China Targets Prominent Uighur Intellectuals to Erase an Ethnic Identity


By: Austin Ramzy
5,Jan.,2019

Rahile Dawut, above with camera, is an anthropologist at Xinjiang University who studied Islamic shrines, traditional songs and folklore. She was detained in December 2017 and has not been heard from since. Lisa Ross

ISTANBUL — As a writer and magazine editor, Qurban Mamut promoted the culture and history of his people, the Uighurs, and that of other Turkic minority groups who live in far western China. He did so within the strict confines of censorship imposed by the Chinese authorities, who are ever wary of ethnic separatism and Islamic extremism among the predominantly Muslim peoples of the region.

It was a line that Mr. Mamut navigated successfully for 26 years, eventually rising to become editor in chief of the Communist Party-controlled magazine Xinjiang Civilization before retiring in 2011.

“My father is very smart; he knows what is the red line, and if you cross it you are taken to jail,” said his son, Bahram Sintash, who now lives in Virginia. “You work very close to the red line to teach people the culture. You have to be smart and careful with your words.”

Then last year, the red line moved. Suddenly, Mr. Mamut and more than a hundred other Uighur intellectuals who had successfully navigated the worlds of academia, art and journalism became the latest targets of a sweeping crackdown in the region of Xinjiang that has ensnared as many as one million Muslims in indoctrination camps.

The mass detention of some of China’s most accomplished Uighurs has become an alarming symbol of the Communist Party’s most intense social-engineering drive in decades, according to scholars, human rights advocates and exiled Uighurs.

As the guardians of Uighur traditions, chroniclers of their history and creators of their art, the intellectuals were building the Central Asian, Turkic-speaking society’s reservoir of collective memory within the narrow limits of authoritarian rule. Their detention underscores the party’s attempts to decimate Uighur identity in order to remold the group into a people who are largely secular, integrated into mainstream Chinese culture and compliant with the Communist Party, observers say.

The Chinese government has described the detentions as a job training program aimed at providing employment opportunities for some of the country’s poorest people. But a list of more than 100 detained Uighur scholars compiled by exiles includes many prominent poets and writers, university heads and professors of everything from anthropology to Uighur history.

“The fact that highly educated intellectuals and academics and scientists and software engineers are being held in these facilities is one of the best counterarguments to authorities’ claims that this is some kind of educational program meant to benefit Uighurs,” said Maya Wang, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch.

The removal of high-profile Uighur scholars familiar with the Chinese government, and the country’s education and legal systems, is aimed at erasing not only the group’s unique ethnic identity but also its ability to defend such traditions, said a Uighur professor now living in Istanbul who asked not to be identified because of possible risks to family in Xinjiang.

Qurban Mamut, a magazine editor in Xinjiang who has been detained.
“My father is very smart; he knows what is the red line,” his son said. Bahram Sintash

Many scholars trace the assault on intellectuals to the imprisonment of Ilham Tohti, a Uighur economist, in 2014. Mr. Tohti, who was an outspoken critic of the discrimination Uighurs face in China, was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of separatism.

More detentions came in 2017. Many of those targeted worked on preserving Uighur culture.

Rahile Dawut, one of the most well known of the disappeared Uighur academics, is an anthropologist at Xinjiang University who studied Islamic shrines, traditional songs and folklore. Ms. Dawut was detained in December 2017 and hasn’t been heard from since.

Before the crackdown, the Uighur intellectual elite offered a bridge between the body of Uighur society, who number about 11 million and are largely poor farmers, and the much wealthier Han Chinese, who dominate economic and political power. The scholars also worked carefully to try to improve the lot of a group that complained of widespread discrimination and draconian restrictions on religious activity.

These scholars offered a moderate path, where Uighurs could maintain religious and cultural practices without turning to extreme and isolationist ideas, said Rune Steenberg, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Copenhagen.

“This is the really big tragedy about the clampdown,” Dr. Steenberg said. “They were actually bridge builders of integration of broader Uighur society into modern Chinese society and economy.”

Many young Uighurs have been inspired by the scholars’ accomplishments, said Erkin Sidick, a Uighur engineer who went to the United States for graduate school in 1988 and now works on telescopes for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Mr. Sidick said hundreds would attend informal talks he gave on pursuing graduate degrees and many closely studied a book he published that compiled biographies of Uighur academics.

“Uighur people value education very much,” he said.

Now, Uighurs keep a grimmer list of Uighur intellectuals — those who have disappeared in the current campaign.

Tahir Hamut, a Uighur poet who lives in Virginia, began working with other Uighur exiles to collect the names of those detained over the past year based on news reports and information from families and classmates. The list has now grown to 159 Uighurs and five others from other minority groups.

“These people are all the most prestigious in Xinjiang,” Mr. Hamut said. “They are models who all study diligently and raise themselves up. Their arrest is a great injury, a great attack to all Uighurs.”

The Chinese authorities have accused Uighurs in official positions of being “two-faced,” or mouthing the official line in public but resisting the crackdown in private. Such labels have surrounded the removal of several top administrators at universities in Xinjiang.

Many scholars trace the assault on intellectuals to the imprisonment of Ilham Tohti,
a Uighur economist, in 2014.CreditAndy Wong/Associated Press

The Xinjiang government propaganda department and the news office for the State Council, China’s cabinet, did not respond to faxed requests for comment. But officials in Xinjiang have clearly stated their resolve to pursue people they see as hindering efforts to rewire Uighurs and steer them from what authorities have called religious extremism.

“Break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections and break their origins,” wrote Maisumujiang Maimuer, a religious affairs official, in a commentary in the state news media. “Completely shovel up the roots of ‘two-faced people,’ dig them out, and vow to fight these two-faced people until the end.”

The campaign has not spared scholars who expressed support for the party, such as Abdulqadir Jalaleddin, a scholar of medieval Central Asian poetry at Xinjiang Normal University who worked to preserve Uighur culture and identity.

“He was a very moderate man who always tried to give a balanced view, so much so that a lot of Uyghur nationalists accused him of selling out to the regime,” Rachel Harris, who studies Uighur music at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and has known Mr. Jalaleddin for more than a decade, said in an email. (Uyghur is an alternative spelling of Uighur.)

Last year, Mr. Jalaleddin joined a government-led campaign for prominent Uighurs to write open letters declaring their allegiance to the state.

Despite that declaration, he was detained in January 2018, according to overseas Uighur organizations.

“So many moderate intellectuals have been detained now,” Dr. Harris said. “I don’t know how else to understand this, except as a deliberate policy to deprive Uyghurs of their cultural memory.”

It is a pattern that has repeated itself in the far western region. The authorities targeted Uighur intellectuals after the People’s Liberation Army occupied Xinjiang in 1949, and even before in the late 1930s, when Xinjiang was ruled by a Soviet-backed warlord, said Ondrej Klimes, a researcher with the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences who studies Xinjiang and the Uighurs.

“It makes the community easier to be subjugated, more cooperative, more docile,” Dr. Klimes said. “You have this whenever an authoritarian regime comes, they first target intellectuals.”

By detaining so many influential figures, the government appears to be acknowledging that its efforts to woo Uighurs to accept the primacy of the Chinese state have failed, and that it must use more forceful methods, Dr. Steenberg said.

“The government has lost,” he said, “and now like a chess player about to lose, it swipes the board.”

The Source

هل يعمل الاتحاد الدولي لعلماء المسلمين من أجل الأمة ؟


الناشط الإيغوري عبدالغني ثابت:

هل هذه المنظمة (الاتحاد الدولي لعلماء المسلمين) تعمل فعلا من أجل الأمة الإسلامية؟

إن كانت تعمل إذا كيف ذلك؟ نحن الأويغور المسلمون في تركستان الشرقية نعاني من النظام الصيني منذ 68 عاما.
أنا شخصيا كتبت عدة مرات .لهذه المنظمة عن محنتنا، لكنني لم أتلق أي رد

هل هؤلاء العلماء يعيشون في هذا العالم أم في كوكب آخر؟

منذ ما يقرب من عامين تغطي وسائل الإعلام الدولية ما يجري في معسكرات الاعتقال الصينية في تركستان الشرقية.

أعلنت الصين بالفعل الحرب ضد الإسلام وأعلنت الإسلام أنه “معد” ومرض نفسي وعقلي في جميع أنحاء المنطقة.

الناشط الإيغوري عبدالغني ثابت

لماذا هؤلاء العلماء المسلمين هادئين؟ ما هي مسؤوليتهم؟

A Muslim Divide in China


Uyghur Muslims face stricter controls on religion than Hui Muslims.

By: Rukiye Turdush 

File photo of Muslim Uyghurs praying at the Jame Mosque during Ramadan in Hotan in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

China says its laws provide equal religious freedom for Uyghurs and the country’s other main Muslim group, the Hui, but Uyghurs face stricter controls on religious education and worship and how they dress because of Islam’s links to their political identity, analysts say.

Islam flourishes in China’s Ningxia and Gansu provinces, home to many of the country’s 10 million Hui Muslims, where mosque-based schools offer religious teachings to adults and children.

Hui Muslims in other parts of China as well are also allowed to run religious schools.

But in the Xinjiang region in China’s far west, where the mostly Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uyghurs form an ethnic group 9 million strong, government policies bar women and anyone under age 18 from attending mosques.

Uyghur parents are forbidden to teach religion to their children at home, and private religious education is subject to harsh crackdowns.

Many Uyghurs believe China is practicing a double standard in its religious policy toward Uyghur and Hui Muslims.

Although the laws on the books were the same, in practice, policies vary for both groups, said Dru Gladney, an anthropologist at Pomona College in California.

“Chinese laws about religious freedom are very clear. But like any other good Chinese law, there is uneven enforcement,” he said.

“Xinjiang has strict religious freedom because the political situation of the region is much different than other regions.”

But officials maintain Uyghurs are not getting the short end of the stick.

The head of the government-sanctioned Islamic Association of Urumqi, in the Xinjiang capital, said this month that China allows equal religious freedom for Uyghurs and Hui Muslims.

“There is no difference in religious policy,” Keram told RFA’s Uyghur Service.

“Uyghurs enjoy the same religious freedoms as Hui Muslims do,” he said.

But he refused to comment on crackdowns on Uyghurs’ religious freedom, including harsh sentences for unauthorized Islamic study and police raids on illegal schools in the region.

Crackdowns and police raids

Six teenaged Uyghur boys who were arrested for studying the Quran on their own after school are now serving sentences of 8 to 14 years in jail, a Uyghur farmer in the area who wished to remain anonymous told RFA this month.

The boys, who were between the ages of 14 and 17 at the time, had been arrested in April 2010 in Hotan’s Keriye county, and are now being held in jails in Aksu and Yarkand far from their hometowns, he said.

In May this year, an 11-year-old Uyghur boy died under suspicious circumstances in police custody after being detained when police raided his teacher’s home in Korla prefecture where he had been studying the Koran with two other boys when police took him away.

In a separate incident weeks later, a dozen children in Hotan prefecture suffered burns after police using teargas and stormed a religious school where some 50 children were studying under “illegal preachers.”

Aside from restrictions on Islamic education and worship, Uyghurs are also subject to restrictions on traditional Islamic dress.

Chinese officials have denied there were such restrictions, which in theory are prohibited by laws protecting religious freedom.

Earlier this month, a Uyghur member of the Xinjiang delegation to the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s 18th congress in Beijing, Kurex Kanjir, said there is “absolutely no ban” on Uyghurs wearing traditional Islamic dress, according to the Hong-Kong based South China Morning Post.

Political identity

Hui Muslims, on the other hand, are much freer to practice Islam, although Hui Muslims in Ningxia suffered persecution during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Hui Muslims do not suffer the same level of repression as faced by Uyghurs because they have been much more assimilated into Chinese culture, says Uyghur writer Ghulam Osman.

“Hui Muslims are Chinese Muslims, but Uyghurs are not. Uyghurs are of a different race than the Chinese.”

“Hui Muslims have never been a nation-state; they always lived together with the Chinese, because they belong to the same ethnic group as the Chinese,” he said.

The Hui, whose forefathers hundreds of years ago were traders from Central Asia or other places who practiced Islam, live throughout China and, unlike the Uyghurs, many of them speak Chinese as their mother tongue.

The Hui are counted as one of China’s 55 distinct ethnic minorities, but are unique in that they are the only group to be defined solely on the basis of their religion, rather than language or genealogical differences. By definition, China’s Hui minority includes all historically Muslim communities in the country who are not members of other ethnic groups.

“Uyghurs are different; they had their own land and were invaded by China,” Ghulam Osman said, referring to Xinjiang’s past before it came under Chinese control following two short-lived East Turkestan Republics in the 1930s and 1940s.

China, fearing a separatist movement in Xinjiang, represses Uyghurs’ religious freedom because Islam is significant in the survival of their identity, he said.

But if China is worried about an independence movement blossoming among Uyghurs, such a movement would be more likely to be spurred in reaction to repressive religious policies than religion on its own, Gladney said.

“All the Uyghur movements against the Chinese government were caused by frustration that resulted from the heavy-handed repression of the Chinese government in the region, not by radical religious forces,” Gladney said.

But the political role of Islam in allowing Uyghurs to maintain an identity separate from the rest of China should not be underestimated, Ghulam Osman said.

“It is true that all political movements of Uyghurs are caused by the heavy handed policy of China and not by radical religious forces.”

“However, this does not mean religion does not play a significant role in Uyghur survival and Uyghur political movements,” he said.

“Islam and the Uyghur language are deeply embedded in Uyghur identity. They strengthen our racial and historical differences with Han Chinese.”

Reported by Rukiye Turdush for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Translated by Mamatjan Juma. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.
From the Source

Is China Embellishing its economy through despotism?


The Land of Dragon, propaganda and ulterior motives i.e. China has always been a part of discussions among countries across the globe. Some of these nations are rapidly becoming its ‘economical’ partners and few of them like USA, India,Japan and nowadays Australia (after knowing that Beijing is trying to influence their politicians) are speaking against it. The others are still deciding, Policies of Trump has shook their faith in USA but they do not trust Xi Jinping either. Speculations are rife that China is on the verge of becoming a Global force able to change the world order. Though, is this road made by supporting Dictorians and using the blood of innocents? To know the answer, we first need to peek inside China itself. Let’s start with its Achilles’ heel, East Turkestan.


There is a famous Chinese proverb, A diamond with a flaw is worth more than a pebble without imperfections. East Turkestan is just that for PRC,an Imperfect Diamond. It was occupied by them in October 1949.This realm is home to Millions of Uyghurs who are a Turkic ethnic group. Alas, its name was changed to Xinjiang, means new territory. Uyghurs never liked the communist regime and after their nation’s accession. There was nothing common between both the regions. From Turkish traditions to their belief in Quran. From the songs they sung to the pictures they painted. From their food to the clothes they wore. Even their Names, language and games were different from that of Chinese. One can understand these disparities by a single fact that Uyghurs have a religion while China believes in atheism.
 

The above Dissimilarities were always dealt in a harsh manner. The PRC put unthinkable restrictions on Uyghur community. No one was allowed to practice Islam or study Quran. Their farmlands and ancestral homes were being snatched away. The influential leaders, nationalist scholars and artists were all being hanged to death. People even came out on streets to save East Turkestan but they were butchered by military. Basically, anyone who uttered a single word against China was behind the bar. Then came the cultural revolution by Mao, only the mention of this incident and one can recall all the horrors of that time. During this incident too, Uyghurs remained the main targets of Maoists. In spite of being poles apart and its unlikeliness for the people, China occupied East Turkestan.


Till this day, Uyghurs are suffering in the hands of communist regime as it desperately tries to hold on this territory but Why????


At present, East Turkestan is the largest Chinese occupied division and the eighth largest country subdivision in the world, spanning over 1.6 million km2.. Not only this,the most well-known route of the historical Silk Road ran through the territory from the east to its northwestern border. In recent decades, abundant oil and mineral reserves have been found here, and it is the largest natural gas-producing region for Beijing. Traditionally an agricultural region, East Turkestan also has large deposits of minerals and oil including abundant reserves of coal, crude oil, and natural gas. 

Ripping off the Uyghur land of its resources,the oil and gas extraction industry in Aksu and Karamay is booming, with the West–East Gas Pipeline connecting to Shanghai. Over a fifth of China’s coal, natural gas and oil resources came due to the invasion of East Turkestan. And today it plays a vital role in Xi Jinping’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative. He is leaving no stone unturned to exploit Uyghurs and suppress their voice of freedom.


Though it is not only the people of East Turkestan who are being punished for their natural wealth. If we take a look at the countries who think China as their ally, we will find that those Governments are themselves wolves in sheep’s clothing. A large number of investments made by Beijing have been in conflicted zones with an authoritarian Government. Countries like Maldives,Philippines, Cambodia, parts of Africa, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt etc. have one thing in common and that is lack of freedom. The common people in these countries are already suffering and by filling the pockets of corrupt politicians, China is making sure that the situation remains the same.


This attitude of a wannabe super power is due to one reason, Economy. China wants to increase and expand its economy by Hook or crook.”


The economic interests of Beijing has always overshadowed the Humanitarian issues all over the world and recent Rohingya crisis is a testimony to this fact. China’s reaction to it has uncovered its true intentions. Millions of Rohingyas were left without homes, many died and children were orphaned but PRCsupported the Myanmar Government. All of this because of a pipeline which will let Beijing acquire 200,000 barrels of crude a day. It is no coincidence that the areas of the pipeline passing through Myanmar’sRakhine states includes ethnic cleansing ofthe Rohingya. 
 

Same is the case in other countries. Beijing’s giant state corporations have invested billions of dollars in dams, oilfields and mines to dominate theCambodian investment landscape. In Maldives, it has given Huge loans to the corrupt PPM Government and investing in infrastructure projects like Hulhumale Housing schemes, bridges etc. It has influenced the Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte so well that he is supporting Xi Jinpingin claiming most of the South China Sea. China has also set up funds with the UAE and Qatar worth a total $20 billion to invest in conventional energy. It extended its contracts to buy oil and half of Beijing’s oil imports originate from the Middle East. The Governments of these countries are either too weak or draconian in nature.


According to Xi Jinping or any Dragon leader it isn’t worth one’s while if millions of people are dying or living in horrible condition. They will keep ignoring Rohingya Genocide, imprisonment of Human Rights activists and journalists, murders of politicians, bloggers being flogged 100 times or Millions forced to step on Land Mines until they hinder China’s growth. They will keep flourishing an economy on the cost of Human lives and pave its way amid corpses. Its been more than 60 years since Uyghurs are suffering and now the Dragon is trapping other countries too.


According to Mao Zedong, Political power grew out of the barrel of the gun. Following his leader, Xi Jinping is growing Economic power too from that same barrel of gun.


Originally posted on Turkistan Times

Why China’s Ganging up against Uyghur Muslims is a threat for the world?


By: Gulnaz Uighur
Follow at: @iamgul8
There are chances that you have not heard about Uyghurs or about our connection with China. So before writing about the threat, here is an introduction to our community. Uyghurs are ethnically Turkic people living in the areas of Central Asia. We practice a moderate form of Islam and our land is called East Turkestan. Though, in 1949 China occupied it and named it as Xinjiang( means new territory). Since then we Uyghurs have been subjected to unspeakable atrocities by the communist regime. Our land is rich in natural resources which became the reason behind its occupation. Our culture and values are entirely different from Chinese ideology. Due to this, we have been imprisoned in our own homes.

The Heights of oppression in China

Uyghurs are not allowed to Practice Islam. Thousands of mosques have been destroyed in the name of development. There have been notices to praise Xi Jinping before Allah, these posters are pasted in every corner of Xinjiang (read East Turkestan). We are not allowed to fast during the month of Ramadan. Beards are banned for Uyghur men. Children below 18 yrs are not allowed to visit pray,visit mosques or learn Islam. If a parent is caught teaching Quran to their kids, they get punished. 

Regular raids are conducted in Uyghur houses without even a warrant. Our language is not taught in schools, there are no job vacancies for us. Child labor is prevalent (I myself have been a victim). Uyghurs are not allowed to leave China, our passports are kept with the authorities. So if someone wants to go abroad, then we first need to visit the police station. Therefore our trip to abroad can easily end in torture,humiliation or imprisonment( authorities in China don’t need a reason to arrest Uyghurs). There are many such things happening with us right now. While you take a sound sleep at your well equipped apartments, our homes are searched and our beloveds, taken away. Most of the time we never hear about their fate, whether they live or die. We never know! 

On top of it all, if some of us escaped or got lucky to legally leave the country. Some Uyghurs who travel for education or are living in asylum are somehow trying to get their life together. But Xi Jinping is not able to see that either, according to him domination is the key to prosperity. 

From Economy to Expansion

Under Xi Jinping’s regime, the Uyghur conflict has been set on fire. China is now Ganging up with other countries against Uyghurs. The recent example is of Turkey’s declaration of blocking Anti-China media came just after signing security deals with the country. Turkey has been a major supporter of Uyghurs and this is a major setback. Although, its not the first time that Xi Jinpinghas used economic ties to restrict the freedom of our community. Recently, Egypt also detained dozens of Uyghur students and arrested hundreds of Uyghurs on the behest of China. This happened despite all of them living legally in Egypt.(Here is a petition for you to support). 
But how the suppression of Uyghurs is a threat for the world? 

If one closely studies the reason and pattern of persecution by China, then one can easily distinguish its motive of using economic tools as a compliment to its expansion policies. By looking at the examples of Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, Pakistan and even Italy( recently Dolkun Isawas not allowed to speak at a conference in Italian senate and was detained instead) etc. We find that just after signing some deals , China was able to dictate their policies about Uyghurs. Earlier these countries didn’t have a problem with us but suddenly they find it difficult to protect Human Rights. There are Uyghurs who were living from past 10 years but today they are forced to flea and live in fear. 

The world knows that Human rights have no place in China itself. And if China continues to strengthen its ties with other countries through projects economic projects. Then soon the human rights situation will become horrible even for the native citizens of those countries. China has always been aggressive about its recession policies and will do anything to expand. The wounds of cultural genocide are still fresh in everyone’s mind. The results of steel revolution by Mao have been horrible too. 

Therefore, the world must learn from the Uyghurs despotism and stop China from throttling the Human rights of Uyghurs. Or it won’t take long for Xi Jinping to choke the necks of those who support him now. 

My name is Gulnaz and I am a Uyghur Muslim


My name is Gulnaz and I am a Uyghur Muslim. My place of birth is East Turkestan but the world knows it as Xinjiang because China says so. When I was a child, entering my teenage, an eleven year old, my family flea “Xinjiang” and till then I had seen enough. Till then an 11 yr old girl had seen enough to understand that she was not safe in China. Today my age is 23 yrs and even after so many years, Xinjiang still Haunts me.
I remember being not allowed to attend school because I had to work in fields with my father. Sometimes I would work alone if my father was unwell. My little hands weren’t able to help much but I had no choice. I remember the eyes of Chinese guards looking at us in the market , it made me feel like I belong to a different planet which is disliked by them. This happened only because we were Uyghurs and Muslims. One Night, they stormed our house , checking every nook and corner. My mother hide me in the basement , gave me a little bottle with liquid in it and instructed me to drink it if an officer tries to touch me. Thankfully, nothing happened and we were told that these are normal search operations. But soon a horrific incident followed which forced us to flea the country.
One of my aunts in neighborhood was pregnant with her second child and her family was planning to send her away as Uyghurs weren’t allowed to have a second child. Somehow the Chinese officials came to know about my aunt and they forced her for abortion. In a dingy hospital room, one night, she died. Patime was 6 months pregnant and doctors operated her while risking her life.
This incident shocked my family and my father decided to leave China. We immediately fled to Turkey but kept changing places, sometimes countries, every two years or so.
All this time we kept hearing news about China’s crackdown on Uyghurs, Urumqi Massacre, demolishing mosques, arresting innocents and about their raids to find Uyghurs living abroad too. My father warned us to never reveal our Uyghur identities and refrained from teaching us about the Uyghur culture too. The terrifying news of Thailand detaining 300 Uyghurs and sending them back to China instilled fear in us again. The fact that no protests or hunger strikes by detained Uyghurs could save them made it clear that once China finds about our family then we will be punished too.
Despite of all the hardships we faced, My father never compromised with our education and he made sure that we got a good schooling. He thinks that only good education can lead us out of this path of slavery or fear. Today, he wants me to become a teacher so that I can contribute in making our world a better place for everyone. Although, I think that I am an activist from inside and whenever I listen or come across a news of Injustice , my blood boils and I become determined to do something. Our world has been seen as divided between First World and Third World countries but Uyghurs aren’t given place in any of those spheres. We are people living in a fourth country which has been left to suffer by the world leaders but Why? Aren’t Uyghurs Human beings too? So few years back, the Uyghur in me took over and I made my account on Twitter(@iamgul8).
Here I try to talk with as many people as I can to convey the struggle of Uyghurs in China. Why should we suffer just because we are Uyghurs or Muslims? What is our crime? Out of many people I contacted , some of them always asked about my story, so this is for them. But I can’t tell anything else because that can leave my family in trouble.
After this story, my chances of being chased by Chinese officials are increased and I may go silent . But our story is important . The world has long enough ignored Uyghurs and now they have to stand with us. Like many Uyghurs another Gulnaz may get abducted,tortured or killed but her fight, our fight against injustice must be continued by someone and it has to be you!
In search of a safe world,
Gulnaz Uighur

15 things You Need To Know About China’s Torture of Uyghur Muslims


By Gulnaz Uyghur

The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region is China’s largest provincial unit, accounting for one sixth of the Chinese territory. This region does not belong to the country as it was occupied in 1949. Uyghur Muslims are the ethnic population of this region and call this land, East Turkestan. Even after its occupation, the demands for freedom has always been alive and keeps growing due to the ruthless suppression of Muslims by the Chinese Government.

Below are the 15 ways through which Chinese authorities torture Uyghurs and suffocate them in their own land.

1. Forced Labour is Mandatory for Uyghurs

In Xinjiang, it is compulsory for Uyghur residents to participate in unpaid labor, called hashar. They are not provided any compensation for their labor and forced to pay for their own transportation and meal costs. Workers who are injured are also required to look after their own medical expenses. In some cases, if someone sends a family member to work, then Uyghurs need to pay a fine for that.
2. Children are also pulled out for forced labor

Uyghur families that do not have an able bodied young men are also not exempt from the system. Men and women as old as 70 and children as young as 12 are reported to have participated. Uyghur secondary school students are at times pulled out of classrooms in order to meet laborquotas.
3. Teenagers are arrested due to posts on social media

Young Uyghurs are arrested for posting comments on social media or watching Islamic videos online. Once a 15 yr old was arrested in the same case and sentenced for 10 years!.Other than this not many people are given internet connection and Police can arrest anyone for watching anything online! Uyghur homes are also raided for materials deemed “extreme” or “subversive.

4. Muslim farmers are required to sell below market rates

Government regulations require many Uyghur farmers to sell their produce to local governments at below market prices. This results in extreme poverty for the Uyghur families as they are not able to earn appropriate money to feed their own families.
5. Farmlands are confiscated by the government

It has become common for Chinese authorities to confiscate farmland and property of Uyghurs. These assets are then redistributed to Chinese migrants. Uyghurs who petition these practices are often charged without trial for “harming ethnic unity”.
6. Discrimination of Uyghurs

On paper, the Chinese migrants are shown equal to Uyghurs. In reality, they enjoy far more entitlements than Uyghur farmers. The Chinese migrants not only enjoy the freedom to harvest any crop, they can also take out bank loans and are entitled to greater water resources.
7. A man was shot for keeping a beard

No man, in Xinjiang is allowed to keep beard. Uyghur men refusing to shave their beards are frequently harassed, intimidated, with one man having been shot by police in one instance. According to the Chinese Government keeping a beard is a sign of being an extremist.
8. Most Uyghur don’t know about their basic rights

Most of the Uyghur population, especially those of the older generation, lack a basic knowledge of human rights and don’t even know their rights as citizens according to the constitution. This is because they have never been given these rights and lack of education has also played a very large role in it. Most of the times they are exploited by claiming that it’s a law.
9. Nikah is considered illegal in China

In April 2014, Chinese authorities instigated a system of rewards, some exceeding more than 50,000 Yuan (USD 7500), for whistle-blowers who reported on a range of illegal religious activities including the wearing of beards and the practice of Nikah, a traditional religious marriage ceremony. Chinese authorities take harsh steps to ban religious freedom in East Turkestan.
10. Muslims are ordered to sell Alcohol

Chinese authorities in Hotan County, Hotan Prefecture ordered shopkeepers to stock alcohol and cigarettes in a campaign to “weaken religion,” as Uyghur residents refrained from drinking and smoking for religious reasons. All these actions are a part of ‘Strike hard campaign’ by the government, which is actually a campaign against Uyghur Muslims.
11. Muslim names are banned

The Chinese Government has banned Muslim names in the region. The security officials go from house-to-house ordering parents to ensure that their children’s names do not fall on a list of 22 banned names. Which include mostly Muslim names. Uyghur parents are not even allowed to name their child according to their wish.
12. Imams are imprisoned

No one in Xinjiang is allowed to teach Quran outside the mosques. And children below 18 years old are not allowed to enter the Mosques. It is a crime to give any kind of teaching related to Islam in Xinjiang. Often parents are harassed for even keeping the Quran at home. Religious leaders often serve prison sentences for the peaceful observation and practice of Islam.
13. Every year Ramadan is banned

During the holy month of Ramadan, restaurants in Hotan have been forbidden from being shutting down. Workers are forced to participate in educational activities on atheism. Government servants, students and anyone working for the party is not allowed to celebrate Ramadan. Various competitions related to eating and drinking are organized in the region to force feed people during the month.
14. Women are forced to abort their child

Pregnant Uyghur women in stages of gestation as late as 9 months have been forced to undergo abortions in some cases under China’s one-child policy. This practice is still brutally followed in Xinjiang and Uyghur women are sometimes forced to flee their homes due to this.
15. Uyghurs are not allowed to leave China

In 2014, Chinese authorities in Hotan began limiting Uyghurs’ ability to travel, both domestically and abroad through passport restrictions. These restrictions have increased now as the police authorities are collecting the passports of Uyghurs and keeping them in the office. At present , it is impossible for Uyghurs to travel abroad as first they would need to face interrogation which will most probably result in their arrest.