Thursday, 19 August 2010

Talking East Turkestan

Yesterday’s bomb blast in Chinese-occupied East Turkestan killed seven people and injured fourteen more, yet passed largely under the journalistic radar around the world. A few small articles reported some sketchy details and quotes from Chinese officials about “separatism in Xinjiang” (the Chinese Communist Party’s name for East Turkestan) but little else.

That’s hardly surprising. Even the 2009 riots which killed over 200 people, and the subsequent mass-executions of Uighur demonstrators, were hugely under-reported compared to press attention that unrest in nations such Burma and Tibet (deservedly) received around the same period. The reasons for this are clear; the robust Chinese Communist Party’s security apparatus in East Turkestan means that genuine information is hard to come by (possibly even more so than in Tibet), whilst the their propaganda programme, misleadingly portraying the independence movement as Islamic fundamentalists in league with Al-Qaeda, has generated a reluctance to write sympathetically of their struggle. Because of these reasons, even coverage such as the BBC’s, which has sought to address the wider picture, is sporadic and sometimes inaccurate (not least by using the Communist Party’s terminology and referring “Xinjiang”).In truth East Turkestan is an occupied nation and the plight of its people, the Uighurs, has been ignored for too long.

Since China annexed the country in 1949 (it was independent until this point) an enormous litany of human rights abuses have been carried out against the Uighur people; including repression of religion, torture and execution of dissidents, coercive birth control policies and instituional police brutality. Uighur culture has been consistently attacked, discrimination in favour of Han migrants is rife and concepts such as fair and open trials are virtually unknown.

Of course bombings and terrorism can never be justified under any circumstances, but we cannot ignore the fact attacks such as yesterday’s come against a back-drop of horrendous oppression which the world has ignored for far too long. The plight of the Uighur people should be addressed and brought to the fore by politicians, activists and members of the international public – not by violence.

Fortunately there have been hugely positive developments in this area over recent years. Media coverage, though still sparse, is improving and initiatives such as Chinese, Tibetan and Uighur Solidarity UK have been effective in bringing this hugely important issue further into the public eye. There is still a long way to go and the world has not yet truly woken up to the Uighur’s struggle, but there is hope that, just like Tibet will one day be free, so too will East Turkestan.


  1. China must leave East Turkestan.This is the occupied Uighur land.China massacres Uighurs and exerts great preassure to assimilate Uighur People by settling Han Chinese in the region.
    China is stealing Uighur land in the viex of the world.

    palech haletke chushurup qaldi
    yeqinda rabiye xanim bilen seyit tumturuk ependi gollandiye uyghur birleshmisdiki rehberler arisda saqliniwatqan zidiyetlerni birterep qilish meqsitide gollandiyege yitip kelgen.hemde 6-ayning10-kuni sadiqjanning oyide gollandiyediki birqism qerindashlirmizni yighip gollandiye uyghur birleshmisdiki rehberler ottursidiki ishni muzakire qilghan.aqiwette bu mesle hel bolmay arida teximu chong zidiyet peyda boldi .
    hemmimizge melum otken yilning axirda abdusalam gollandiye uyghur birleshmisining reysligige saylan'ghanda meydisige urup teshkilat ijarige alghan ishxanining ijare heqqini ozi birterep qilidighanliqini etqan.likin abdusalam ozining diginidek qilmidi.hazir ishxanining 500yawru ayliq ijarisini tolesh qiyin'gha toxtawatidu.bu mesilide ezalar ottursida nurughun talash tartish we zidiyet peyda boldi.asasliqi abdusalam ozi qabilyetsiz bolghanchqa reyslik xizmitining hoddisdin chiqalmidi,qerindashlirmizning qollishigha irishelmidi.hazir gollandiye uyghur birleshmisining xizmetliri putunley palash halgha chushup qaldi.yeqinda rabiye xanim gollandiyege kelgende gollendiye uyghur birleshmisidiki birqisim ezalar rabiye xanimni teshkilatning ishxanisigha bashlap berip arida yuzbergen ehwalni rabiye xanimgha dokilat qilghan. rabiye xanim abdusalamni gollandiye uyghur birleshmisining reyslik wezipisidin qaldurush ishini yene bir aydin kiyin ayrim muzakire qilimiz dep mesilini waxtida birterep qilmay ishni teximu murekkepleshturiwetti. rabiye xanimning sewebidin gollandiye uyghur birleshmisning ishliri palach haletke chüshüp qaldi.