The Transfer of Young Uyghur Women to Eastern China

Under the policy, thousands of Uyghur women have been removed from their families and placed into substandard working conditions thousands of miles from their homes. At the same time that the PRC government implements the transfer policy in the name of providing economic opportunities for these young women, it also provides support for the movement of large numbers of Han Chinese migrants into East Turkestan.

“This transfer policy can be seen as another aspect of Beijing’s effort to forcibly assimilate the Uyghur people and undermine the distinct Uyghur culture of East Turkestan,” said Uyghur democracy leader Rebiya Kadeer. “Continuation of the policy will only further marginalize the Uyghur people and deepen Uyghurs’ mistrust of PRC officials, leading to even greater tensions in East Turkestan.”

The government-sponsored transfer into the broader context of the PRC’s is the ongoing cultural attacks and human rights abuses against the Uyghur people. Uyghur religion, a moderate form of Sunni Islam that is a vital part of their ethnic identity, has been fiercely suppressed. The PRC legal system is used as a tool of repression, with arbitrary detentions and torture commonly employed against any Uyghur who voices discontent with the government. Charges of “political crimes” and the death penalty have been shown to be disproportionately applied to Uyghurs. Uyghur women suffer from sterilizations and forced abortions, and corvée labor is still used in East Turkestan’s rural areas.

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Disinterest of the International Community

In contrast to other violations of human rights around the world, the international community has been relatively inactive in issues pertaining to East Turkestan.

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East Turkestan covers an area of 1.82 million square kilometers, which is twice as large as the Republic of Turkey or four times as large as the American state of California. More than 43 percent of East Turkestan is covered by deserts and another 40 percent is covered by mountain ranges.

The main characteristic of this huge land is two basins bounded by three mountain ranges. The two basins are Tarim basin in the south, which is 530,000 square kilometer, and the Junggar basin in the north, which covers an area of 304.200 square kilometers. Tarim basin contains one of the largest deserts in the world—the Taklamakan desert. The Junggar basin contains the Kurbantunggut desert.

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Uyghur Langue

Uyghur formerly known as Eastern Turki is a Turkic language spoken in East Turkestan mainly, by the Uyghur ethnic group.

It is spoken around 20 million in East Turkistan. Uyghur is also spoken by some 1.000,000 in Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan and there are Uyghur-speaking communities in Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Austiria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Findland, France, Germany, Mongolia, Noway, Netherlands, Pakistan,  Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA, and Egypt.

Like many other Turkic languages, Uyghur displays vowel harmony and agglutination, lacks noun classes or grammatical gender, and is a left-branching language with Subject Object Verb word order.

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Uyghur Culture

Toward the end of the 19th century and into the first decades of the 20th, scientific and archaeological expeditions to the region of Eastern Turkestan´s Silk Road discovered numerous cave temples, monastery ruins, wall paintings, as well as valuable miniatures, books and documents.

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Uyghur Music

By Dr. Rachel Harris Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, Music Dept. SOAS, London

and Yasin Muhpul Xinjiang Arts Research Unit

[Originally Published 2002. Encyclopedia of the Turks, vol. 6. Istanbul: Yeni Turkiye, pp542-9.]

Uyghur music embraces several distinct regional styles, product of the geography and complex history of the region, whose oasis kingdoms, separated by mountains and deserts, have been subject through the course of history to rule by many different outside forces.

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Uyghur Cuisine

The Uyghur cuisine is the food of the Uyghurs (Uyghur Yemekliri), known for cooking fiery lamb kebabs and homemade noodles. As Uyghurs are Sunni Muslim Turks, the food is predominantly halal.

Uyghur food is characterized by mutton, beef, camel, chicken, goose, carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant, celery, various dairy foods, and fruits.

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Uyghur Literature

The Uyghur have a long and rich literary history befitting a people that once ruled a great empire in Central Asia. As soldiers and diplomats and as educators they have always been known as an educated people. The Uyghur have been printing their own books for many hundreds of years prior to the invention of the Guttenberg press. The earliest Uyghur literature revolved around the translation of religious texts both Buddhist and Manichean but also included narrative, epic and poetic works.

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