East Turkestan: Uyghurs Are Left Out
While the Chinese government put Uyghurs and other “ethnic minorities” on parade on October 1 in Beijing, Uyghurs are consistently denied a voice in government policies directly affecting their lives.
Below is an article published by: CASCFEN
While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) observed the 60th anniversary of its rise to power through a massive parade in Beijing, Uyghurs thousands of miles away in East Turkestan were left mourning the brutal crackdown that has been ongoing in the region since unrest first swept the regional capital of Urumchi on July 5. Chinese President Hu Jintao’s carefully choreographed review of row upon row of missiles and tanks was eerily reminiscent of the immense military presence currently enforcing a climate of fear in East Turkestan’s major cities.
In the build-up to October 1, 130,000 additional Chinese troops were mobilized from East Turkestan. Reports emerging from cities such as Urumchi, Kashgar and Ghulja indicate widespread, arbitrary arrests of Uyghurs, which was initially prompted by protests and violence on July 5 but which have continued in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Uyghurs who have publicized information about police abuses, such as two men living in Qorghas County who told Radio Free Asia about the death of a Uyghur detainee in police custody, have also been detained. The Chinese government’s contradictory statements on the details of trials for Uyghurs detained in the wake of unrest in Urumchi indicate an absence of transparency surrounding criminal and judicial procedures, as well as a process driven by political motivations.
While the Chinese government put Uyghurs and other “ethnic minorities” on parade on October 1 in Beijing, Uyghurs are consistently denied a voice in government policies directly affecting their lives, six decades after the CCP proclaimed they had been liberated. In spite of the autonomy guaranteed them in China’s laws and constitution, Uyghurs lack any mechanism by which they may participate in dialogue regarding their own political, economic, social and cultural rights.
“Even those Uyghurs who raised the PRC flag to call peacefully for their rights on July 5 were brutally crushed by the government,” said Uyghur democracy leader Rebiya Kadeer. “Uyghurs must be allowed to express their concerns in a peaceful manner. The imposition of force will not bring about peace, harmony and unity in East Turkestan. The Chinese government must be willing to speak with Uyghurs openly and transparently. Only through encouraging a dialogue regarding the legitimate grievances of the Uyghur people, instead of simply clamping down, will the government bring about true stability in the region.”