China’s Autonomy: Means to Deprive the Uyghur People’s Political Rights

Released July 21, 2004
July 21, 2004

Washington (UIA) – The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) has denounced Chinese officials’ recent praise of the autonomy arrangement in East Turkestan for the past half-century and demanded China to respect the rights of the Uyghur people.

“The Chinese autonomy arrangement has actually deprived the Uyghur people of their political rights,” Dilshat Rishit, spokesperson for WUC, said. “Because the Uyghur people have not been the beneficiary of this arrangement but the millions of Chinese who immigrated into East Turkestan have been.”

According to China’s Central Television (CCTV) report, Ismail Televaldi, governor of ‘Xinjiang’, in an exclusive interview with the station on July 20th praised the success of China’s autonomy arrangement and thanked the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for its support and guidance in ‘Xinjiang’ in the past 50 years.

Televaldi said, “Without the sincere support of CCP, the State Cabinet, and the peoples of all nationalities, ‘Xinjiang’ would not have achieved such remarkable prosperity, stability, unity, and change.”

Although Televaldi is an ethnic Uyghur but majority of the Uyghur people consider him a figurehead handpicked by Beijing to serve China’s political interests by misrepresenting the overall aspirations of the Uyghur people in both East Turkestan and abroad.

The People’s Republic of China officially changed the name East Turkestan into Xinjiang and established it as a Uyghur Autonomous Region in 1955. However, Beijing has never honored the autonomy guaranteed the Uyghur people in its Constitution and Autonomous Laws. The Uyghurs do not enjoy minimal autonomy under Beijing’s iron rule.