Newsletter No. 16
November 2011    
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Picture of the second Republic of East Turkestan in 1944

Top Story
  National Day of East Turkestan
Featured Articles
   110th Birthday of Muhammad Amin Bughraa
  Uyghur Political Prisoners Mehbube Ablesh's and Abdulghani Memetemin's Prison            Sentences Expire
Media Work
  Uyghur PEN: The Plight of Uyghur Imprisoned Writers
Past Events
  4th Freedom March in Berlin, Paris, Rome
  Uyghur Demonstration Salzburg and Vienna
  Rebiya Kadeer in Norway
  Japan Uyghur Association: Lecture "Imagining Terrorism"
  UNPO and Members Lobby Dutch Government On China
Upcoming Events
  Mongolian-Chinese International Seminar on Nationality and Democracy
  UN Forum on Minority Issues, Geneva
  
EP Subcommittee on Human Rights Hearing on China
   Anniversary of Karamay Tragedy
  Symposium by Vaclav Havel Library in Prague
  Cultural Bazaar Munich
Highlighted Media Articles and reports on Uyghur Related Issues
   STP: New Chinese Anti-Terror Law Authorizes Crack Down on Uyghurs
   Testimony on China’s Political Prisoners before the Committee on Foreign Affairs
  Uyghur Refugee Threatened by Pro-Chinese Groups
  CECC Article: Students in East Turkestan Continue to Harvest Cotton
More Media Articles

TOP STORY
National Day of East Turkestan
Since the foundation of the first Islamic East Turkestan Republic on 12 November 1933 and the second East Turkestan Republic in 1945 in Ghulja, the people of East Turkestan consider 12 November as National Day of East Turkestan and have been cherishing the memory of their forefather's who fought for the freedom of the Uyghur nation.

Twice, in 1933 and 1944, the Uyghurs were successful in setting up an independent Islamic Eastern Turkestan republic. But these independent Islamic Republics were overthrown by the military intervention and political intrigues of the Soviet Union. It was in fact the Soviet Union that proved a deterrent to the Uyghur independence movement throughout this period. In 1949 the Nationalist Chinese were defeated by the Chinese communists. After that, East Turkestan fell under Chinese communist rule.

The WUC and its member organizations all around the world organized different kinds of activities to commemorate the establishment of the East Turkestan Republics.


The following activities took place this year:

Australia
The East Turkestan Australian Association (ETAA) organized an event on 12 November in Adelaide to commemorate the establishment of East Turkestan Republics. In addition to more than 500 Uyghurs from Australia, a number Members of the South Australian Parliament attended the event as guests of honor. WUC vice president Hussen Hesen, president of the ETAA and the Uyghur Australian Association as well as the members of the South Australian Parliament made speeches during the event. 
 
Germany
Organized by the East Turkestan Union in Europe (ETUE), a commemoration event took place in Munich on 13 November. More than 150 people including Uyghurs from Munich, the former president of the WUC Erkin Alptekin, the president of the former East Turkestan National Congress, the Director of the East Turkestan Information Center, members of the WUC Standing Committee as well guests from Belgium and Netherlands attended. Followed by the speeches from the WUC vice president Asgar Can, Erkin Alptekin, and the WUC General Secretary Dolkun Isa, Uyghur music and dance were performed by young Uyghur musicians and dancers from Munich and the Netherlands. During the event, the ETUE also awarded Uyghur youths in Germany who will start to study at German universities and the members of the Germany Uyghur youth football team with a special prize for their excellent achievements during the recent "Freedom Cup" Uyghur Youth Football Championship in late July in Netherlands organized by the WUC.

Japan
The Japanese Uyghur Association commemorated the establishment of the East Turkestan Republics on 12 November in Tokyo
 
Kazakhstan
Organized by the WUC representative in Kazakhstan, Uyghurs in the Kazakh capital Almaty commemorated the establishment of the East Turkestan Republics on 12 November. WUC vice president Khahriman Hojamberdiyev made a speech during the event and briefed the participants on the recent activities of WUC's international campaign for freedom, human rights and democracy for the Uyghur people.

Kyrgyzstan
On 11 November, organized by the Kyrgyzstan Uyghur Union, more than 200 people including Uyghurs in Kyrgyz capital Bishkek and veterans of the revolution that led to establish the second East Turkestan Republic in 1945, gathered in Bishkek to commemorate the both important events of the recent Uyghur history.

Netherlands
Organized by the East Turkestan Education Association in Europe, more than 100 Uyghurs living in Netherlands gathered in the Dutch city Haarlem to celebrate the establishment of East Turkestan Republics and the traditional Muslim festival Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) on 12 November.

Norway
Organized by the Norway Uyghur Committee (NUC), more than 50 Uyghurs gathered together in Norwegian capital Oslo on 12 October to commemorate the two East Turkestan Republics. Followed by the speech of the NUC president, a documentary film about the history of the Republics was presented. Uyghur musicians in Norway also performed Uyghur music especially made for this special day.

Sweden
More than 100 Uyghurs attended an event organized by the Sweden Uyghur Committee on 12 November in Stockholm to commemorate the establishment of the East Turkestan Republics. A documentary about the history of two East Turkestan republics was presented during the event to educate especially the youth attendees about the meaning of the important event in the recent Uyghur history.

Turkey
On 12 November, The East Turkestan Foundation, The East Turkestan Education and Solidarity Association and East Turkestan Youth Association jointly organized a symposium at the municipality building of the Zeytinburnu district in Istanbul. During the event which was opened with a documentary film presentation about the life of Muhammad Emin Bughra, a number of scholars including Prof. Dr. Alimjan Inayet from the Turkish World Research Institute of the Ege University, Dr. Erkin Emet from the Langue and Literature Faculty of the University of Ankara as well as Dr. Abdullah Bikir from the Süleyman Demirel University presented academic papers about the life and leadership personality of Muhammad Amin Bughra. More than a 150 people attended the symposium. 

U.S.
More than 200 Uyghurs gathered in the Washington, DC on 12 November to commemorate the day of establishment of the former East Turkestan Republics and the traditional Muslim festival Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). WUC president Rebiya Kadeer presented a speech during the event which was jointly organized by the Uyghur American Association and the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation, to emphasize the historic meaning of the former East Turkestan Republics and call the Uyghurs to make more efforts for continue the international campaign for freedom, human rights and democracy for the Uyghur people. 

FEATURED ARTICLES
110th Birthday of Muhammad Amin Bughra
Uyghurs all around the world marked the 110th birthday Muhammad Amin Bughra in November 2011.

Muhammad Amin Bughra, the founding father of the first East Turkestan Republic, was born in an ordinary Uyghur family in 1901 in Hotan, the seat of the Hotan Prefecture of East Turkestan. He finished the elementary school when he was 9 and received religious education at the local Madrasa in Hotan until the age of 21. He mastered in Arabic and Farsi languages. He lectured on holy Quran and Hadith in several Madrases in Karakash region of Hotan between 1922 and 1933.

As being an excellent speaker with a deep knowledge in religion and poetry as well as a man with great social competence, he received enormous respect from a wide range of local population and he was honored with the "Hadrat" title. As a reformist, he had emphasized his students the importance of equipping with knowledge of modern sciences during his time as lecturer at Madrassahs and actively supported the educational reform movement.

After a long quest to bring his people freedom and end the Chinese repression, Muhammad Amin Bughra together with his brothers Abdullah and Nur Ahmad, and a number of similarly minded friends and his students he founded the Committee for National Revolution beginning of 1932.

Muhammad Amin Bughra led the uprising in Hotan and succeeded in establishing the independent Hotan Emirate in 1933, which was the main founding force behind the First East Turkestan Republic on 12 November 1933 which lasted until 6 February 1934.

In 1949, when the Chinese People's Liberation Army invaded East Turkestan, Muhammad Amin Bughra fled to India, then to Turkey, where he joined another exiled Uyghur leader, Isa Yusuf Alptekin, who headed the First East Turkestan Republic. Muhammad Amin Bughra died in exile in Turkey in 1965.

Uyghur Political Prisoners Mehbube Ablesh's and Abdulghani Memetemin's Prison Sentences Expire
The prison sentences of two Uyghur political prisoners in East Turkestan have expired in summer 2011. However, it is unclear if they have actually been released or not.

Mehbube Ablesh completed a three-year prison sentence for "splittism" around August 2011. Authorities handed down the prison sentence in apparent connection to her criticism of Chinese government policies, including Mandarin-focused "bilingual" education. Under Article 47 of China's Criminal Law, each day in custody counts as one day served of a prison sentence. Although the precise date of Mehbube Ablesh's detention is not known, if authorities followed the law in calculating her sentence from the day around August 2008 when she appears to have been detained, her sentence would have expired on the same date in 2011.

Abdulghani Memetemin completed a nine-year prison sentence in late July for "supplying state secrets" to an overseas group. He had sent information on human rights abuses and translations of Chinese government speeches to an organization in Germany that monitors rights violations against Uyghurs. He was due for release on 25 July 2011, however also in his case, the WUC so far has not been able to confirm his release.

The Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) published an article on their possible release on 18 October 2011:
Uyghur Political Prisoners Mehbube Ablesh's and Abdulghani Memetemin's Prison Sentences Expire CECC, 18 October 2011

For their profile in WUC´s political prisoner database, see:
Mehbube Ablesh
Abdulghani Memetemin 


MEDIA WORK
Uyghur PEN: The Plight of Uyghur Imprisoned Writers
15th November is PEN International’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer. There are hundreds of writers worldwide who are imprisoned or harassed solely because of their work. The Uyghur PEN Centre added its voices to this special day by urging all International PEN Centres and other international human rights organizations to pay attention once more to the plight of the imprisoned Uyghur writers in East Turkestan and condemn China’s brutal crackdown on Uyghur writers, journalists and webmasters. The Uyghur PEN estimates that more than 400 Uyghur intellectuals, including writers, journalists, web masters, and bloggers are still in Chinese jails, arrested in the aftermath of the 5th July 2009 ethnic conflict in Urumqi. However, it is impossible to confirm this estimate because of the Chinese government’s lack of transparency and accountability. 

PAST EVENTS
4th Freedom March in Berlin, Paris, Rome
The 4th International March for Freedom of Oppressed Minorities and Peoples - a silent demonstration, organized by Società Libera, aims to denounce the absence of freedom that many Peoples and Minorities have to endure, and to give a wider visibility to the commitment of whoever is fighting for freedom in the world- was held successfully on 22 October at the same time in the cities of Berlin, Paris and Rome.
Representing the Uyghur people, the WUC mobilized Uyghur communities in Berlin and Paris to participate in this joint demonstration along with members of the Tibetan, Vietnamese, Burmese, Cabinda as well as Iranian communities as well as members of international human rights organizations. As a guest of honor, WUC President Rebiya Kadeer participated in the demonstration in Rome, where she has also met with representatives of international human rights organizations.

Photo galleries of all marches held on 22 October 2011.
Uyghur Demonstration Salzburg and Vienna
Uyghurs protested along with Tibetans and Falun Gong supporters in the Austrian cities of Vienna and Salzburg on 31 October and 1 November respectively against the three day visit of Chinese president Hu Jintao from 30 October to 2 November. Organized by the WUC, a number of Uyghurs including the WUC Vice President Asgar Can and the General Secretary Dolkun Isa as well as members of the Uyghur community from Munich and Vienna attended the demonstration.

Media coverage:

Hu Jintao-Besuch: Demos in Salzburg
ORF, 31 Oct 2011

Proteste gegen Hu Jintao
ORF, 31 Oct 2011 

Hu Jintao’s State Visit to Austria Meets with Protests

NTDTV, 1 Nov 2011

Austria hopes for business boom as Hu visits
Salzburg Austrian Times, 1 Nov 2011 

Rebiya Kadeer in Norway
Rebiya Kadeer began her several days long Norwegian working visit in Begen on 31 October, where she was warmly received at the airport by representatives of the Rafto Foundation and Uyghur community in Norway.

Ms. Kadeer held a meeting with high level officials of Norwegian immigration authority on 1 November. She gave a briefing on the current situation of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan and made a productive discussion over the current situation of Uyghur refugees in Norway.

As a Rafto Laureate, Ms. Kadeer has attended series of events in Bergen in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of Rafto prize. She attended the Lotus Flower opening ceremony on 2 November, which is the opening event of the Rafto Prize 25th Anniversary.

Ms. Kadeer met with high level Norwegian officials including the Major of Bergen. Ms. Kadeer also attended the first session of the Rafto Prize Symposium on 4 November as a guest speaker and briefed on the worsening human rights situation of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan.
Japan Uyghur Association: Lecture "Imagining Terrorism"
On 12 November, the Japan Uyghur Association hosted a lecture meeting by Dr. Sean R Roberts (associate professor of George Washington University) entitled "Imagining Terrorism: Myths and Realities about the Uyghur Terrorist Threat and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement”. On 12 Nov. 1933 and 1944, the Republic of East Turkistan declared its independence. Even though these two republics were short-lived, they still exist as ethnical symbol of Uyghur people under China's suppression.
UNPO and Members Lobby Dutch Government On China
On 16 November, the Foreign Affairs Committee of Dutch Parliament held a general meeting concerning China and Dutch-Chinese relations. As part of its Dutch lobbying program, UNPO engaged in advocacy through multiple outlets in advance of this meeting in an effort to ensure that the issues of UNPO Members in China would be raised.

One of the issues UNPO raised in advance of the meeting was that of Uyghur asylum-seekers in the Netherlands. Dutch authorities have been placing significant pressure to “voluntarily” return to China on several Uyghurs who have been denied asylum multiple times by Dutch courts. A report by Uyghur Human Rights Project titled ‘They Can’t Send me Back: Uyghur Asylum Seekers in Europe,’ shows that the Netherlands is one of the few European countries in which Uyghur asylum seekers are facing a forced return to China. UNPO firmly condemns this policy, given that Uyghurs in China face not only political, economic and social oppression, but also torture, arbitrary arrests, intimidation and persecution. Those who have sought asylum outside of China are at particular risk of abuse once they are returned, and for this reason it is widely recognized that sending Uyghurs back to China puts them at grave risk.

In an effort to draw greater attention to these concerns, UNPO sent a letter to the attending Members of Parliament, asking them to raise the issues of human rights and minority rights, and especially the case of Uyghur asylum seekers in the Netherlands, in their individual comments and questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The letter served as an urgent appeal to Dutch Government to acknowledge the severity of oppression and human rights violations in China and the danger Uyghurs are in upon return.

UNPO also attended the Parliamentary meeting as an observer, and was pleased to find that human rights were indeed high on the agenda of the meeting - the call to take the human rights situation into account in all Dutch-Chinese relations was made by almost every MP. Special attention was given to freedom of religion and freedom of speech of minority groups, including the Uyghurs and Tibetans..


UPCOMING EVENTS
Mongolian-Chinese International Seminar on Nationality and Democracy
WUC Secretary General Dolkun Isa will attend the Mongolian-Chinese International Seminar on Nationality and Democracy will be held on 21-22 November 2011 in Leverkusen, Germany. The event is initiated and sponsored by the Seminar Preparatory Group. Focusing on the ethnic issue between Mongolians and Han Chinese in China, the seminar will review the CPC’s ethnic policy and ethnic relations in China in the past six decades, exposing the failure of China’s ethnic policy and recognizing that under the authoritarian system the ethnic problems can never be solved, and that only democratic system can provide a solution to the ethnic problems in China.
UN Forum on Minority Issues, Geneva
On 29 and 30 November, the fourth session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues will take place in Geneva, Switzerland. The main focus of this year´s forum is “Guaranteeing the rights of minority women”. Members of the WUC leadership, including WUC President Rebiya Kadeer, will participate in a UNPO (www.unpo.org) delegation to attend.
EP Subcommittee on Human Rights Hearing on China
On 5 December, the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament in Brussels will hold a hearing on “Human Rights in China and the role of the European Union following the last meeting of the EU China Human Rights Dialogue”. The programme includes among others Barbara Lochbihler (Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights), Sophie Richardson (Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch), Sharom Hom (Executive Director, Human Rights in China), Mehmet Tohti (Special Representative, WUC to the European Union) and Ray Murphy (Acting Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights).

The hearing can be followed online here.

Anniversary of Karamay Tragedy
8 December 2011 marks the 17th Anniversary of the tragic fire accident in Karamay, East Turkestan. On 8 December 1994, Karamay's Friendship Hall was the site of a horrible tragedy: nearly 800 grade and middle-school students and their teachers, hand-picked to entertain a delegation of education officials, were in the midst of a performance when a fire broke out in the hall. The students were instructed to remain in their seats so that the visiting executives could exit first. By the time the fire had been contained, 323 people had perished, 288 of them children between the ages of 6 and 14. All of the officials survived. After the tragedy, the story was heavily censored in the Chinese state media. To this day, the families of Karamay have not been allowed to publicly mourn their children. A documentary film entitled “Karamay” about this tragic accident by film maker Xu Xin had its premiere in 2010. Xu Xin spent several years to made this documentary using unpublished and mostly "secret" film materials which were regarded by the Chinese government very sensitive issue. He also made interviews with the parents who have lost their children during this tragic event. 
Symposium by Vaclav Havel Library in Prague
On 9 December 2011, the symposium "Epoch-Making Power of Free Speech" organized by Vaclav Havel Library will take place in Prague. WUC Secretary General Dolkun Isa is invited to participate in the "Evening of Solidarity”.
Cultural Bazaar Munich
On 9 December, the 7th Cultural Bazaar will taking place in Munich, Germany. In the Bazaar a part from the Uygur Women Association Germany and the Munich based Uyghur Youth Dance Group over 20 cultural and activist groups will participate. The groups will present their culture through handcrafts, music and dance.

Location: EineWeltHaus, Schwanthalerstr. 80, Munich
Organizer: Multicultural Meeting in cooperation with North South Forum München e.V.
Information: Harald Hackländer, multikultitreff@yahoo.de 

HIGHLIGHTED MEDIA ARTICLES AND REPORTS ON UYGHUR RELATED ISSUES
STP: New Chinese Anti-Terror Law Authorizes Crack Down on Uyghurs
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warns that the new anti-terror laws in China will make the persecution of Uyghurs and dissidents easier - rather than protect critics. "The controversial law gives the impression of a pseudo rule of law, because the term "terrorism" is so broadly defined that even Uyghur opposition members may randomly prosecuted as "terrorists" now," said the STP's expert on questions regarding Asia, Ulrich Delius, in Göttingen on Monday. Especially members of the Muslim minority and their organizations are collectively accused of terrorism by the Chinese security authorities. On Saturday, the new anti-terror laws were approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and are now legally enforceable.

"We fear that the Chinese authorities will use the new laws to gain more international support in fighting the Uyghur government critics in the autonomous region of Xinjiang," said Delius. "Nevertheless, the increasing riots in north-western China are based on home-made problems and - so far - have nothing to do with international terrorism." Accordingly, foreign security experts tend not to recognize China's struggle against Uyghur human rights activists and dissidents as part of the global anti-terror war.

So far, suspected terrorists were mostly charged of threatening state security "but with the new laws, China initially defines a concept of "terrorism". The term includes all activities that endanger public order and safety or put pressure on government bodies and international organizations that might negatively affect society or cause economic losses. Also, the mere promotion or support of such activities is “terrorism” according to the new laws.

Within the next weeks, the Chinese Ministry of State Security will publish a new list of organizations suspected of "terrorism". "We expect that all leading Uyghur human rights organizations will appear on this list " by which the Chinese leadership would lead the general idea of international anti-terror campaigns to absurdity." The efforts to establish military bases in the border area between Pakistan and Xinjiang show how intensely Beijing is fighting Uyghur dissidents.

See also:

China Seeking Counter-Uighur Military Bases In Pakistan?
Eurasianet, 25 Oct 2011


New Laws to Crack Down on Uyghurs
IPS News, 27 Oct 2011

China clarifies terrorism definition in hopes of winning international backing
Washinton Post, 29 Oct 2011

Anti-Terror Law Changes Raise Concern
RFA, 02 Nov 2011

Testimony on China’s political prisoners before the Committee on Foreign Affairs
On 3 November, Dui Hua Foundation´s Executive Director John Kamm gave a testimony before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives. The hearing will focus on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s 2011 Annual Report. Kamm presented information on China’s political prisoners, including Uyghur political prisoners, and spoke about China’s dual-track justice system, which singles out political prisoners for separate and unequal treatment.  
Uyghur Refugee Threatened by Pro-Chinese Groups
According to a 6 November RFA article, a Pakistan-born Uyghur who fled to Afghanistan after being harassed for rejecting China’s offer to be a spy says he is facing pressure from Beijing-friendly groups to return to Pakistan. Kamirdin Abdurahman, 43, was given refugee status last month in Afghanistan by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly two years after he fled to the neighboring country following threats he received for refusing to spy for Beijing on the activities of Uyghurs in Pakistan. Soon thereafter he started to receive phone calls and also visits from pro-Chinese groups in Pakistan, urging him to give up his refugee status. Abdurahman refused, but fears that the pressure will continue.
CECC Article: Students in East Turkestan Continue to Harvest Cotton
On 14 November, the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) published an article entitled “Xinjiang Students Continue to Harvest Cotton, Directive Allows Child Labor”. Education authorities in Xinjiang have continued to require students to pick cotton during the fall harvest, in some cases violating permitted parameters for "work-study" programs as stipulated in local directives, as well as contravening domestic and international standards regulating students' work activities and prohibiting child labor. Xinjiang authorities announced in 2008 that students in junior high and lower grades would no longer pick cotton in work-study programs, but issued a directive in 2009 that appears to affirm that younger students may continue to engage in cotton harvesting and other labor as part of work to "help with agriculture," despite the prohibitions against child labor in Chinese law. Reports from the past year indicate that some localities used these younger students to harvest cotton. Xinjiang high schools and colleges continued to make older students pick cotton in work-study programs, in some reported cases exceeding the permitted time period for work-study under local directives and in one reported case levying fines on students who didn't meet quotas. Work-study programs and cotton-picking activities have drawn complaints from students and parents due to the hazards of the work and effect on children's education. The use of student labor this year comes as the region reported difficulties in recruiting regular agricultural workers to pick cotton. 


MORE MEDIA ARTICLES
Uyghurs / East Turkestan
Tibet
China

ABOUT THE UYGHURS
The Uyghur People
The Uyghur people are indigenous to East Turkestan [also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China]. For many years, the Chinese government has waged an intense and often brutal campaign to repress all forms of Uyghur dissent, crack down on Uyghurs’ peaceful religious activities and independent expressions of ethnicity, dilute Uyghurs’ culture and identity as a distinct people, and threaten the survival of the Uyghur language.

The authorities have routinely equated Uyghurs’ peaceful political, religious, and cultural activities with the “three evils” – terrorism, separatism and religious extremism – and have couched their persecution of the Uyghurs as efforts to quash these “three evils.” The authorities have also economically marginalized the Uyghurs in East Turkestan through intense and blatant racial discrimination in employment.

The Uyghurs are a Turkic people and have long practiced a moderate, traditional form of Sunni Islam, strongly imbued with the folklore and traditions of a rural, oasis-dwelling population.
East Turkestan
East Turkestan lies in the very heart of Asia. Situated along the fabled ancient Silk Road, it has been a prominent centre of commerce for more than 2000 years. The current territorial size of East Turkestan is 1.82 million square kilometers. The neighboring Chinese province annexed part of the territory as a result of the Chinese communist invasion of 1949.

East Turkestan borders with China and Mongolia to the east, Russia to the north, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the west, and Tibet to the south.

According to latest Chinese census in 2010, the current population of East Turkestan is 21.81 million including 8.75 million ethnic Han Chinese (40,1%) illegal settled in East Turkestan after 1949 (the ethnic Han Chinese numbered 200,000 in 1949). The Uyghurs make up around 10.2 million Uyghurs (according to the 2000 census; the numbers for 2010 have not been published yet) and constitute still the majority of East Turkestan. However, the population shifts more and more in favor of the Han Chinese and make the Uyghurs strangers in their own land. However, Uyghur sources put the real population of Uyghurs around 20 million.
Events of 5 July 2009
The human rights situation of the Uyghur population in East Turkestan has been dire for decades and has even worsened since the July 2009 protest and ethnic unrest in Urumqi, the capital of East Turkestan.

The July 2009 protest began with a peaceful demonstration by Uyghurs in Urumqi that was brutally and lethally suppressed by Chinese security forces. The Uyghurs were protesting against a lack of government action in regard to a deadly attack on Uyghur factory workers in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province in the south of China. The violent and illegal reaction of the Chinese security forces to the peaceful protest led then to ethnic violence and riots between Uyghurs and Han Chinese, during which hundreds of Uyghur and Han Chinese civilians were killed.

According to data published by the Chinese Xinhua news agency, 197 people were killed, but the World Uyghur Congress estimates – based on eyewitness reports - that more than 1000 people died in the riots. However, until today, the exact death toll on both sides is not clear since so far no independent investigation of these events has been undertaken.

ABOUT THE WORLD UYGHUR CONGRESS
The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is an international umbrella organization that represents the collective interest of the Uyghur people both in East Turkestan and abroad and promotes Uyghur human rights and a peaceful and non-violent solution based on rule of law for the conflict in East Turkestan. For more information, please visit our website.

WUC´s monthly newsletter provides the latest information on Uyghur related issues and informs about the work and activities of the WUC and its affiliate members. Older editions of the newsletter can be viewed from the web.

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© 2011 World Uyghur Congress    |    Published: 22 November 2011
 
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