Newsletter No. 20
March 2012    
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TOP STORY
  Four Uyghurs Killed in Korla
FEATURED ARTICLES
  Ethnic Tension Erupt into Violence in Kargilik
  Joint WUC-UNPO Conference on Nuclear Testing in East Turkestan
MEDIA WORK
  WUC Denounces Chinese Ideological Campaign in East Turkestan
  Rebiya Kadeer Speaks at UN Forum on Minorities
  WUC Rejects Beijing´s Accusations regarding Kargilik Incident
  Uyghur Youth Union in Kazakhstan Launched a New Website
  UAA Concerned about Chinese Authorities’ “Three Evil” Rhetoric
PAST EVENTS
   WUC and ETCSA Meet with Members of the Turkish Parliament
   “The Uyghur Turks” Published in Turkey
   Uyghurs at Tibetan Film Festival in Paris
  Uyghur Protests during Xi Jinping´s Visit to Turkey
  Uyghur Activities During China Cultural Year 2012 in Turkey
  Lecture on East Turkestan in Ankara
  Conference by Uyghur Japan Association in Tokyo
  19th Session UN Human Rights Council
UPCOMING EVENTS
  Uyghur Nowruz Celebrations
  WUC General Assembly and Leadership Training Seminar, Tokyo
HIGHLIGHTED MEDIA ARTICLES AND REPORTS ON UYGHUR RELATED ISSUES
  EU-China Summit: a Failed Opportunity to Raise Human Rights Issues
  Uyghur Woman Arrested For Petitioning
  Research: Uyghur Diaspora and Diasporic Identity 
  China Again Among the Worst “Enemies of Internet”
  8th Year in Prison for Uyghur Writer Nurmuhemmet Yasin

TOP STORY
Four Uyghurs Killed in Korla
According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), on 8 March 2012 four Uyghur men were shot dead during a pre-dawn raid staged by Chinese police at a farmhouse in Towurchi village near Korla city, Bayin'gholin prefecture, East Turkestan.

The four men identified as Nesrullah, 21, Nurmemet, 25, Abdurehim, and Abdulla both over 30 years old, were gunned down in a raid at a farmhouse near Korla city, as part of the Chinese government's "strike hard" campaign in the region, after police had detained Tohti Ibrahim, a bomb-making suspect in the city. Police first reported that there was a connection between the five men.

However, some days later a police officer stated that the killed men were not linked to the alleged bomb-maker, but considered the shooting still necessary, “because the four disobeyed police during the raid operation.” Police accused them of “terrorist intentions” and considered “axes and boxing gloves enough evidence of a terror plan.” Local residents disputed police claims, saying that “police, especially state security police, always fabricate evidence to justify their killing.”

Ghulamidin Yasin, the police officer who led the raid on the Towurchi farmhouse, said one of the four men was from Akto (Aketao) county in Kizilsu prefecture, and two others were from Peyziwat (Gashi) and Kargilik (Yecheng) counties in Kashgar prefecture. It was not known where the fourth person came from.

According to local sources, Ibrahim’s wife had been detained by city police, along with his brother Memet Ibrahim’s wife, for holding an “illegal religious gathering” with a dozen other women on 28 February 2012. The raid on the gathering, in which police confiscated books and CDs, was part of a regional campaign against "illegal religious activity." Sources suggest that Ibrahim may have been motivated to fabricate a bomb in revenge against his wife’s detention.

On 16 March, WUC President Rebiya Kadeer called on Chinese authorities to reveal more information about the fatal shooting of the four Uyghur men.

On 19 March, RFA reported that police are searching for Erkin Emet, a former fruit-seller from Hejing county, in connection with the bomb explosion in Korla city.

As in the aftermath of the deadly unrest in Kargilik county, Kashgar prefecture, on 28 February 2012, Chinese authorities declared that violence stemmed from Islamic separatists who want East Turkestan to gain independence from China. Officials labelled these events as actions of Muslim militants trained in Pakistan. Yet, human rights activists stated that China is overstating the threat of Islamic terrorists in the region, and that the root causes of such incidents lie in the economic and cultural discrimination of the Uyghur population in East Turkestan. The Chinese government consistently refuses to acknowledge its responsibilities for social discontent in the region.

See also:

Four Killed in Xinjiang Raid
Radio Free Asia (RFA), 9 March 2012

'Prepared To Fight And Die'
Radio Free Asia (RFA), 11 March 2012

Slain Uyghurs Not Linked to Bomb
Radio Free Asia (RFA), 13 March 2012 

China Silent Over Slain Uyghurs
Radio Free Asia (RFA), 16 March 2012

New Suspect in Xinjiang Explosion
Radio Free Asia (RFA), 19 March 2012



FEATURED ARTICLES
Ethnic Tension Erupt into Violence in Kargilik
On 28 February 2012, Chinese state media reported that an unknown number of “attackers” armed with knives killed at least 10 people in Kargilik, and that “police shot two of the assailants dead, while also chasing other attackers”, injuring other individuals. According to a statement released by the state-run website www.tianshannet.com on 29 February, “a group of Uyghurs stabbed to death 13 people before police shot seven of the attackers dead,” increasing the total number of victims to 20.

According to local sources the WUC spoke with, 12 people were killed in the incident, seven of whom were members of the security forces, and the police shot and killed 10 Uyghurs, injuring a further 11. Some of the injured were passers-by, where at least one was left in a life-threatening condition. Since the incident, Chinese security forces are detaining Uyghurs in Kargilik, and as of 1 March, approximately 100 people had been detained.

Immediately following the incident, the Chinese security forces mobilized a large number of armed personnel to enforce the imposition of martial law in the city. The authorities prohibited inhabitants to leave the city as traffic to and from Kargilik was blocked. In addition, information on the incident is being reportedly censored in Chinese media and internet.

Several residents of Kargilik County interviewed by Radio Free Asia (RFA) on 29 February stated that the violence was an outbreak of Uyghur discontent towards the massive influx of Han Chinese into East Turkestan, which has led to increased economic discrimination of the Uyghur population.

Both the WUC and the Uyghur American Association (UAA) urged the international community to assess official Chinese accounts with extreme caution until independent observers are allowed to investigate the incident. “China’s demonstrated lack of transparency when it comes to unrest in East Turkestan necessitates deep speculation of official Chinese claims,” said UAA president Alim Seytoff.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expressed its concern with regard to the secrecy surrounding the Kargilik incident. IFJ called upon the Central Government of China to respect the articles 6, 9 (1) and 10 of China’s Disclosure of Government Information Regulations, which order administrative departments to release information promptly after incidents of public great concern.

The root causes of the latest unrest have to be sought in the frustration of Uyghur people who have long suffered religious restrictions and job discrimination. Indeed, the encouragement of Han Chinese mass migration to the northwestern Uyghur majority region, as a part of central government´s assimilation program, has left the natives both economically and culturally marginalized in their own homeland. WUC spokesman Dilxat Raxit said the violence started because Uyghurs "could no longer bear China's systematic repression and are using primitive fighting methods to resist. Uyghurs have been completely stripped of any peaceful ways of resisting."

The incident comes only a few weeks after seven Uyghurs were extra judicially killed in Guma (Chinese: Pishan) County in an alleged attempt to flee the country in December 2011. A six-year-old boy is still missing since the incidents. One month later, in January 2012, the Chinese authorities announced that 8,000 police officers were recruited to “beef up security in the vast countryside” and “crack down on illegal religious activities.” One month after the Hotan and Kashgar incidents in July 2011, the Chinese government implemented a two-month “Strike Hard” campaign in East Turkestan “in order to strengthen anti-terrorism efforts.”

See also:

Dozen Killed in Xinjiang Violence
Radio Free Asia (RFA), 28 February 2012

Deaths reported in Kargilik, as tensions mount in the region
Uyghur American Association (UAA) Press Release, 28 February 2012

Immigration Tensions Led to Attack
Radio Free Asia (RFA), 29 February 2012

Ethnic violence renews information clampdown in China
Committee to Protect Journalists, 29 February 2012

IFJ Urges Government Disclosure Regarding Attacks in China’s Xinjiang Province
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), 5 March 2012


Joint WUC-UNPO Conference on Nuclear Testing in East Turkestan

WUC/UNPO, 2 March 2012 

On 29 February, László Tökés MEP, Kristiina Ojuland MEP and Vytautas Landsbergis MEP in collaboration with the WUC and UNPO convened a conference, “50 Years After Test 596: China’s Nuclear Programme In East Turkestan And Its Impacts Today”, at the European Parliament in Brussels to raise the issue of China´s nuclear testing conducted in East Turkestan during three decades.

For the first time the EU addressed the appalling consequences of Lop Nor nuclear tests, carried out from 1964 to 1996 and their heritage of cancer, birth defects and radiation-related illnesses in the area affected.

László Tökés MEP, committed himself to argue the plight of East Turkestan and Tibet on the occasion of MEPs official visit to China scheduled for the next months.

Co-sponsor of the conference, Kristiina Ojuland MEP, highlighted that Chinese authorities still refuse to acknowledge the existence of dire effects on both environment and peoples´ health and continue keeping the facts hidden under a veil of secrecy.

Such veil must be lifted, as pointed out by Marino Busdachin (UNPO General Secretary), also to show EU support to Uyghurs nonviolent campaign for their rights. It was important that the European Union “speak on behalf of the victims…to give voice to those silenced by a repressive government.”

Dolkun Isa (WUC Secretary General) noted, because despite “the sad heritage of devastating health and environmental effects” Beijing made it impossible for victims to seek redress.”

Enver Tohti (Independent Uyghur Medical Researcher), depicted Beijing’s unwillingness to address the issue and urged for “compensation to civilians, and money invested in medical facilities”. In this vein, Hanno Schedler (Society for Threatened Peoples) pressed Europe to “advocate for Human Rights in East Turkestan.” Attendees also learned of the background and possible effects of Beijing’s nuclear testing programme from Vincent Metten (International Campaign for Tibet) and Antoinette de Jong (Journalist). Jean-Marie Rogue (FIDH) and Dominique Lalanne (Armes Nucléaires STOP) discussed what could be done to correct the situation through existing mechanisms and the ways in which Beijing could act to compensate the civilian victims of the tests.

In addition, the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational Transparty (NRPTT), with the support of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), submitted a written statement entitled “Violation of Uyghurs’ right to health: Nuclear testing in Xinjiang” to the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council under item 4. The statement calls on the People’s Republic of China and the UN Human Rights Council to draw attention to, and address the issue of Lop Nor. It also requests that victims receive medical assistance, and for independent research to be conducted in the Lop Nor area to assess how great the risk is.

See also:

European Parliament Assessing the Impact of Nuclear Testing in Xinjiang
NTD News, 02 March, 2012 


MEDIA WORK
WUC Denounces Chinese Ideological Campaign in East Turkestan
On 14 February, the Xinjiang Regional Party Committee formally launched the so-called "Modernization and progress week", an ideological campaign aiming to spread the message about Party policies on ethnic minorities and religion, the People Daily reported. The campaign´s main purpose is to repress "illegal religious activities" through the use of "patriotic education”. The region's citizens will be therefore educated about the law, so that they become "new model citizens with a modern attitude."

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) criticised the “five strict measures” imposed by Chinese authorities within this campaign, namely fight against foreign hostile forces, strictly control any dangerous local people, crack down on criminal activities, strictly manage Party officials, and strictly educate cadres from the populace.

According to the WUC, authorities have investigated and punished members of 214 “illegal scripture reading and preaching sites” where 1,478 people were involved; 1,498 people have also been “corrected” for wearing the distinctive Uyghur ethnic outfit.

Furthermore, the WUC reported that the crackdown also includes armed police outside every mosque, house-to-house “strike hard” raids carried out every three months targeting Uyghur households in the middle of the night, and detaining anyone found in possession of religious material assessed unacceptable by Beijing, as well as photos, writings and DVDs featuring exiled Uyghur dissident Rebiya Kadeer. Moreover, Uyghur children are not allowed to worship at the mosque while the wording of sermons and the interpretations of the Quran have to be approved by governmental authorities.

WUC spokesman Dilxat Raxit stated that, as a result of such clampdown, Uyghur people are facing a crisis of faith. He added that if Chinese authorities do not change their approach to the issue, the ethnic conflict is likely to worsen in the foreseeable future.

See also:

Ideological Campaign Launched in Xinjiang
Radio Free Asia (RFA), 17 February 2012

Uyghur Congress Denounces China’s ‘Patriotic Education’
Epoch Times, 21 February 2012 
Rebiya Kadeer Speaks at UN Forum on Minorities
On 25 February, the Minority Voices Programme website posted an article concerning WUC President Rebiya Kadeer’s speech at the UN Forum on Minorities in November 2011. The conference convened by MRG and UNPO dealt with violence against women and their access to justice. Ms. Kadeer pointed out the plight of Uyghur women in China, both in their workplace and familiar circle. She also denounced the inhuman and unfair trails resulting in the sentence to death of several teenage Uyghur women in the aftermath of July 2009 clashes in Urumqi.
WUC Firmly Rejects Beijing´s Accusations regarding Kargilik Incident
In a 1 March press release, the WUC firmly rejected Beijing´s accusations stating that the organization has played a role in the Kargilik incident of 28 February. The WUC reiterated once again its strong commitment to the principle of nonviolence and to peaceful and democratic means for the solution of the conflict in East Turkestan. Furthermore, the WUC called on the international community to view official statements about the incident with extreme precaution, and look into the root causes of such sad events.
Uyghur Youth Union in Kazakhstan Launched a New Website
Sponsored by the Uyghur Youth Union in Kazakhstan, the official launch ceremony of www.uighur.kz was held on 5 March in Almaty with the participation of representatives from a number of Uyghur civil societies in Kazakhstan.
UAA Concerned about Chinese Authorities’ “Three Evil” Rhetoric
In a 7 March press release, UAA commented on the remarks that the regional Xinjiang governor and Communist Party chief made during the National People’s Congress (NPC), held in Beijing. The organization declared its concern about the foreseeable consequences of such remarks on Uyghur people in East Turkestan. Official Chinese media reported Xinjiang governor pledging that the government will strongly commit itself in the fight against the three evil forces of separatism, extremism and terrorism. Furthermore, he was quoted adding that the latest Kargilik incident, in southern East Turkestan had triggered by Islamic separatists linked to terrorist cells based in Pakistan. UAA concern is far deeper since memories of the appalling consequences of previous similar remarks made by the governor himself and other Chinese authorities are still vivid.  In early 2009 they led to a harsh security campaign against Uyghurs, including house-to-house searches, mass arrests, security checks, and raids of peaceful religious gatherings. According to UAA president Alim Seytoff, Chinese insistence to target the unrests as localized phenomena carried out by Islamic extremists will do nothing but exacerbate ethnic tension and starker crackdowns in the area.

PAST EVENTS
WUC and ETCSA Meet with Members of the Turkish Parliament
On the occasion of the official visit of the Chinese vice president Xi Jinping to Turkey, on 14 February a WUC delegation including WUC vice president Seyit Tumturk, Assistant Secretary of the WUC Tuygun Abduweli and the head of the Ankara Office of the East Turkestan Culture and Solidarity Association Hayrullah Efendigil hold meetings in the Turkish Parliament with the Director of the Human Rights Committee of the Turkish Parliament Aygan Sefer, vice president of the Republican People's Party and Member of the Turkish Parliament Muharrem Inci, as well as Members of the Turkish Parliament Sabahet Akkiraz and Sezgin Tanrikulu. The WUC appealed to the Turkish politicians to raise the Uyghur issue during the upcoming Chinese vice president's visit to Turkey.
“The Uyghur Turks” Published in Turkey
The former WUC president Erkin Alptekin's book titled "The Uyghur Turks" was translated into Arabic and published by the Taklamakan Publishing Center in Turkey on 17 February.
Uyghurs at Tibetan Film Festival in Paris
From 17-18 February, the second edition of the Tibet Film Festival was held in Paris, organized by Students for Free Tibet, France in collaboration with the Foundation for Universal Responsibility in a bid to raise awareness on the plight of Tibetans under Chinese rule.  The Uyghur community attended as a special invitee, presenting the film on the Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer “The 10 Conditions of Love”, and joining the panel discussion on the opening day of the event.
Uyghur Protests during Xi Jinping´s Visit to Turkey
On the occasion of Xi Jinping´s official three-day visit to Turkey, on 21 February, about 60 Uyghurs protested in Ankara outside the hotel where Chinese Vice President was holding talks with the Turkish authorities. In the aftermath of the bloodshed of July 2009 in Urumqi, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had portrayed the events as genocide. During the talks the leaders also signed an economic cooperation agreement which is supposed to boost their bilateral trade.
Uyghur Activities During China Cultural Year 2012 in Turkey
On the occasion of the 2012 China Culture Year in Turkey, WUC vice president Seyit Tumturk attended several events from 23 February to 6 March in different Turkish provinces. On 23 February and again on 2 March, while he was visiting Zonguldak and Canakkale Province, he spoke about the human rights abuses of the Uyghur people by China during a televised interview by the Canal "67" and Canal "17". He also attended two conferences titled "East Turkestan Issue - The Past and Today", convened by the Karaelmas University Strategic Research Center and the Canakkale University Student Union.
During these events WUC vice president presented a comprehensive report on the situation of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan. Mr. Tumturk has also met with the Governors of Zonguldak and Canakkale Province, Mayors of Zonguldak city and of Canakkale as well as presidents of the Karaelmas and Canakkale Universities. At the end of his journey, he presented a report on the current situation in East Turkestan and Uyghur people during a conference on 6 March held at the Erciyes University in Kayseri Province.
Lecture on East Turkestan in Ankara
The Ankara Office of the East Turkestan Culture and Solidarity Association in Turkey hosted a lecture about the current situation in East Turkestan, which was presented by the president of the Turkey-Turkmenistan Friendship Association Kadir Tosun on 4 March.
Conference by Uyghur Japan Association in Tokyo
Turmemet Hashim from the Uyghur Japan Association attended a conference on Uyghurs and Tibetans on 8 March in Tokyo. He presented a speech on the current situation of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan emphasizing the recent incidents in the Kargilik county of East Turkestan on 28 February.
19th Session UN Human Rights Council
Currently, the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland. On 9 March, WUC Project Coordinator Jana Brandt, on behalf of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) delivered an oral statement on human rights violations against the Uyghurs during the general debate on item 3 (“Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development”). In its statement, the STP addressed arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances of hundreds of Uyghurs in recent years. 

On 13 March, Ms. Brandt, on behalf of the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational Transparty (NRPTT) delivered an oral statement on human rights violations against the Uyghurs people during the general debate on item 4 (“Human rights situations that require the Council´s attention”). In its oral statement, the NRPTT expressed its concerns over the increased religious oppression in East Turkestan. Restrictions imposed by the Chinese authorities include, but are not limited to, bans on religious clothing, strict control of religious leaders, and censorship campaigns against “illegal propaganda materials.”


UPCOMING EVENTS
Uyghur Nowruz Celebrations
On 1 April, the East Turkestan Union in Europe will organize a Nowruz celebration in Munich, Germany. Celebrations will also take place in Washington D.C. (24 March), Oslo (24 March), Amsterdam (3 April) and Istanbul, staged by exiled Uyghur communities. This year the main event will be held in Munich from 17:00 to 20:00 at the Gasteig, Rosenheimer Straße 5. The London-based London Uyghur Ensemble will play traditional and popular Uyghur music. Nowruz is the Uyghur, Central Asian Turkish speaking and Iranian peoples´ New Year. The World Uyghur Congress calls on Uyghur community to take part in the celebrations.
WUC General Assembly and Leadership Training Seminar, Tokyo
In May 2012, WUC´s 4th General Assembly (14 – 17 May), as well as the 6th Leadership training Seminar (18 – 20 May) will be held in Tokyo, Japan. Uyghur delegates from all over the world will elect the new WUC leadership and discuss on the future strategy to raise the Uyghur legitimate cause for freedom and democracy. Leaders of different Japanese political parties, Members of Parliament, and government officials as well as the representatives of international human rights organizations will be invited to the Opening Ceremony. The Opening Ceremony will take place on 14 May at the Japanese Parliament and is open to the public.

HIGHLIGHTED MEDIA ARTICLES AND REPORTS ON UYGHUR RELATED ISSUES
EU-China Summit: a Failed Opportunity to Raise Human Rights Issues
On 23 February, the Public Service Europe website published an article by Phelim Kine, senior Asia researcher at New York-based campaign group Human Rights Watch. In the aftermath of the EU-China Summit held in Beijing on 14 February, Kine criticized the EU’s far too compliant attitude towards China in regard to human rights abuses. The summit´s joint press communiqué only made general reference to human rights issues referring to "cooperation on human rights based on equality and mutual respect" without any mention to current rights abuses committed by Chinese authorities. The researcher urged the EU to show its support to the peaceful public protest spreading throughout China, as it had done towards the 2011 Arab spring.
Uyghur Woman Arrested For Petitioning
On 2 March, Radio Free Asia reported that the Uyghur woman Nurgul Tohti, 35, was detained in Aksu prefecture for having repeatedly petitioned the authorities over the human trafficking of her seven-year-old son. RFA interviewed the woman while she was in detention. Tohti said her son Tayir was abducted in September 2009 by a suspected mafia gang member. The boy was released 24 hours later and she believes that he was sexually abused during his captivity. Tohti sought help from municipal officials, demanding that Tayir’s captor be charged with human trafficking and seeking redress for her child’s ordeal. But the authorities said that they were unable to charge the suspect. Then, she tried several times to appeal to the central authorities in Beijing but she was always jailed or blocked before leaving. She claims to have been detained illegally and to be victim of ethnic discrimination. 
Research: Uyghur Diaspora and Diasporic Identity 
On 3 March, Grotius International published an article by Dilnur Reyhan, Research Doctorate in Sociology at Strasburg University, France, titled Diaspora ouïghoure et identité diasporique (Uyghur Diaspora and diasporic identity). The author analyses the Uyghur migration in the world arguing if one can account it as a real diaspora and, whether the answer is affirmative, portraying the advantages for Uyghurs migrants. Ms. Reyhan draws a scheme of Uyghur diaspora from the 1950s to the 1990s and describes how it has widened from the Asian neighbouring countries to the Western countries (Canada, Australia, US, Europe) especially in the latest years. Besides, she provides some approximate figures on Uyghur migration to these countries. Furthermore, the influence of new technologies on the Uyghur diaspora is stressed: internet and the social networks have become major tools to spread the awareness on the Uyghur plight in migrants´ host countries and in the whole world, as well as to strengthen the ties between migrants and their homeland and to consolidate migrants´ consciousness of their common identity. In conclusion, the author notes the strengthening of both religious and Turkish identity, among migrants settled in Turkey in particular. The full article is available in French here.
China Again Among the Worst “Enemies of Internet”
As in 2011, China is again one of the worst internet enemies in the world, according to Reporters Without Borders. In regard to China, the report "Enemies of the Internet" published on 12 March 2012 explains how during the last year the country reinforced its technical capacity and stepped up pressure on privately owned Internet companies in order to secure their collaboration. As other countries in the list, China combines often drastic content filtering with access restrictions, tracking of cyber-dissidents and online propaganda. In the wake of the Arab spring China reinforced online contents filtering in order to avoid similar events to take place inside the country. Moreover, China pays bloggers to post messages endorsed by the party. It can rely on a well-trained cyber police as well as on some 40,000 microblogs to spread propaganda messages. China, followed by Vietnam and Iran, has the largest number of netizens in prison again this year. Among the others, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo remains behind bars. Despite the growing disapproval of the international community, China continues defending the principle of a “code of good conduct for the Internet”, through which it actually legitimizes its severe censorship.
8th Year in Prison for Uyghur writer Nurmuhemmet Yasin
Since 29 November 2004, Yasin is serving a ten-year sentence on charge of “inciting Uyghur separatism”. He was arrested along with the editor of the bi-monthly Uyghur-language Kashgar Literature Journal, Korash Huseyin, following the publication of his short story Wild Pigeon (Yawa Kepter). After a closed trial, reportedly carrying out without a lawyer, he was transferred on 19 May 2005 to Urumqi No.1 Prison, where he is still detained today. The Wild pigeon tells the story of a young pigeon who, after being trapped and caged by humans, prefers to commit suicide rather than living without freedom. The Chinese censorship did not accept what it deemed to be an implicit reference to the Communist government´s harsh policy towards ethnic minorities and lack of freedom of speech and expression in the whole country, in particular in East Turkestan. Since his arrest no visitors have been allowed, neither his wife nor his two young sons.

Nurmuhemmet Yasin has been nominated Honorary Member of the English, American and Independent Chinese PEN Centres. Among his main literary works and prose-poems one can mention, to name just a few, the poetry collections First Love, Crying from the Heart and Come on Children. The full article as well as the English translation of Yasin´s story “Wild Pigeon” is available here.


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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© 2012 World Uyghur Congress    |    Published: 21 March  2012
 
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