Death Stalks Persecuted Uyghurs in Dam Square
UNPO and the East Turkestan Foundation (ETF) marked the eleventh anniversary of the Gulja massacre with a vigil in front of
Below is an article published by UNPO:
A cold and windy
By the time the vigil has reached its close, over a thousand leaflets had been handed out and countless passers-by, young and old, had pulled aside UNPO and EFT volunteers to learn more of the situation in
The event received extensive media coverage, the links to which are available below:
(Dutch Language - Page 14 - Requires subscription)
World Uyghur Congress
Note: The article below, originally published by UNPO on 2 February 2008, provides additional background information on East Turkestan, the Uyghur’s grievances, and the oppression under which they live to this day:
Some of the roads may be asphalt now and journey times quicker but development has not been advanced in all aspects of life in
Nearly fifty years of administration by
The Uyghurs of Xinjiang have long been the majority group within what was East Turkestan before being incorporated into
This policy has reinforced the idea of the Uyghurs as second class citizens within their own homeland. Linguistically, the Uyghur language is now taught as a second language and most university courses are now only available in Chinese. Moreover, the publications that are available in Uyghur are limited, more since an officially sanctioned destruction of books in 2002.
Against this backdrop, the avenues for Uyghur cultural expression have been repeatedly curtailed. Celebrations such as the Uyghur New Year and cultural festivals called Meshreps have been banned since 1994. Were it enacted, the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law of 1984 would provide some protection, but there is no sign that the Chinese authorities have the intention or inclination to protect protection to the Uyghur culture.
When Uyghurs have attempted to demonstrate their opposition to state policy, the state has moved efficiently and all too effectively to quash debate. The demonstration that was held on 5 February 1997 was just such an instance of Uyghurs attempting to open debate on the central government’s policy towards their culture and heritage.
What began as a nonviolent protest, terminated in a violent rout by Chinese state security forces. In the face of such intimidation, the Uyghurs once again braved the streets of Gulja to protest the violence with which their attempt to make a legitimate peaceful display of grievance was met. Once again the security forces clamped down on the marchers and the demonstration ended with demonstrators running for cover.
Over the course of the two days it is estimated that several Uyghurs met their deaths while hundreds were injured, many seriously, in the crackdown that ensued. Some of those that were detained by the security forces remain in detention, and it is believed that at least two detainees have died whilst under the custody of the Chinese state.
The exact numbers remain unclear because of the close scrutiny the Chinese authorities maintain in the region and the control that is held over what information is able to reach the wider world. However, to ensure that the events of 5 February 1997 do not go unnoticed in the eyes of the world, organizations all over