Etnia uigur

Ethnic Uyghurs gather in a local food market in the old town of Kashgar, Xinjiang province, China, on June 26, 2017.Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Instruction began early on a November 2018 morning. This lesson was not taught in a classroom, but in a makeshift kitchen as part of Xinjiang’s “household school” program. There, a teacher stood before her class of adult women and asked: “What do you like to eat for breakfast?”

The students responded in unison, “nan and milk” or “nan and tea”.

“You don’t eat a bowl of hot congee?” the teacher interjected. This question sparked additional discussion and “even more curiosity” among the women in attendance.

As described in the official government social media account Xinjiang Women’s Voices, the teacher, affiliated with the Xinjiang branch of the All-China Women’s Federation, then offered hands-on tutorials for preparing fried dough sticks (youtiao), congee, onion pancakes, and steamed buns, among other side dishes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Police officers in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, May 2021. Thomas Peter / Reuters

Starting in late 2017, Uyghur and Kazakh émigrés from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China began hearing frightening reports from relatives and friends at home—or began losing contact with those relatives and friends entirely. Through early 2018, journalists and researchers began to flesh out the story: in the vast Central Asian territory annexed by China in 1949, also known to many exiles as Eastern Turkestan, the government was rounding up people who do not belong to the country’s Han ethnic majority (including the Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group) and locking them in camps. At their peak, these facilities interned between one and two million people, and detainees were subjected to psychological and physical torture, rape and sexual assault, forced administration of pills and injections, persistent hunger, and sleep deprivation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Why China’s Crimes in Xinjiang Cannot Go Unpunished

For years, China denied committing human rights violations in Xinjiang, denounced its accusers and tried to block a United Nations investigation. Now we know why.

The U.N.’s long-delayed findings, released late last month, confirmed the most chilling allegations by ethnic Uyghurs: systematic mass internment, disappearances, torture, cultural and religious erasure and political indoctrination of Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities.

The U.N.’s human right office, which compiled the report, said these allegations may amount to crimes against humanity, the most severe violations, along with genocide and war crimes, under international law. Despite China’s long record of documented human rights abuses, this was the first time it faced such grave accusations from the United Nations.…  Seguir leyendo »

A security guard watches from a tower at the detention facility in China's Xinjiang region on March 21, 2021. (Ng Han Guan/AP)

On her very last day in the job, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet released her long-delayed report on the Chinese government’s mass atrocities against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the western region of Xinjiang. The damning findings are shocking — but they should come as no surprise, considering the world has known about these abuses for years. So why isn’t the U.S. government doing more to stop them?

The U.N. report stops short of designating China’s abuses in Xinjiang as an ongoing genocide — contrary to the Biden administration, which has described the situation in exactly those terms.…  Seguir leyendo »

Michelle Bachelet with China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, in Guangzhou, China, May 2022. Photograph: Deng Hua/AP

On Wednesday, minutes before the midnight end of her four-year appointment as UN high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet’s office at last published her long-delayed report into the continuing human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region of China. That it would do so remained uncertain to the last. Just the day before, it was being reported that her term would come to an end with the issue unresolved, despite numerous demands at Tuesday’s meeting of the human rights council – including from Britain’s ambassador to it, Rita French – that the report be released.

For scholars of Xinjiang, the uncertainty was nothing new.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chamath Palihapitiya, part-owner of the Golden State Warriors basketball team, has been criticized for saying that "nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs" in China. (Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg)

It’s one thing to stay silent about mass atrocities. It’s quite another thing to actively help the oppressors whitewash their crimes. The Winter Olympics beginning next month in China, where the government is committing a genocide against Uyghur Muslims, is turning all of its partners into atrocity deniers before our eyes.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which consistently stands with the Chinese government against anyone who speaks up against its human rights violations, insists that the Games are strictly apolitical. But that has never really been the case. Before the 1936 Berlin Games, African American runner Jesse Owens spoke out against the persecution of minorities inside Germany (while he still faced personal racial discrimination at home).…  Seguir leyendo »

A protester from the Uyghur community living in Turkey, holds an anti-China placard during a protest in Istanbul, on 25 March. Photograph: Bülent Kılıç/AFP/Getty Images

“Wholly counterproductive”, was how Newcastle academic Joanne Smith Finley described China’s sanctions on her, along with a series of British politicians and lawyers, as punishment for their advocacy for the Uyghurs. That was putting it mildly. But is it the case that western sanctions on China will be, by contrast, productive? Sadly, that seems unlikely.

International outrage at China’s policies of incarceration and social coercion in Xinjiang continues to grow. As someone who has been engaged with the region for two decades, I see that as much needed. But it’s crucial the energy being generated is put to good use. The gloves may be off, but what is the strategy?…  Seguir leyendo »

Guards at a ‘vocational skills education centre’ for Uighur people in Huocheng County, Xinjiang, 2018. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

It came as no surprise to me that I have been included on the list of those sanctioned by the Chinese government for vocal criticisms of the human rights abuses towards Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province. China is not big on freedom of speech.

In the “tit-for-tat game that is part of foreign relations, this action is of little consequence. On a personal level, I will be sad not to visit China again, as I have great admiration for many Chinese academics and human rights advocates with whom I have had contact. However, I have no assets to freeze, no investments and no secret property, and my legal work seeking to protect human rights will go on as before.…  Seguir leyendo »

Uighur Turks protest outside the Chinese consulate-general in Istanbul, February 2021. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

When I left my children five years ago, I did it in a rush. I didn’t have time to grab any mementoes, any toys. All I took was a single family photo.

At the time, my husband and I felt we had no choice. As Uighurs in Xinjiang, the Chinese authorities had been harassing us constantly and demanding that we give up our passports. There would be “consequences” if we didn’t. There was also a strict birth control policy. They wanted to do a “body check” on me to see if I was pregnant, and I was.

We had managed to get visas to go to Italy, but we feared there would be questions at the border if we left with all our children at once.…  Seguir leyendo »

For too long, the world has ignored reports of China's mass detention and forced labor of Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities in the northwest region of Xinjiang. Now, both CNN and the BBC have published deeply reported and horrifying accounts of rape, abuse, and torture detailed by Uyghur women who'd been held in China's internment camps.

China has since banned BBC World News from airing in the country and denied the abuse, telling CNN that "it is strictly forbidden to insult and abuse trainees in any way". But the women's accounts add to a record that includes reports of forced abortions and sterilizations, high-tech surveillance, and Uyghur children being separated from their parents.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘China’s regime has built about 400 internment camps in Xinjiang: they describe these prisons as “re-education camps”.’ Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

In the dying days of the Trump administration, outgoing secretary of state Mike Pompeo declared that China was committing genocide against the Uighur Muslims. Yet there is no reason to believe he was sincere in his solidarity or his repugnance at state-sanctioned violence. That’s because, given Pompeo’s record, he’s clearly no friend of Muslims and no champion of human rights.

In 2014, he said the chief threat to the US “is from people who deeply believe that Islam is the way and the light and the only answer”. A year earlier, he used collective blaming to tarnish all senior US Muslims for the acts of two terrorist bombers at the Boston marathon.…  Seguir leyendo »

My Uighur Roots

The first time I truly realized I was Uighur was just three years ago, when I saw the now-infamous viral photo of rows of Turkic men in dark blue uniforms, sitting in a concentration camp in Hotan, Xinjiang, a so-called Uighur autonomous region in China. Scanning the prisoners’ despondent faces, I was startled by their familiar features. Prominent cheekbones, round eyes, aquiline noses. My face was in theirs.

This photo forced me to come to terms with an unsettling truth. Although I have lived in the United States my entire life, China’s forced assimilation policies still reached me. I’ve always known that my maternal grandmother was half Uighur, but my family has only ever identified as Chinese.…  Seguir leyendo »

During my first year living in Ürümchi, the capital of Xinjiang, I met Aynür (not her real name). It was 2007, and she described life in China as difficult but improving for Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking predominantly Muslim people. Aynür spoke both Uighur and Mandarin, and was proud of being “in-between cultures”. She described herself as a bridge between the Han majority, who make up about 90% of China’s population and the Uighurs, Xinjiang’s ethnic majority.

Aynür invited me to her home and we watched China’s national day celebrations – parades of tanks, warheads, and motorcades – on TV . Aynür could not understand my lack of amusement; the spectacle made her proud of China’s rapid development and hopeful that Xinjiang’s problems could be resolved.…  Seguir leyendo »

China Disappeared My Professor

I last saw my old professor Abduqadir Jalalidin at his Urumqi apartment in late 2016. Over home-pulled laghman noodles and a couple of bottles of Chinese liquor, we talked and laughed about everything from Uighur literature to American politics. Several years earlier, when I had defended my master’s thesis on Uighur poetry, Jalalidin, himself a famous poet, had sat across from me and asked hard questions. Now we were just friends.

It was a memorable evening, one I’ve thought about many times since learning in early 2018 that Jalalidin had been sent, along with more than a million other Uighurs, to China’s internment camps.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘All the trainees … have returned to society,’ said Xinjiang’s governor last year. An education centre near Kashgar, Xinjiang. Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

Since 2017, Xinjiang in China has been reeling from a brutal crackdown outlawing both public and private displays of Uighur culture or identity, not to mention political dissent. A cornerstone of this repression, and the foundation upon which all other coercive measures are built, is an intense and unparalleled carceral regime: a network of hundreds of political indoctrination camps, detention centres and prisons. This has forced the region’s inhabitants not only into obedience but also into a chilling silence.

By most estimates, about 10% of Uighurs and other Muslim nationalities in Xinjiang have found themselves arbitrarily detained in these camps.

While researching human rights in Xinjiang at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a non-partisan thinktank based in Canberra, I’ve spent two years scouring satellite imagery and working with journalists, researchers and survivors to locate as many of these secretive camps as possible.…  Seguir leyendo »

One of China’s ‘re-education’ centres in Dabancheng, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

When China imposed trade sanctions on Norway in 2010 for honouring the imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo with the Nobel peace prize, it spat out a word we weren’t used to hearing from propagandists for an atheist communist regime, but should get used to today. “It’s a blasphemy,” a party mouthpiece said.

Once, blasphemy was damning the faithful’s gods and sacred books. Now, criticism of the world’s largest dictatorship has become sacrilegious. You shouldn’t be surprised. As some of us tried to say in the 1990s and 2000s, the gap between the sacred and the profane was never as wide as religious sentimentalists and liberal multiculturalists believed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Uighur security personnel patrol near the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in western China's Xinjiang region in November 2017. (Ng Han Guan/AP)

Large red X’s smeared across the doors of each home. Transformers ripped from their sockets. A lone child’s tricycle, abandoned in the street.

It was around 10:30 one night in the fall of 2018 when I fumbled around the darkness of Kashgar’s historic Yarbeshi neighborhood, famous for being the last authentic holdout of traditional Kashgari culture. Locals and recent travel blogs had both assured me that, although guards blocked foreigners’ entry to Yarbeshi during the day, I would find a vibrant night market if I snuck in after 10 p.m. Instead, I was confronted by evidence of a mass disappearance.

A stone’s throw away, a festive night market was in full swing in a re-creation of Kashgar’s historic district — where the Uighur culture on display was cheap, bubbly and state-approved.…  Seguir leyendo »

Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil posted to his millions of social media fans about the persecution of Uighurs in China. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Arsenal star Mesut Özil tends to cause controversy on and off the pitch. That is why he should be applauded for speaking out about the plight of Uighurs in China and helping to raise awareness of one of the worst human rights atrocities of the modern era.

Özil posted to his millions of followers on social media on Friday about the persecution of Uighurs, condemning silence from Muslims on the issue. Özil is a Muslim who won the World Cup with the German national team before quitting international football amid claims of “racism and disrespect” over his Turkish heritage.

He is right to speak out.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters demanding freedom for Prof. Dilmurat Ghpur and Prof. Tashpolat Tiyh in Munich, Germany, on February 2

Sometime after he disappeared in 2017, Tashpolat Tiyip, a Uyghur leader, Communist Party member and the president of Xinjiang University, was reportedly sentenced to death in a secret trial

Apart from a leaked government film that accused him of ethnic "separatism", the Chinese state has provided no explanation for the geography professor's detention. Like hundreds of other Uyghur intellectuals, the government has made him disappear.

Tiyip was given a two-year suspended death sentence in September 2017. And as that deadline nears, Amnesty International has issued a statement warning that his execution may be imminent. More than 1,000 scholars from around the world have signed a petition from the American Association of Geographers asking the government of Chinese President Xi Jinping to stay Tiyip's execution and release him.…  Seguir leyendo »

European Companies Get Rich in China’s ‘Open Air Prison’

Many people around the world may just now be learning that around a million Uighur Muslims and other minorities have been locked up in extrajudicial internment camps in the region of Xinjiang, in western China. There is a reason for that: Xinjiang is remote and the Chinese government has expended considerable effort to keep the news hidden, from harassing foreign journalists to seizing family members of activists to censoring information within its own borders.

Herbert Diess, however, should have no excuse.

Mr. Diess is the chief executive of Volkswagen, which opened a plant in Xinjiang in 2013 that employs almost 700 local workers and can make up to 50,000 cars a year.…  Seguir leyendo »