is a New York Times article outlining the situation as well. It states straight up that:

Egyptian authorities transferred scores of detained students from China’s Uighur community to a massive prison complex in Cairo on Wednesday for interrogation alongside Chinese officials, students and activists from the ethnic minority said.

Egypt appears to be assisting China in a crackdown on the group as Cairo looks to Beijing as a key ally and source of much-needed investment, including in mega-projects like the construction of a new capital and an expansion of the Suez Canal.

Egyptian authorities in coordination with Beijing have detained some 120 students this month, with at least 80 still held, activist Abduweli Ayup said from Turkey. Others put the total figure near 200.

So the reasons behind the arrests seem to have been made clear to the Western audiences now. Here’s another article talking about why Egypt would do what china wants them to. UNPO also released a short update.

The students themselves have written an SOS letter, shared on Twitter. I think a lot of the info is coming through in chats and Twitter tbh.

This is in Chinese, so I only know what the Google Translation page states, which is: “2017 Perceived China – China’s western culture Egypt line Xinjiang” by the China State Council Information Office, China Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region People’s Government, the Chinese Embassy in Egypt jointly organized. Apparently, the XUAR People’s Government Vice-Chairman Erken Tu Ni Zi Zi went to the Chinese Embassy in Egypt and said the students would return home and be better employed and contribute their strengths to “home development” (and generally they should be returned home for their own good and for the good of the country). lol apparently Xinjiang is in its best condition in history because of the bilingual education, economic developments, and medical treatments, and that the region was going to be the centre of the new Silk Road… lol… I can’t even… wow… the lies…

Here’s an interview with an Uyghur activist in the Netherlands, talking more about Egypt and Uyghurs. UNPO also released this video from a youth activist. More articles on the issue in Associated Press, and also a BBC news video.

RFA published an article outlining some individual stories of those who had gone back from Egypt when China first ordered everyone’s return. In particular, it talks about a 12 year old boy whose parents had been arrested after staying in Egypt for 3 months and then voluntarily returning. The child was made to undergo political reeducation, too.

Memtimin Ala wrote a piece likening the Uyghur situation to the Jewish people during their Exodus – except the reverse; from freedom to slavery. He also draws a little parallel with our situation and the Holocaust at the end.

Miscellaneous

This video of Dr. Enver Tohti speaking about organ harvesting has over 2.1M views on Facebook as of writing this. I think I mentioned it in the last update, but that was an article. In this video he also mentions that the recently mandated free health checkup for everyone in the Uyghur region, and the collection of everyone’s DNA, is not for health purposes, but may in fact be to build an organ database.

And uh… I’m not very strong on news regarding the economy, so here’s an article about cotton prices and Uyghur farmers. Probably going to be detrimental to Uyghurs in general anyway.

This is an interesting article that shows an interactive map of all the political prisoners in China.

But it seems like after the death of Liu Xiaobo, Chinese activist morale is at an all time low. Personally, I can see how this moment in time could leave Uyghur, Tibetan, Chinese and HK-ese activists in utter despair. However, I feel like I was more depressed about the world last year, perhaps even before Trump was elected. Now? I feel like I am simply a part of the chaos. Anything can happen. Right now that ‘anything’ is not going in our favour – but the tides can turn at any time. I don’t have hope. But I also don’t have despair. We’re all just doing our best on this Earth.

Although yeah even Chinese human rights lawyers are disappearing now so.

Foreign Policy

An article titled “China Buying International Silence on Human Rights” came out, which takes a close look at the countries bought by China.

China’s holding more military exercises in Tibet. It seems like Russia is a little wary of China at least. They’ve even blocked WeChat. Russia is still evil though…

Here’s a close look at Chinese investment into Pakistan. They’re really pumping them with money at this point. One interesting thing in the article was that China had built two giant nuclear reactors “just 30km from the centre of one of the world’s biggest and most densely populated cities”. I’m not actually opposed to nuclear energy if used correctly, but these reactors were built “atop the Makran Trench, a major faultline prone to severe earthquakes”. I doubt China would invest so much in something that would lose them money, however it shows again just how much they disregard nature and people if they cannot use them to their economic gain.

Speaking of OBOR, here is an analysis by Michael Clarke of ANU, looking specifically at the effects of increasing security in the Uyghur region.

 

Outside of Politics

This is a really interesting article from the New York Times about a reporter’s experience in Kashgar – in contrast to the blog post from a tourist with no background in my last update, this reporter had been to Kashgar to report on various issues for a while now. Remarkably, their stories match up. I suggest you read it because it’s better than me trying to summarise it lol. I posted about it on my Instagram and had some messages and comments saying they had similar experiences. In fact, it seems like even non-Uyghur foreigners are being told not to call their relatives in the region for the time being!

The Silk Way Rally (an international car race?) was held in Urumchi but the article about it talks more about how much security there is and some of the political background of the region rather than the actual race.

Uyghur Update: July 11th-17th

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These updates are really keeping me on my toes, hey. I was just called and told to be extra cautious walking home alone at night, and to be wary of people pretending to be friendly, especially if they are Uyghur. What a time to be alive.

Inside the Uyghur Region

First up, some new policies! China has reportedly ordered everyone in the Uyghur region to download an app that will monitor and delete content pertaining to extremist activity or illegal religious content. Apparently 10 women have already been arrested.

The app’s website advertises it as a family-friendly filter aimed at protecting internet users from porn sites, online fraud, viruses and malware, and phishing sites.

However, it also offers “mobile phone remote control and other security services,” the website said.

“In order to achieve city-wide coverage in the antiterrorist video and audio clean-up, and to target people, materials and thinking for clean-up work, management and crackdowns, a technology company affiliated with the municipal police department has developed an app for Android smartphones that can filter out terrorist video and audio content,” the Tianshan district government in the regional capital Urumqi said in a directive issued July 10.

So it looks like the government has moved from using secret software to literally telling people to self-monitor. The Chinese government really does not give a crap about international pressure anymore, does it?

The article also goes on to talk about the growing pressures on Kazakh people as well. A woman was arrested because her husband applied for Kazakhstan citizenship. Wtf?

Okay, this blew my mind. China’s literally launched a “risk assessment” checklist which profiles you and gives you a score of how much of a security threat you are. Excerpts from the article:

On July 10, the Western Hebei Road Neighborhood Committee in Urumqi’s Yengisheher (in Chinese, Xinshiqu) district circulated a document listing 13 non-Han residents of the area and grading their individual risk to security based on ten categories.

According to the document from the Western Hebei Road Neighborhood Committee, each resident is assigned a 100-point value and 10 points are subtracted from that value for each of the 10 categories that applies to them.

The remaining value for each resident is used to determine the security risk they pose to the community, with anyone rated 80 points or higher designated “safe,” anyone rated between 50 and 70 points seen as “average,” and anyone rated below 50 points considered “unsafe.”

The 10 categories on the form consist of: Between Ages of 15 and 55, Ethnic Uyghur, Unemployed, Possesses Passport, Prays Daily, Possesses Religious Knowledge, Visited [one of] 26 [flagged] Countries, Belated Return to China, Has Association With Foreign Country, and Family With Children Who Are Homeschooled.

Additionally, personal information for each resident is listed on the document, including their name, home address, age and number of family members.

In one example, 85-year-old Ibrahim Ismail (Yibulaying Simayi), was rated an “average” security threat based on a 50-point score after 10 points each were subtracted for being a Uyghur, possessing a passport, praying daily, possessing religious knowledge, and visiting a flagged country.

Another resident, 29-year-old Misir Emet (Misaier Aimaiti), was also rated “average” based on a 70-point score after he lost points for being Uyghur, falling within the “risky” age range, and being unemployed.

Just read those examples! WTF! Apparently it has been implemented in a few areas for a couple of weeks already. It isn’t a region-wide thing yet, but the fact that it has even begun in some areas… I am aghast…

Mosques are now required to put up banners that say things like “Love China, Love Communist Party” and fly the Chinese flag:

And here is a fascinating minute-long video showing how anti-religiousness is taught in classrooms. Absolutely… fascinating…

This little article came out analysing how developed or integrated the autonomous regions were, touching on the effectiveness of the Western Development Programme. The concluding remarks were that the autonomous regions did not benefit as much from the program, and:

We also found that the overall relationship between development and the concentration of minorities isn’t consistent among the different autonomous provinces. In Tibet, the correlation is negative: counties whose Tibetan population is outpacing the Han population have experienced less development. But the opposite is true in Inner Mongolia, where counties whose ethnic Mongol population is growing have benefited from more economic development, not less.

Why the inconsistency? One explanation is that Inner Mongolia was China’s first official ethnic minority region, established in 1947; thanks to a steady influx of Han Chinese, ethnic Mongolians now make up less than than 20% of its population. The Chinese government considers the region much better integrated than Tibet, which was only established as an autonomous region in 1965, and where Han Chinese still make up less than 10% of the population.

What this all suggests is that in an authoritarian system such as China, economic development is deeply shot through with the imperative to exert political control. The Chinese government doesn’t treat all its ethnic minority groups in the same way: the more “loyal” a group is to the Chinese state and the more integrated it is into the culture and economy, the better its members will be treated. This does not bode well for the rebellious Tibetans or Uighurs, who continue to challenge the Chinese government’s plans for their homelands.

Looks like Beijing is now physically linked to Urumchi with this road

The article about how the security clampdowns have been bad for businesses (which I included in the last update) was picked up by Yahoo news. The South China Morning Post, Dawn, and the Daily Mail also picked up on the intense security measures and anti-Islamic laws the government has been inflicting on the Uyghurs. China Digital Times also released an article about how the repressive policies are continuing to worsen.

The Uyghurs in Egypt

As I said in the last update, Uyghur students have been deported to China from Egypt, and more are being detained right now, preparing to be deported. Still others are being searched for by the Egyptian police. An article came out which interviewed some of the students. Read the article for more 1st person accounts of what is actually happening there. Honestly, all these “Muslim” countries being bought by China right now… astaghfirullah.

Anyway China sent an Uyghur representative to Egypt and he apparently said those students that were to be deported are all extremists. Uyghurs who betray their people are the worst… like Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Django Unchained… despicable.

The Middle East Monitor had this short piece where they interviewed a student who had visited one of his detained classmates.

Razi told HuffPost Arabi that his arrested classmate called him to tell him he was on his way to the Mogamma, Cairo’s administrative governmental building, accompanied by a security forces, to complete his deportation papers.

When Razi visited his friend he found him handcuffed and guarded by several police officers. During the meeting, which did not last for more than five minutes, he gave him clothes and money to buy food from the police station. As they said goodbye to each other his friend was distraught for fear that he would be executed if he was sent home.

Ezzat Ghoneim, director of the Egyptian Coordination for Human Rights who sent a team of lawyers to defend the students, said on Monday that they have been told they will be released after proving they have the appropriate residency papers to live in Egypt.

According to Ghoneim Egyptian authorities are attempting to show that the Uyghurs are being arrested for violating residency laws rather than because they want to deport them to China.

Ghoneim told HuffPost Arabi that “every arrested student is photographed and his personal details are sent to the officers of the Chinese embassy in Cairo in order to reveal his security situation with the authorities in Beijing.”

Being rounded up and deported for “alleged irregularities in their residency papers” sounds like such an excuse, wow. From personal accounts, we get stories like this which state that those detained have legal status in Egypt, or like this which is just ugh.

The students have released an SOS letter to Al-Azhar University.

Here is one of those short explanatory videos on the current situation. VOA also picked up on the news, a little delayed.

There was a protest held in front of the Egyptian embassy in the US, where students called for the Egyptian government not to cave into Chinese pressure. A powerful speech by Aydin Anwar has been viewed 3.7k times on Facebook already:

My speech from today’s protest — demanding that the Egyptian government stop the detention and deportation of innocent Uyghur students. In the speech, I mention some of the ways Uyghurs are tortured inside the Chinese prisons, the final destination for those deported

The descriptions of the prison conditions and the torture those prisoners have to go through was a shocking reminder of the atrocities and inhumane acts China inflicts on the Uyghur people. Absolutely abhorrent – it is difficult to listen to. But it is reality for them, and that sickens me to the core. Here is another video that has 4k views as of writing this.

In light of the deportations, this interview came out which described the terrible situation happening in East Turkestan. It is half an hour long so I guess it goes in depth. I haven’t had the chance to listen to it yet…

There has actually been a few videos coming out with the #freeuyghurstudents hashtag, as well as some longer ones like this which implore the international community to help.

Thailand

The last of those Uyghurs who had escaped to Thailand in 2014 are still being held in detention and there are renewed fears of deportation to China.

Organ Harvesting

This article and video came out taking a close look at the organ harvesting situation in China, with a close look at Enver Tohti, an Uyghur surgeon who performed these surgeries before he moved out to the West. He had a prepared a testimony which he presented to Irish authorities. Enver Tohti was also featured in an “award-winning organ harvesting documentary Hard to Believe.”

Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo died. Here are some of the news outlets that covered it: BBC News (a video looking back at his message), The New York Times (how there is fading pressure on China’s human rights issues now), Amnesty International (short video), UHRP (condolences), China File (essay excerpt on his “three refusals”), CNBC (Trump says Xi Jinping is a great man, the White House later expresses condolences, Merkel expresses condolences), The Guardian (a public vigil for Liu in Hong Kong!), Human Rights Watch (summary of his achievements)

In light of Liu Xiaobo’s health crisis and death, articles such as these have come out, looking at a history of China’s arrests of peaceful dissenters and its attempts to control information.

Chinese Spies

So this article came out in which a Chinese man is interviewed about China’s spy networks in the US. He wants democracy in China and says the Chinese government is like the mafia. A short excerpt that explains where he got all this information:

Guo Wengui, a billionaire businessman who broke with the regime several months ago, said in an interview that he has close ties to the Ministry of State Security (MSS), the civilian intelligence service, and the military spy service of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

“I know the Chinese spy system very, very well,” Guo said, speaking through an interpreter, in his first American interview. “I have information about very minute details about how it operates.”

Guo said he learned about Chinese spy activities from Ma Jian, a former MSS vice minister, and Ji Shengde, former PLA military intelligence chief.

Read the full thing, it is fascinating. There are about 25,000 intelligence officers in the US alone!

Foreign Policy

So China has officially set up its first military base in Djibouti (in East Africa). China calls it a support base though. So it:

“will ensure China’s performance of missions, such as escorting, peace-keeping, and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia,” according to Xinhua, China’s news agency.

…and will also be used for:

“military cooperation, joint exercises, evacuating and protecting overseas Chinese and emergency rescue, as well as jointly maintaining security of international strategic seaways,” said Xinhua.

Fun. Here’s another article that analyses what this could mean. It also talks a little about the 800 or so peacekeeping missions China has in Africa. The Drive also posted a “here’s what you should know” article about the military base.

Speaking of the military, China is apparently honing their skills in the Mediterranean Sea, where their navy has conducted their first live-fire drill.

A naval flotilla of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has conducted a live-fire drill in the Mediterranean Sea “honing their combat skills” en route to a joint exercise with the Russian Navy in the Baltic Sea, the Chinese Ministry of Defense (MoD) said on July 12.

The operation was aimed at sharpening the crew members’ skills in attacking small targets, the press release quoted the captain of a PLAN guided-missile destroyer as saying. The ships “fired several rounds at sea targets,” China Daily quoted the MoD release as saying. “Sailors also used small arms to hit nearby targets during the exercise.”

Lord help us.

Countries Condemning China

An internal Canadian government report has basically said that the human rights situation in China is terrible and is getting worse.

Outside of Politics

Zulkayda Mamat published this article about “Iz” and her story which made me tear up a little, especially at: “Iz is my grandmother dying and no one being able to return to our homeland for her funeral”. For me, “Iz” is a poem that we had to memorise at Uyghur Mektep and recite in front of an audience of Noruz celebrators. I’d forgotten the meaning behind those words.

So here is a nice video of a boy born and raised in England playing rawap.

The BBC are doing a “Tales from the new Silk Road” project and there is a story about an Uyghur dancer.

And I stumbled across this blog post about a confused white girl travelling in “Xinjiang” without a clue about anything, which was really interesting, actually. She didn’t know anything and therefore could not make any assumptions or look for anything in particular to cement her preconceived notions. Therefore, what we get is just what she sees, and this turns out to be a land full of security and locals too afraid to speak to foreigners. Amazing. Also this made me laugh:

We ogled at the beautiful Id Kah mosque, supposedly the largest in China. It’s a sight to behold, and also eerie: no worshippers, only Han Chinese tourists snapping and flashing and pointing and selfie-sticking, and enough CCTV cameras to make you feel that even if Allah wasn’t watching, someone definitely was.

 

Uyghur Update: 4th-10th July

Posted on Updated on

I have been sick so let’s go by headlines and dot points for this one. China is creating a helluva mess, honestly… can’t they give us a break..? anyway…

July 5th Anniversary

So, protests were held marking July 5th in places such as Munich, Canberra, Melbourne, Switzerland, Turkey, America. Here’s one in Hamburg that took place over 2 days with Uyghurs from Germany, Switzerland and Norway. More photos.

The WUC penned an open letter to hold China accountable for those who have disappeared since July 5th, 2009. They have also been publishing information about missing people on their Twitter feed, such as this. They will be adding those who have been deported from Egypt to their list soon, I believe.

There were some interesting personal accounts of the date on Facebook. I made a “thread” on Instagram explaining the situation as well.

Organisations Condemning China

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has released a condemnation on China’s Ramadan ban, which also mentioned July 5th and Gulmira Imin, a political prisoner. The article links to a video of the speech in support of her. The Economist covered it in an article which was… weird.

UHRP released a statement cautioning people to read China’s White Paper on the human rights situation in the Uyghur region with skepticism until “independent media and UN Special Rapporteurs are allowed into the region to investigate them.”

Amnesty International UK did a press release urging China to “end ‘vicious crackdown’ on human rights lawyers”.

Detainment

Over a hundred Uyghurs coming back from pilgrimage have been detained. I urge you to read the article; it’s fairly short and mostly has quotes from an interview with a Chinese lawyer who has seen the Uyghurs being detained.

Terminally ill Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo is still in Chinese custody despite wanting to leave the country. China claims he and his family are happy, close friends say there is literally no evidence of that, and they want to leave. The German and American doctors who had a look at him had already said they would take him into their hospitals, but China has not granted permission. Treatment has now been ceased. An article came out saying that his treatment shows that China is not yet ready for global leadership. Global Times released an article saying that Liu is a prisoner and having him treated for his condition is enough to fulfill humanitarian needs, and that wanting him moved to a different country is a political move by outdated overseas dissidents who want to show China as inhuman. They say everything they are doing is completely legal in China but lol I highly doubt they are in line with international regulations, which they forgot to mention. But it was interesting because the article states that China is now “…stronger and more confident, and will not yield to Western pressure.” I think that statement rings true in a lot of areas… not just their treatment of political prisoners…

A Kazakh voice actor and movie translator has been detained “…probably because of something he did or said online… But the authorities don’t need a reason to detain people anymore.” This is one example of a few cases of Kazakh persecution by China in recent times.

Students in Egypt

Reports of the arrests of Uyghur students in Egypt were gaining traction on Facebook and Twitter for a little before larger news outlets and human rights organisations caught on, especially these videos and photos. Human Rights Watch began to circulate this Tweet, followed by news outlets such as the Washington Post, Middle East Monitor, NY Times, Al Jazeera, RFA, Reuters, ABC News. From what I remember, China asked Egypt to deport it’s Uyghurs, Egypt obliged (on no legal basis), there are some trade deals happening, the usual shenanigans. The students targeted are mostly those studying religion, and only Uyghurs, not other Muslim minorities. You’d think a Muslim country would help Uyghur people but ah… in the name of trade… *cough*Pakistan*cough*

HRW then released a letter to the Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb of Al-Azhar University, where most of the students were studying. It asked him to stop the Egyptian authorities from deporting the students. They also requested that Egypt not send Uyghurs to China. An urgent action appeal was created by Amnesty International as well.

Uyghur groups, along with UNPO, started a social media campaign with the hashtag #freeuyghurstudents. As of now there are a few videos on Twitter and Facebook urging Egypt to stop deporting Uyghur students (just go on Facebook or Twitter and type in the hashtag to watch). A group of us also started a GoFundMe after I received a message on Instagram asking whether they can donate money to the students. Please click the link for more information on where the money will be going.

Uhm… someone shared this… this video showing Uyghur performances… apparently in Egypt on the 6th of July… Idk what kinda… there were probably Chinese officials visiting… sigh…

Apparently, Al-Azhar University is looking into the cases and working with authorities to release the students (after an initial denial). I’m not sure if it is actually happening though. This comes a couple of days after the initial reports. Meanwhile, more videos of arrests have been coming out, and the round-ups have continued.

Chinese Laws

NGOs are still being hit hard by new laws. China claims their laws will help foreign NGOs and weed out those illegal groups that harm security, but the groups say otherwise.

UNESCO named a large area of land as a World Heritage Site, which has been disastrous for Tibet as it will allow China to relocate/resettle those who live there. It’s probably because of this:

The report also complained that China’s application exempted a two-and-a-half-mile-wide corridor in which a highway and railway bisect the region, allowing unfettered development. That, the report noted, would threaten the migratory paths of the antelope the designation is meant to protect.

Oh China and their bloody railroads…

New modes of censorship was covered in this article in The Diplomat. Eh… China does not look like it’s going to stop any time soon…

Foreign Policy

China’s Foreign Policy Experiment in South Sudan – a longer read (so I haven’t read it yet) but the description says: China, traditionally averse to intervening abroad, is testing the role of peacebuilder in South Sudan, where it has unique leverage. This could portend a growing global security role, but further Chinese engagement will likely be tempered by self-interest, capacity constraints and aversion to risk. — so it looks interesting. Saving for later.

This article was also published which discusses the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Initiative by China. Again, I have not read it yet because this cold is doing my head in.

It looks like China has deployed a submarine into Indian territory now… so… again… China is sticking it’s claws in everywhere…

Some articles were revealed that seem to show what China wants with the South China Sea. Basically:

The article comes from a special class of periodical published by the Chinese military for “internal distribution.” These are not classified documents per se. Rather, they are teaching materials and scholarly works written for a select audience. Due to this restricted access, these works are both candid and extremely authoritative. As such, they offer invaluable insights into the thinking of the Chinese military and party-state.

…which actually sounds really interesting so I’ll link it here for y’all to read.

Another little update on OBOR:  Silk Road Economic Belt: Challenges and Prospects

 

Outside of Politics (mostly?)

The Uyghur American Cup was held in Boston from July 1st-4th and I believe Uyghur United won…

I found this video which was really random but really interesting about black people experiencing racism in China.

This is a bit old, posted in January, but it is an article by Alice Su (who was part of the podcast in the last news update) about religious shrines and a quick look at the political climate with regards to religion.

And finally, an “extraordinary general assembly” is going to be held in August this year for the WUC. Not quite sure what will be discussed, but these are the people who are going to be there:

  • World Uyghur Congress leaders
  • Various local Uyghur organization leaders and representatives
  • Uyghur intellectuals
  • Elders of the Uyghur community
  • Youth representatives
  • Popular political activists
  • Observers

Maybe you can sign up to go if you’re curious?

As always, let me know if I missed anything.