Four years after the forcible deportation of 20 Uighur asylum seekers from Cambodia to China, an advocacy group has said it remains “deeply concerned” about their fate and has called on China to lift a veil of secrecy surrounding their treatment.In a statement, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), which is based in Munich, said on Friday that 17 members of the Turkic ethnic group, who had already applied for asylum in Cambodia, “are confirmed to still be in detention [in China], some of whom have been sentenced to between 16 years and life in prison.”
East Turkestan & the Uyghurs
Confucius Institutes in various universities around the world are operated by the Chinese Communist Government, using 'cultural exchanges' and 'exhibitions' as part of their soft-power tactics to spread propaganda. In their statement1 released on December 17, the CAUT executive James Turk said, "Confucius Institutes are essentially political arms of the Chinese government." "Simply put, Confucius Institutes are owned and operated by an authoritarian government and beholden to its politics," Turk stated. "Our educators here in Canada play a vital role in influencing the future of this nation, especially in terms of integrity, policies, and values." said Urgyen Badheytsang,
Adil Mijit is not the only Uyghur comedian to incorporate a discussion of hip-hop into his performances. In the recent state-sponsored film Shewket’s Summer directed by Pan Yu with assistance from Beijing Film Academy students, Abdukerim Abliz joins the Uyghur hip-hop crew Six City as a reticent folk musician. The film, which is both a “coming-of-age” and “parent-trap” melodrama, highlights the way conflicts resolved at the level of the family have larger implications for society. Although the film is heavy in the propaganda of ethnic harmony (a Han character named Luobin [!] is featured as an aspiring musician in search of “original” tunes and then as an inspiration to the Uyghur characters), the slick production values and money behind the film present Uyghur folk arts in a strongly positive light. As a wise Native American activist and anthropologist once told me, “If The Man offers you money, you take the money.”
THE BLOODY clash between ethnic Uighurs and the Chinese police that took place on 15 December 2013 in Xinjiang reflects a reality that rising China faces today. It was the fourth outbreak of such violence that has flared in Xinjiang since April 2013 in which at least 84 people have been killed and 25 others injured. The Chinese government’s reaction to the incident was as usual: Beijing called it a “terrorist” attack blaming a “violent terrorist gang” in Xinjiang for it, and scaled up security measures to stabilise the region. However, enhanced security measures alone cannot realistically be expected to curb violence in the region, especially when social and economic discontent of its Uighur minority remains unresolved.
The Uyghur-language songs of teen heartthrob Ablajan Awut Ayup run on a loop through the heads of many Uyghur tweens and young urbanites. Taking cues from Justin Bieber, the ever-popular dance moves of the late-Michael Jackson, and the pretty-gangster affect of Korean pop stars, Ablajan is a self-styled chart-climber; he is a self-made song-and-dance man. Whether you love him or hate him, the fact remains that he has cornered the Uyghur children’s music market by tying clever songwriting with catchy beats. Yet beneath this veneer of slightly irritating auto-tuning, dance rhythms, and theatrical spectacle are melancholic questions.
On Sunday night, 16 people were killed in the latest violence to hit Xinjiang, China’s far western Muslim-majority region. The violence took place, according to reports, near Kashgar, an old Silk Road city close to China’s western border, that is, in some sense, the spiritual and cultural home of Xinjiang’s native Uighurs, an ethnic Turkic Muslim group that is one of China’s 55 minorities. If you look at a map of China, you will see how close Kashgar is to Ladakh. When I first travelled to Kashgar, around five years ago, a local guide told me of the region’s cultural and historical links to Ladakh (which, he told me, once lay within the frontiers of the kingdom of Kashgar many centuries ago). One still finds clues to this history in Ladakh, too. Recently, Daulet Beg Oldi in Ladakh found itself in the national headlines as it was the site of a stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops. The site lies on an old road that was once a trading route to Kashgar, and, I was told during my visit, was named after a 16th century aristocrat who spent some of his life in Kashgar.
The Tibetan Autonomous Region of China has been largely closed to the outside world since it was wracked by popular protests in 2008. But the extreme degree of its isolation is hinted at by this very revealing fact: There are more foreign journalists in North Korea than there are in Tibet. That's according to Tibet scholar Carole McGranahan, who is a professor of the University of Colorado at Boulder and who made the point during a recent lecture at Yale University, video of which is embedded below. McGranahan discussed the rising trend of Tibetan self-immolations – a form of political protest against Chinese rule – and the challenge of understanding Tibet's turmoil. Beijing's near-total isolation of Tibet, though, makes it awfully difficult for the outside world to see or understand what's happening there. Presumably, that's part of the point; Chinese rule in Tibet can be shockingly severe, as can the ongoing efforts to assimilate Tibetan people and culture into the rest of China.
The vigil was held to remember all human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience who sacrificed their freedom and lives to promote and protect the human rights of those living under the Chinese Communist Party's regime in East Turkestan, Tibet and across China. The vigil was organized by Chinese Uyghur & Tibetan Solidarity UK, a coalition of organizations and activists of which Tibet Society is a founding member. At the start of the vigil, organizers were informed by police that they would not be allowed onto Embassy property to deliver a giant postcard addressed to the Chinese Ambassador.
Reports from Tianshan, the Xinjiang government’s news service, indicate that 16 people died during an incident in Xinjiang late Sunday night. According to the report, Chinese police were in Shufu County, in the Kashgar region, seeking to apprehend unnamed criminal suspects. The police force was then attacked by rioters throwing homemade explosives and wielding machetes.
In this paper I focus on the historical and contemporary context and conception of Uyghur names and places in translation under the Manchu Qing dynasty, Chinese Nationalists and Chinese communist rulers of the region in the last two centuries. More recently this has combined with the current so called ''Bilingual education'' policies that have unofficially abandonned Uyghur language instruction in Uyghur education to produce a real threat to Uyghur identity and sense of ownership over this territory. It is useful to remind ourselves that similar procedures and methods were applied by the British and Russian empires during their vast colonial exapnsion over the last three centuries, and it is now aggressively copied and implemented by China in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. I ask whether the Chinese state can ultimately achieve its Sinification of Uyghur geographical place names, or whether Uyghurs will be able to preserve the Uyghur language names that currently co-exist with the Chinese names in the Uyghur region.