PRESS RELEASE: Festival of Uyghur Culture and Democracy: A Celebration of the East Turkistan Republics

Press Release – For immediate release
November 4, 2019
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
+49 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

On November 9, 2019, the World Uyghur Congress in cooperation with the East Turkistan Union in Europe, the Uyghur Mothers in Germany, the Uyghur Women Association Arzu and the Ilham Tohti Initiative will hold a cultural event at Max-Joseph-Platz from 13:00-17:00 in Munich, Germany to commemorate the founding of the two East Turkistan Republics in 1933 and 1944. The event is open to the general public and is supported by the Migrationsbeirat and the Kulturreferat of the city of Munich.

After the end of the Manchu Empire in 1911, the Chinese central government had little control over East Turkistan. The Uyghurs were set to free themselves from Chinese foreign rule and twice (in 1933 and in 1944) succeeded in establishing an independent East Turkistan Republic (ETR). However, these independent republics were both eventually overthrown by military interventions of the Soviet Union.

In October 1949, People’s Liberation Army troops marched into East Turkistan, effectively ending the ETR. The Chinese communists subsequently established the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) on the territory of East Turkistan. For the following 70 years, the Chinese government has implemented policies to culturally assimilate the Uyghur people to the Han Chinese by all means possible.

Today, between one and three million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims are being arbitrarily detained in internment camps. At the same time, the Chinese government is using East Turkistan as a testing ground for one of the world’s most advanced and intrusive surveillance systems. Many have now labelled the region a ‘police state’ given the level of monitoring and control of the population. 

The festival, therefore, aims to promote Uyghur culture, democracy and respect for human rights by showcasing the rich and genuine culture of Uyghur dance, music and food, which is at grave risk to be lost amid China’s sinicization policy towards ethnic minority groups.

We would like to cordially invite anyone interested in a genuine cultural experience to join us on November 9, from 13:00-17:00, for Uyghur dance, song and food at Max-Joseph-Platz in Munich!