Diaspora Essays

Independence for Uighurs or death By Shohret Hoshur

Independence for Uighurs or death

Thu, Aug 19, 2021 page8
  • Independence for Uighurs or death

    • By Shohret Hoshur

    In the article “Calls for Independence May Not Help the Uyghur Cause” published in Foreign Policy on July 2, Yehan, writing under a pseudonym, argued that calls for independence might not help the Uighur cause.

    As a senior journalist and person who belongs to the affected community, I argue that not calling for independence from China means accepting genocide.

    Uighurs and Han have no common ground for living together. When they are forced to do so, as we are witnessing today, one side kills the other.

    Independence is needed because Uighurs are not reaching for freedom or development, but for survival.

    Let us put aside the history of East Turkistan, including the question of who is the true owner and who the invader, and the vast cultural differences between Han and Uighur communities, as well as the psychological uniqueness of the two groups. Just look at accounts of events and clashes in the region in past decades.

    China has since 1950 launched more than 100 campaigns against Uighur separatists, with names such as “Land Reform Movement,” “Anti-Rightist Campaign,” “Cultural Revolution” or “Strike Hard Campaign Against Violent Terrorism.”

    A 2017 white paper said: “Since 2014, Xinjiang has destroyed 1,588 violent and terrorist gangs, arrested 12,995 terrorists and punished 30,645 people for 4,858 illegal religious activities.”

    The Global Terrorism Database recorded more than 270 terror acts in China from 1989 to 2019, mostly in Uighur areas.

    Another white paper said: “Incomplete statistics show that, from 1990 to the end of 2016, separatist, terrorist and extremist forces launched thousands of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang.”

    Uighur activists say that some of the incidents were about fighting for freedom, while others were about self defense.

    However, most of China’s state terrorism is aimed at innocent Uighurs. This is especially true of the ongoing campaign, which began in 2017 and is aimed at “eliminating religious extremists.”

    In Xinjiang’s 380 concentration camps, more than 3 million Uighurs are mentally and physically tortured.

    Whatever you call things — whether terror or liberation, concentration camp or vocational training center — the irrefutable reality is that there is unalterable hatred and an untreatable wound between the Uighurs of East Turkistan and the Han of China.

    This was also revealed in one of China’s own documents.

    In the 2017 white paper, Qiu Yuanyuan (邱媛媛), a researcher at the party school of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, described the situation: “In 2014, 2015 and 2016, our strike-hard campaigns in Xinjiang were very broad and rigorous. It was impossible for their relatives not to be heartbroken and angry with us; therefore, to maintain stability, we established the comprehensive training camps, even though they had committed no actual crimes.”

    The document proved that campaigns launched before the camps were established caused a loss of mutual trust between Han and Uighur communities.

    If there was unresolved hatred before 2017, imagine how it is today, after millions of families have been separated forcibly, millions of children have been orphaned and innumerable people have died in the camps.

    After so much tragedy, so much pain, so much killing, so much jailing, how can a country be united?

    Some people believe that calling for independence might push the Chinese public to side with the Chinese government against the Uighurs.

    However, Chinese already march in lockstep with their government.

    Why do the Chinese neighbors of Uighurs held in camps not ask: “Where are these people? Where did they go?”

    Why do CCP cadres not ask: “What kind of kinship is this? Why do we sleep in Uighurs’ houses?”

    When millions of orphans are squatting in classrooms, why do their teachers not protest and speak out, saying that it is torture, not education?

    How can a Chinese judge who ordered a 15-year sentence for praying still sleep comfortably?

    It is either naive or hypocritical to think that the Uighur genocide is being executed by the CCP alone. Separating it from the strong support of the public is a deceit of oneself and others.

    There were British supporters of India’s struggle for independence; blacks in the US were not separated from whites after the civil rights movement; and Russian human rights advocates supported Chechen separatists.

    Yet, in the nearly 100-year East Turkestan independence struggle, Chinese have almost never been at the front lines with Uighurs.

    Meanwhile in the free world, more than 30 Chinese organizations in the Netherlands have written a protest letter to the Dutch government over its condemnation of the Uighur genocide, and Canadian Senator Yuen Pau Woo (胡元豹) voiced opposition against a Canadian Senate motion calling the situation in Xinjiang “genocide,” leading to a majority of senators declining it.

    Yuen exonerated the CCP with the theory of output and input legitimacy, saying that China’s actions are acceptable due to its praiseworthy economic success.

    Meanwhile, Yehan’s key argument is that the “CCP is exploiting the dominance of the independence movement in the narrative. The Chinese public has been trained for decades to treat ‘separatists,’ whether in Xinjiang or Taiwan, effectively as traitors, and to see the integrity of the country’s modern borders as key to national identity.”

    Should the Chinese be educated? China’s living standard is above the global average, and many Chinese have been educated in the US or Europe, and yet, there has been little desire among them to democratically elect a government.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) abolished his term limit, and there was no opposition.

    Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), who gave up his life in a free world for China’s democratization, died in prison, and there was no protest.

    When COVID-19 started spreading in Wuhan, Beijing tried to hide it. Many Chinese have died, yet the public has not held the government accountable.

    Instead, Beijing punished eight doctors who publicly warned about the virus, and this has not even sparked debate.

    Chinese, who are not eager for freedom for themselves, do not wish freedom for others.

    Under Beijing’s rule, no matter whether democratic or autocratic, there is only one path for the Uighurs, and that path is death.

    Despite countless disadvantages of Uighur independence, there are some advantages.

    Uighurs are not alone on the battlefield of genocide. What China is doing is against the will of God. Being an Uighur is not a choice; genocide is against the basic rule of humanity.

    Eventually, the world will realize that it needs to stop China from killing others. God and humanity are with the Uighurs.

    Even under the most conservative marriage law, couples are allowed to divorce if there is a loss of trust, and they are ordered to immediately separate if there is evidence that one of them is doing harm to the other.

    For the Uighurs, the issue at hand is not whether to separate from China, but when and how to do it. The difficulty of the problem should not cause Uighurs to cover it up or escape from it.

    Not calling for independence might destroy the Uighur cause and help China eliminate Uighurs from the face of the Earth.

    Shohret Hoshur is a Uighur-American journalist

“But a thorn was left in our tongue …”

“But a thorn was left in our tongue …”

Aziz Isa Elkun by Aziz Isa Elkun

  25 June 2021 in Culture and Society 

Academic Aziz Isa Elkun (left) and Poet Adil Tunyaz (right)

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London (Brussels Morning) The Uyghurs love poetry, which is very special to them. It is an essential part of Uyghur cultural heritage and expression, and plays an important role in the continuation of creativity and developing the Uyghur language and literature. 

The poet Adil Tunyaz shocked the Uyghur world with his poem, written in 1992, “Qeshqerdiki yershari” (The earth of the city of Kashgar). It was read by many Uyghurs, and he became one of our most celebrated poets, with a special place in the hearts of the Uyghurs. 

يۇلتۇزلار پەرۋاز قىلار تاڭ سەھەردە،

پەسىللەر پەرۋاز قىلار دەرەخلەردە،

بۇ شەھەر پەرۋاز قىلار چۆچەكلەردە.

بۇ يەردىكى ئادەملەر،

پەرۋاز قىلار يۈرەكلەردە.

The stars are soaring at dawn,

The seasons are flying in the trees,

The city is soaring in legends.

The people here,

Soar in our hearts.

Who is Adil Tunyaz? 

He was born in 1970 into a teacher’s family in Qaghiliq County of Kashgar Prefecture.  After graduating from the Literature Faculty of Xinjiang University in 1993, he worked as a reporter for the Xinjiang People’s Radio Station in Urumchi.  

I first met Adil in September 1989 when both of us were studying at Xinjiang University. I studied Russian at the Foreign Languages Department, and Adil studied Literature at the Literature department. These two departments were located inside a two-storey Soviet-style building; we called it “seriq bina” (the yellow building) because its walls were painted yellow. In those years, our student lives were full of turmoil; we had experienced a series of demonstrations and protests in the fast-changing political landscape of China before the Tiananmen Student movement was brutally oppressed. 

Though we were university students, our daily life was regimented; we had two compulsory evening self-study sessions after dinner.  Adil was interested in learning the Russian language, and sometimes he came to our classroom to learn. Sometimes I attended the seminars organised by the Literature department. He was already known amongst our year group as a poet. 

Many years later, in August 2010, I met him for the second time when I visited Urumchi, obtaining his contact details from another university friend. At the time when many of his poetry books were published, including the famous “Qeshqerdiki yershari” (The earth of the city of Kashgar), I was in London and busy studying English. Still, I could read some of his poems from time to time via the internet.

Today, I found two of his poetry books on my bookshelves. I opened their pages, and saw that in both of the books, he had signed his name with a short message for me: “presented to my penfriend Aziz Isa. From Adil Tunyaz. 27th August 2012, Urumchi”.  On that day, we first arranged to meet at the Youth Park on Yan’an Road. At the park, finally, I met him with my family, including my two young daughters. Of course, our language was Uyghur, but my youngest daughter replied to his questions in English. We had a short but enjoyable time together. That evening, I visited his house, accepting his invitation. We had a brief chat while drinking tea. 

Almost a week after that, a few of my friends invited me to have lunch in a Uyghur restaurant in Itipaq Road, in Urumchi. Adil was at that gathering, and soon after, as we were getting ready to depart, we  shook hands to say goodbye. He then handed me a piece of paper and said “this a poem for you and your London-born daughters…”.  We tried to talk a bit longer but “but a thorn was stuck in our tongues” to use an expression, as so many eyes were watching around us. I have not seen him since then, but I hope it will not be our last meeting.

I was also severely affected by the Uyghur genocide of the last three years, losing contact with family member and friends. But I didn’t forget friends like Adil and many others. I did not write or say anything about them, because I wished peace for them. But, unfortunately, this wish and silence didn’t work, it didn’t bring any respite for them. Instead, I heard that he was arrested and his family torn apart. 

Finally, after attending the London Uyghur Tribunal last week, listening to camp survivors’ horrific reports of trauma from inside the Chinese concentration camps, I increasingly worried about Adil Tunyaz and his wife Nezire Muhammad Salih. I thought of all my arrested friends in Urumchi and other cities and towns in the Uyghur homeland. The situation of the Uyghurs is so tragic; it affects all of our lives, wherever we now live. 

I found Adil’s poetry books and the poem he wrote for my daughters and me, and some photos that were taken when I visited him in 2012. 


Dedicated to A.I. 

Finally, we met

First on the phone –

Then as fast as before dusk falls

A red taxi parked next to us

Left no trace of misery,

But a thorn was left in our tongue.

Your blessing belongs in a foreign language

Your two daughters as white as snow

And they have no worries

They flew with the English language for a while

With their semi-transparent wings.

They have fallen. 

In to the Uyghur language –

That language that God blessed

There is a sky underneath, and its top is covered tight 

It means forever, and the letters can reach.

The silence is going fast.

Faster than a sword

I pulled back my tongue with shock

Try to avoid even talking about the pigeon

The notebook erased itself in white

But my pen is louder than a bow’s string …

If a lamb was born in a stable

Grass starts to grow in the stream

My fourth son was born, and he will be coming out

To the streets where the moon and stars come out …

A stalk of black grapes

They are hanging over the white paper,

If you don’t eat, I’ll eat

Oh readers, the night is just one page.

Adil Tunyaz

Urumchi, August 27, 2012

(Translated by Aziz Isa Elkun)

He published the following collections of poetry: “If I fell in love with you” (Söyüp qalsam séni nawada); “The secrecy of a single poet” (Boytaq sha’irning mexpiyiti); “Eyes under the neqab” (Chümbeldiki köz); “The street on the sea” (Déngizdiki kocha).

He also published an anthology of articles: “Nights in the land of the Prophet” (Peyghembir diyaridiki kéchiler)

According to the RFA Uyghur Service  and United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, “Adil Tuniyaz and his wife, Nezire Muhammad Salih, were both arrested in December 2017. Their eldest son, Imran (19 years old), was also arrested at a Beijing school where he was studying Arabic. Imran was reportedly sent to a detention facility in Xinjiang. It is believed that their three younger children have been placed in state-run orphanages for Uyghur youth whose guardians have been detained. Adil’s father-in-law, the well-known Uyghur scholar Muhammad Salih Hajim, died in a re-education camp in Urumchi in January 2018.”

Under the brutal apartheid policies pursued by Xi Jinping since 2016, well over a million Uyghurs are suffering inhuman treatment in the internment camps within the Uyghur region. 

China is mass arresting innocent Uyghurs and deliberately targeting Uyghur intellectuals, including academics, writers, poets, artists and teachers. China claimed these internment camps’ purpose is to “re-educate Uyghurs” or for “vocational training”, but these intellectuals do not need re-educating or vocational training. They are all professionals and many used to work in the Chinese government. The targeting of Uyghur intellectuals reveals that China aims to destroy the Uyghur ethnic group and force the Uyghur to be assimilated into the Han Chinese.

Today, there are an estimated 500 Uyghur intellectuals arrested or kept in Chinese internment camps, and Adil Tunayz and Nezire Muhammad Salih are among them. 

Western democracies and international institutions including the U.N. must protect these innocent people’s rights to live freely in this world. China must be held accountable for its atrocities, that constitute crimes against humanity. While I am writing these lines, I heard the Czech Senate has declared that China is perpetrating genocide against the Uyghurs ahead of the key vote in the Belgian Parliament. I hope that many European countries will join this condemnation sooner rather than later.  Keeping the promise of “never again” and protecting lives from genocide is the responsibility of all of us. 

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Aziz Isa Elkun

Aziz Isa Elkun is an academic and project director of Uyghur PEN.


The world must act on China’s Uyghur genocide by Aziz Isa Elkun

The world must act on China’s Uyghur genocide by Aziz Isa Elkun

Aziz Isa Elkun by Aziz Isa Elkun

  6 May 2021 in Opinion The world must act on China’s Uyghur genocide Share on FacebookShare on Twitter  

As a Uyghur, I’m urging the world to start acting on the genocide of China’s Muslims, writes Aziz Isa Elkun.

London (Brussels Morning) I am an ethnic Uyghur, born in the Uyghur homeland. I grew up in a remote village which is 300 km away from the Chinese Lop Nur Nuclear test site. 

What do I remember from my early childhood? First comes the red guards of the “Chinese Cultural Revolution”, then starvation, then the sandstorm dust from the nuclear site. 

I graduated from “Xinjiang” University in 1991, then, I was offered a public administration job in Aksu city. Six months later, I was fired with the accusation of ‘separatist action’ against the ‘Chinese motherland’. I then joined the ranks of the unemployed, along with millions of Uyghurs in the 1990s. What ensued was not pleasant. As a Uyghur, I experienced harassment and racial profiling. I came to the UK seeking political asylum in 2001 and settled in London. 

Actually, I found the accusation of separatism by the Chinese Communist regime farcical. It’s hilarious that a 16-year-old high school student can face allegations of attempting the dismemberment of the ‘Chinese motherland’. My only ‘crime was writing a poster: “We remember 12 December Urumchi Uyghur student demonstration, we demand equal rights and democracy for the Uyghurs …”; and I posted it on the headmaster’s office door.  Although this incident happened 35 years ago, the memory is fresh, and the wrath of the Chinese Communist Regime made me a true “dissident”, living a life in exile.

To be clear, the Uyghurs never aimed to separate Shanghai or Beijing or any Han Chinese territory. But we are trying to survive the Chinese genocide. We wish to live in our own independent country, peacefully, with our dignity and rights, preserving our language, culture and heritage.

The Uyghurs are ethnic and linguistically a Turkic people; they began to believe in Islam in the 10th century. Throughout their 4,000-year history, the Uyghurs established many independent states like Uyghur State in the 7th century; the Karakhanid State in the 10th century and Uyghur Saidiye State in the 15th century.  The Uyghur homeland is in the heart of Central Asia, stretching along a landmass bigger than Western Europe and providing more than 40% of China’s critical natural resources. It was officially designated as the Uyghur Autonomous Region by the Chinese constitution in 1955, five years after the Chinese occupied the whole region with Stalin’s military assistance.


Therefore, geographically, culturally and historically, Uyghurs prefer to call their homeland East Turkistan, after the name of the two short-lived East Turkistan Republics established in the 1930s and 1940s. But many Uyghurs of the Diaspora, especially in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, refer to their homeland as “Uyghuristan”. Obviously, the name of “Xinjiang” is considered colonial and politicised. In Chinese, Xinjiang means “new territory,” a term first used by the Manchu empire when it occupied the Uyghur homeland in 1884. Chinese Nationalists and Communists inherited this colonial name, which Uyghurs regard as offensive.   

Since 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping started pursuing ethnic cleansing policies towards the Uyghurs. Under his brutal regime, over 3 million Uyghurs are detained in internment camps within the Uyghur region. The regime has built a massive network of camps or “modern high-tech surveillance prisons” across the region. Media reports talk of camps with up to 10,000 detainees. 

China is not only mass arresting millions of innocent Uyghurs but also deliberately targeting Uyghur intellectuals, including academics, writers, poets, artists, teachers and medical doctors and so on. Beijing often claims that these camps are built to “re-educate Uyghurs” and offer “vocational training”. But these intellectuals do not need re-education or vocational training. 

Uyghurs in exile are also suffering because China has cut off all communication between Uyghurs at home and abroad. 

My father passed away on 4 November 2017; I heard about his death four days later through a friend. I am the only biological child of my parents. I hoped to visit my parents and look after my ill father, who did not have much time left to live, but in 2016 the Chinese embassy in London refused my appeal for a visa on humanitarian grounds. After New Year 2018, my communication with my elderly mother was cut off. Since then, I have no news about my mother and other relatives from our village. 


On 15 April 2019, I discovered from Google Earth that the graveyard and tomb of my father were all destroyed. My father stayed in his tomb for only 623 days. I felt as if my father’s body had been brutally torn out of its resting place in our ancestors’ land. 

For many years now, the Chinese government has become obsessive about Uyghurs’ Islamic beliefs, but China must understand that Uyghurs’ belief in Islam existed 1,000 years before they established China’s Communist regime.

As a Uyghur, I would like to note that China can perhaps change the Uyghurs’ way of life through systematic and forced assimilation. But our hands and minds are more resilient.

Many of you know that China’s genocidal campaign did not start with the notorious Concentration Camps, set up in 2017, it started with the occupation of the Uyghur homeland in 1949. Now the US, Canada, the Netherlands and the UK parliaments and governments recognise that what happened to China’s Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim people is a genocide. We hope more western democracies will join that list sooner rather than later.

It’s an absolute moral and principal obligation of the world, including all UN member states, to save innocent people’s lives from genocide. The human consciousness of the world, especially the western countries, cannot afford to stay idle while another “never again” holocaust is happening in the 21st century. The world must protect the Uyghurs and save their lives from China’s genocide. It’s too dangerous for the world that China can go free so long with its crimes against humanity while deceiving the world with its lies. 

It is in everyone’s interest for the world to be a peaceful place where all humans can live happily regardless of their race, faith, colour and culture. Therefore, the world must hold China accountable for genocide against the Uyghur people.

The man in chains is my father By Subi Mamat Yuksel

The man in chains is my father
The man in chains is my father

The man in chains is my father by Subhi Memet

سۈبھى مەمەت: كىشەنلەنگەن كىشى مېنىڭ دادام

  سۈبھى مەمەت: «كىشەنلەنگەن كىشى مېنىڭ دادام»«ئىككى يۈزلىمىچى» لەرگە زەربە بېرىش دولقۇنىدا تۇتقۇن قىلىنغان ئورمانچىلىق نازارىتىنىڭ سابىق نازىرى مەمەت ئابدۇللا سوتلانماقتا. 2019-يىلى. ئۈرۈمچى. Subi Memet Teminligen. 00:00/06:08ﺋﺎﯕﻼﺵ ﺋﺎﯞﺍﺯﻧﻰ ﻛﯚﭼﯜﺭﯛﺵ

خىتاي ھۆكۈمىتى ئۇيغۇر ئېلىدا 2017-يىلىدىن بېرى «ئىككى يۈزلىمىچىلەرگە قارشى تۇرۇش» دېگەن نام ئاستىدا نۇرغۇن ئۇيغۇر ئەمەلدارلىرىنى تۇتقۇن قىلغان ئىدى. ئۇيغۇر ئاپتونوم رايونلۇق ئورمانچىلىق نازارىتىنىڭ سابىق نازىرى مەمەت ئابدۇللا بۇ دولقۇندا تۇتقۇن قىلىنغانلىقى دەلىللەنگەن يۇقىرى دەرىجىلىك ئۇيغۇر ئەمەلدارلارنىڭ بىرى.

مەمەت ئابدۇللانىڭ ئامېرىكادا تۇرۇشلۇق قىزى سۈبھىنىڭ بىلدۈرۈشىچە، دادىسى مەمەت ئابدۇللا 2017-يىلى 29-ئاپرېل ئامېرىكاغا كېلىش سەپىرىنىڭ ئالدىدا خىتاي دۆلەت خەۋپسىزلىكى ئىدارىسىنىڭ خادىملىرى تەرىپىدىن تۇتۇپ كېتىلگەن. شۇنىڭدىن كېيىن ئۇ دادىسنىڭ ئەھۋالدىن ھېچقانداق خەۋەر ئالالمىغان بولۇپ، يېقىندا ئاپىسى ۋە ھەدىسى پەقەت تېلېفون ئارقىلىق كۆرۈشتۈرۈلگەن.

سۈبھى مەمەت بۇ ھەقتە رادىيومىزنىڭ زىيارىتىنى قوبۇل قىلىپ مۇنداق دېدى: «گەرچە ئاپام ماڭا ‹دادىڭىزنىڭ ئاۋازىنى ئاڭلىدىم، دادىڭىز ھاياتكەن، › دېگەن بولسىمۇ، ئەمما ئىشەنگۈم كەلمىدى.»

سۈبھى مەمەت خەلقئارا مەتبۇئاتلار ئارقىلىق خىتاي ھۆكۈمىتىدىن دادىسىنىڭ قويۇپ بېرىلىشىنى تەلەپ قىلىپ كېلىۋاتقان بولۇپ، 16-ئاپرېل «ۋاشىنگتون پوچتىسى» گېزىتىدە ئۇنىڭ «خىتاي ھۆكۈمىتىگە نەچچە ئون يىل خىزمەت قىلىشمۇ دادامنى تۈرمىدىن قۇتۇلدۇرالمىدى» سەرلەۋھىلىك بىر پارچە ماقالىسى ئېلان قىلغان.

مەزكۇر ماقالىدە ئۇ مۇنداق دەپ يازغان: «ئۆتكەن يىلغىچە ئاكام ئىككىمىز ۋەزىيەتنىڭ تېخىمۇ يامانلىشىپ كېتىشىدىن ئەنسىرەپ ئاساسەن سۈكۈتتە تۇرغان ئىدۇق. سۈكۈتتە تۇرساقمۇ پايدىسى بولمىدى. دادام يەنىلا تۇتقۇندا. ئەمدى سۈكۈت قىلغۇم يوق. ئەگەر خىتاي ھۆكۈمىتىنىڭ رەزىللىكىنى مەنمۇ سۆزلىمىسەم، باشقا بىراۋمۇ سۆزلىمىسە، ۋەتىنىمدىكى ئۇيغۇرلارنىڭ ئاخىرىدا يوقىلىپ كېتىشىدىن قورقىمەن.»

خىتاي دائىرىلىرى 2000-يىللاردىن 2016-يىلىغا قەدەر ئۇيغۇر جەمئىيىتىنىڭ دىنىي ساھەسىگە ۋە مىللىي تۇيغۇسى كۈچلۈك بولغان سەرخىلار قاتلىمىغا ئومۇمىييۈزلۈك زەربە بېرىشنى كۈچەيتكەن ئىدى. 2017-يىلدىن باشلاپ خىتاي دائىرىلىرى ئاتالمىش «ئىككى يۈزلىمىچى» لەرگە زەربە بېرىش نامى ئاستىدا ئۇيغۇرلار ئىچىدىكى ھۆكۈمەت ئورگانلىرىدا ۋەزىپە ئۆتەۋاتقان ياكى ئالىقاچان پېنسىيەگە چىققان ئەمەلدارلار، كۆزگە كۆرۈنگەن تىجارەتچىلەر ۋە زىيالىيلارغا زەربە بېرىشنى ھەسسىلەپ كۈچەيتكەن. سابىق نازىر مەمەت ئابدۇللامۇ ئەنە ئاشۇ زەربە بېرىش دولقۇنىدا تۇتۇلغانلارنىڭ بىرى ئىدى.

سۈبھى مەمەت دادىسى ھەققىدە خەلقئارا مەتبۇئاتلاردا گۇۋاھلىق بېرىشكە باشلىغاندىن كېيىن، ئۇيغۇر ئاپتونوم رايونلۇق ھۆكۈمەت 2020-يىلى 1-ئىيۇن كۈنى ئاخبارات ئېلان قىلىش يىغىنى ئۆتكۈزۈپ، سۈبھى مەمەتكە ھۇجۇم قىلغان. خىتاينىڭ «يەر شارى ۋاقتى گېزىتى» ئېلان قىلغان ماقالىدە سۈبھى مەمەتنىڭ سۆزلىرىنى «پۈتۈنلەي توقۇلما، خەلقئارا جامائەت پىكىرىنى قايمۇقتۇرغانلىق، دادىسىنى قوللىغانلىق، جۇڭگونىڭ شىنجاڭ سىياسىتىگە ھۇجۇم قىلغانلىق،» دەپ ئەيىبلىگەن. مەمەت ئابدۇللانىڭ «ئىككى يۈزلىمىچىلىك» بىلەن جازالانغانلىقىنى ئىنكار قىلغان.

سۈبھى مەمەت بۇ ھەقتە سۆز قىلىپ: «خىتاي ھۆكۈمىتى ئاكام ئىككىمىزنى يالغانغا چىقىرىش ئۈچۈن ئۆزى چىقارغان ھۆكۈمىنى ئۆزى ئنكار قىلدى،» دېدى.

خىتاي دائىرىلىرى باياناتىدا سۈبھى ۋە ئاكىسىنڭ دادىسى مەمەت ئابدۇللا ھەققىدە ئېيتقانلىرىنى «توقۇلما» دەپ ھۇجۇم قىلغان. خىتاي تاراتقۇلىرى سابىق نازىر مەمەت ئابدۇللانىڭ «پارىخورلۇق قىلغانلىقى ۋە ھوقۇقىدىن پايدىللىنىپ ئۆز كۆمىچىگە چوغ تارتقانلىقى» جىنايىتى بىلەن جازالانغانلىقى ھەققىدىكى ۋىدىيوسىنى تارقاتقان.

سۈبھى مەمەت دادىسى تۇتقۇن قىلىنىپ نەچچە يىلدىن كېيىن دادىسىنى كىشەنلەنگەن، مەھبۇس كىيىمى كىيگەن بىر بوۋاي ھالىتىدە ۋىدىيودىن كۆرگەن. ئۇ شۇ ۋاقىتنى ئەسلەپ مۇنداق دېدى: «ئۆيىمىزنىڭ تۈۋرۈكى، مېنىڭ پەخرىم بولغان دادامنىڭ كىشەنلەنگەن ھالىتىنى كۆرۈپ، يۈرىكىم پۇچلىنىپ كەتتى. ھېچقانداق بىر بالىنى دادىسىنىڭ خورلانغان ھالىتىنى كۆرۈشكە نېسىپ قىلمىسۇن!»

سۈبھى مەمەت ئاخىرىدا يەنە ئۆزىگە ئوخشاش ئائىلىسىدىن خەۋەر ئالالمايۋاتقان ياكى ئائىلىسىدىكىلەرنىڭ تۇتقۇندا تۇرۇۋاتقانلىقىدىن خەۋىرى بولسىمۇ، ئەمما سۈكۈتتە تۇرۇۋاتقانلارنىڭ سۈكۈتنى بۇزۇشى كېرەكلىكىنى بىلدۈردى: «ئاشۇ چارىسىز قالغان، ياردەم كۈتىۋاتقان كىشىلەر ئۈچۈن ئەركىن دۇبنيادا ياشاپ تۇرۇپمۇ ئاۋاز چىقارماي تۇرۇۋېلىشنىڭ ئۆزى ئۇلارغا زىيانكەشلىك قىلغانلىق بىلەن ئوخشاشتۇر.»

Decades of service to China’s government didn’t save my Uyghur dad from prison By Subi Mamat Yuksel

Decades of service to China’s government didn’t save my Uyghur dad from prison

To Beijing, even loyal Uyghur citizens are “two-faced.”

Subi Mamat Yuksel with a photo of her father, Mamat Abdullah on Jan. 28 in Manassas, Va.
Image without a caption

By Subi Mamat YukselSubi Mamat Yuksel lives with her husband and three children in Northern Virginia.April 16, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. EDT

In 2017, my family’s nightmare began: Over four decades, my father, Mamat Abdullah, had served China in many posts, including in the 1990s as the mayor of Korla, the second-largest city in the Xinjiang region. He helped open up trade with other parts of China for Korla’s agricultural products, including its famous pears. His last government position was as chief of the regional forestry bureau. He was held in high esteem in Urumqi, the regional capital — my home before I immigrated to the United States.

He was a member of the Chinese Communist Party. He had no involvement with Uyghur separatists, always followed the law, and wanted Uyghurs and Han to coexist peacefully. He traveled to the United States on several occasions, often for work and also to visit me, my brother and our families. My parents planned to visit again in 2017 and got initial approval from the Chinese government.

But right before they were supposed to travel, my father, who is now in his mid-70s, was suddenly taken away by Chinese authorities, without explanation. I got the news at 3 a.m. in Manassas, Va. When I reached my mother a few hours later on WeChat, she put her wrists together to show me the sign for handcuffs. “Your father,” she wept, “your father.” He had joined the growing number of Uyghurs, estimated at more than 1 million, held in prisons and concentration camps for no reason other than being Uyghur. The darkest time of my life had begun, and I still don’t know if or when it will end.

After my father went missing, Chinese government agents questioned my mother and my sister, who still live in Urumqi, day after day for months, sometimes for hours at a time. Officials wanted to know about my family’s associations, particularly in the Virginia and Washington area, because my brother and I live here and know other Uyghurs who’ve made America their home. These types of questions are common for those of us who live abroad but whose families still live back home. In the eyes of China’s government, a simple social gathering of friends abroad is often spun as a political event. It’s why we believe that Chinese officials may have held it against my father when he attended my wedding. And it’s why, long before he was arrested, my father warned us to focus on school and work, and discouraged us from any involvement with anything that could be perceived as activism — a warning my brother and I heeded until 2020. Though I applied for asylum in the United States in 2010, and my brother applied in 2007, we made a point of not speaking on political issues.

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After some of these terrifying interrogations, my mother would call me raging: “You two were the reasons for your dad’s arrest!” But I could tell those weren’t really her words; I could sense she was repeating what the interrogators had drummed into her head. On one occasion, a government agent jabbed the point of a pen into her face. On another, she was given some kind of medication to make her more cooperative. Even though we all began to fear the worst, my father had yet to be formally charged with any crime, and there were still days when my mother would say — out of desperation — things like: We have to trust the party. Your father worked for the government for his entire life. He will come home as long as you don’t get involved in anything over there. At this point, we’d still had no contact with my father, and it wasn’t until last October that he was allowed a brief phone call with my mother.

In 2018, when more Uyghurs were starting to speak out about China’s oppression, I learned from my mother that government agents had tried to convince her that my father might receive better treatment if my brother and I stayed silent. That did the trick and kept us muted. And the supposed gesture of compassion for my father made my mother trust the government agents. I didn’t realize at first that their hollow words had affected me, too: I was somehow still able to think of my father separately from all the other innocent Uyghurs locked in Chinese detention camps — even though they, too, were law-abiding citizens. I allowed myself to believe that maybe the government officials would see that they had made a mistake and give my father back to us. I was wrong.

China has never liked the fact that Uyghurs, a more than 10 million-strong ethnic group that practices Islam and speaks a language derived from Turkish, are different from the Han majority, which makes up more than 90 percent of China’s population. It was rare for Uyghurs of my father’s generation to complete their studies outside Xinjiang, but he studied at Northwest Minzu University in Lanzhou. Over the years, he accrued positions of authority because of his intelligence, education and leadership; he was seen as a bridge between his Uyghur community, the Han Chinese constantly moving to our region, and the local government. He was a bureaucrat, yes, but also someone people could come to with their problems. He was loyal to Uyghur people and culture but also dutiful in his role in the government, doing his best to help it function. When I left Urumqi in 2007, I never would have believed that one day he would be arrested by the same government — and eventually accused of separatism and abuse of power.

My father never did those things. Nevertheless, after more than two years of us not knowing my father’s fate, he was charged with bribery — my sister was allowed to see a court order and attend the trial but not allowed to examine any evidence that proves the supposed crime — and sentenced to life in prison. The government confiscated his life savings, my brother’s land and my mother’s pension. My uncle, another provincial official, was also convicted but did not get a life sentence. Both men were accused of being “two-faced.”

Being “two-faced,” of course, is not a crime, but it’s an epithet in western China. Officials commonly use the term to claim that someone like my father, ostensibly loyal to the government, actually promotes Uyghur nationalism. One 2019 report from the regional government says that, to “severely crack down on ‘two-faced people’ in the anti-separatism struggle, [the province] handled major cases such as . . . Mamat Abdullah, former director of the Forestry Department.” What is so cruel is that my father spent his life trying to reconcile his Uyghur identity with his government role, and in the end, Beijing held that against him.

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At a news conference last year, Chinese officials told reporters that my father’s conviction would have applied to anyone “regardless of his or her ethnicity.” But bribery accusations are often leveled against people Beijing sees, rightly or wrongly, as uncooperative. In 2019, for instance, the New York Times reported on Wang Yongzhi, a Han official in the Uyghur region who was accused in a government report of taking bribes but also of refusing “to round up everyone who should be rounded up.” Just this month, two Uyghur officials were sentenced to death on charges that, the Associated Press reported, included “separatism and bribe taking.” (Officials at the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not reply to requests for comment from The Washington Post.)

Until last year, my brother and I were mostly silent. (I gave an interview about my father’s case to Voice of America in 2020.) In part, we feared for our mother and sister, who have been repeatedly tormented by Chinese authorities. I lie awake at night worrying about their safety and feeling guilty for not having done more to help my father. But it’s now clear that staying silent has accomplished nothing. By telling my story, it’s possible I put my family in greater danger. But things have already become steadily worse for them, and I don’t believe that I can be silent anymore. If no one speaks, I’m afraid that Uyghurs in my home country will eventually be wiped out.

For years, the Chinese government has tried to erase us. Earlier this year, several Uyghur women told the BBC their stories of horrific torture and sexual assault while in government custody. Last month, President Biden’s administration sanctioned several Chinese officials in response to what Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently described as the “genocide” of Uyghurs in China.

“I can finally breathe,” I said to my husband as I burst into tears after giving my first public testimony at the Uyghur Human Rights Project’s 2020 conference, telling the story of my father’s disappearance. It was the day I broke my silence, in a room full of Uyghurs like me, holding photos of loved ones who had been disappeared into Chinese camps. Being afraid won’t make the government any less cruel — even to loyal civil servants and lifelong party members like my father. Now I’m ready to speak out.

Twitter: @SubiMamat

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I chased the American Dream. It brought me back to my father’s deathbed in China.

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Subi YukselSubi Mamat Yuksel lives with her husband a

There’s a good chance your cotton T-shirt was made with slave labor by Jewher Ilham

There’s a good chance your cotton T-shirt was made with slave labor

Jewher Ilham

Much of the world’s cotton comes from the Xinjiang region, where the Chinese government is ethnically cleansing its Muslim minority. Fashion conglomerates know this

A Uyghur-American activist rallies in front of the White House in support of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, October 2020.
A Uyghur-American activist rallies in front of the White House in support of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, October 2020. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Fri 9 Apr 2021 06.17 EDT

In the era of conscious consumerism, it’s often the case that companies are quick to say the right thing, but slower to actually do the right thing. Yet for companies being asked to remove Uyghur forced labor from their supply chains, the opposite is true. Many of the world’s largest brands are willing to rearrange their operations in order to source products from areas that are not known – as the Xinjiang region in western China is – for atrocious human rights violations, but far fewer are willing to do so publicly. As it turns out, “easier said than done” does not apply when facing the rebuke of the Chinese government.

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One in five cotton garments on the global marketplace is tainted by forced labor, and more than 20% of the world’s cotton comes from the Xinjiang region. Forced labor is an integral part of the ethnic cleansing program being carried out by the Chinese government, which is targeting the Uyghur population and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples and subjecting them to involuntary labor and “re-education”. Several countries including the US have officially declared this campaign a genocide. Last week, the US and its allies sanctioned Wang Junzheng, the head of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. Yet it is still a challenge to convince some corporations to prioritize workers’ lives over profits.

That’s because companies that have dared to voice their concerns over what is happening in the Xinjiang region are now facing threats of a boycott in China – a perfect example of the rebuke these brands have been trying to avoid.

China is by many measures now the world’s largest economy, and in the wake of this boycott, major global apparel companies including Inditex and PVH have removed policies against forced labor from their websites. So far these companies are in the minority, but they own global brands such as Zara, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. As long as there is a market for goods sourced from the Xinjiang region, the Chinese government will be emboldened to keep operating the mass detention camps where Uyghur people are being held in indentured servitude.

While the shameful cowardice shown by the group of companies choosing to quietly erase their statements against human rights abuses is reprehensible, even more stunning is the choice some brands have made to defend and proudly publicize their use of Xinjiang cotton. In an effort to placate China and preserve market share, MujiFila and Asics have all publicly announced their support for goods from the Xinjiang region. (Muji said it has conducted “due diligence” on its supply chain and is taking steps to “improve working conditions”.)

Hugo Boss is another illustrative example. After previously denouncing the use of forced labor, Hugo Boss took to social media last week to enthusiastically announce its plans to continue using Xinjiang cotton. A few days later, their corporate headquarters deleted the post, calling it “unauthorized,” then issued a statement acknowledging concerns about allegations of forced labor in the Xinjiang region. From a brand known for supplying uniforms to the Nazis during the second world war – also made with forced labor as part of a larger genocide – that seems like the absolute least Hugo Boss could do. But the brand’s oscillation reflects the complexity of the challenge facing companies trying to balance market access in China with basic respect for human rights. Ultimately, their wishy-washy stance – along with others’ complicit silence or outright support – serves to embolden the Chinese government in its abuse of the Uyghur people.

How will they explain their choices to consumers outside China – ones with almost unlimited choice in what they buy, and who overwhelmingly do not want to wear clothes made with forced labor?

There is no denying that China’s 1.4 billion people hold a lot of purchasing power, and that it is a potential financial risk for brands to speak out against the Chinese government’s repression of Uyghur people. But as consumers around the world enjoy more and more access to information, and increasingly demand that the companies they buy from reflect their values, these brands are just one Google search away from being revealed as purveyors of slave labor. For most consumers around the world, that kind of revelation would likely lead them to seek out a T-shirt that hasn’t been stitched by victims of crimes against humanity. And on the other side of the coin, brands that have signed the call to action from the Coalition To End Uyghur Forced Labour, like Marks & Spencer, Asos, and Eileen Fisher, are being rewarded by consumers.

Companies turning a blind eye to protect profits is nothing new. But once you have acknowledged that human rights violations are taking place, it’s difficult to justify continuing your patronage of goods that rely on those violations. For the brands that have done this in response to China’s scare tactic: the world is watching. You may still have a chance to land on the right side of history, but it depends on what you do next. Your decisions could mean the difference for millions of Uyghur people.

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The Authors of and from 11th centry, Kashgarby by Archaeologist Kurban Wali

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Summary of the two East Turkestan Republics by Dr. Nabijan Tursun

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Ikki Qëtimliq Sherqiy Türkistan Jumhuriyiti Heqqide XulaseAptori: Nabijan TursunAwazda: Perizat Gheyretئىككى قېتىملىق شەرقىي تۈركىستان جۇمھۇرىيىتى ھەققىدە خۇلاسەئاپتورى: در . نەبىجان تۇرسۇنئاۋازدا: پەرىزات غەيرەت