Uyghurs are a distinct people with their territories claimed by the Peoples’ Republic of China. They are largely practicing Muslims and speak their own language. For more than sixty years the Uyghurs have agitated against the growing domination of their territory by Han-the majority population in China. The Chinese government enforces school instruction in Mandarin in Uyghur territory and it provides economic incentives to Han to settle in what China calls Uyghur territory–Xinjiang.
Today, as reported by the BBC and the New York Times, nine people were executed by the Chinese government for advocating, demonstrating for Uyghur independence and against increased Han migration to what East Turkistan–the country Uyghurs seek to reestablish as an independent republic.
[Source: New York Times]
Uyghurs achieved a short period of independence from China in 1933 with the establishment of the Turkish Islamic Republic of East Turkestan. Through trickery the Russian supported Sheng Shicai turned against the supporters of the Republic and ruled the country in the name of the China. Again in 1944, during World War II, a rebellion by the Uyghurs and their supporters established the Second East Turkistan Republic that survived until 1949.
Leaders of the Uyghur people have persistently sought independence and their followers have been punished by jail or death by the the Chinese government. China is in effect annexing East Turkistan in much the same it is annexing Tibet–by Han occupation.
The annexation process is having the effect of cultural genocide in Tibet and East Turkistan. The practice is well known and historically celebrated by countries like Brazil, United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Indonesia in West Papua, and recently by the Serbs in Europe and the French in New Caledonia. Condemned under international law, overwhelming an indigenous population by occupying their territory with one’s own nationals is a crime against humanity.
Signatory countries to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples violate the spirit and the commitments of this solemn declaration of 145 states’ governments when they impose their language, economy, social institutions and their nationals on an indigenous population with the intention of eliminating the existence of that population as a cultural, economic, political and social reality. China is a signator and it is acting with the force of a wild west colonizer and it must cease and desist. Like the rulers of other “wild west states” China’s leaders seek to control oil and other natural resources at the expense–no, with the lost lives and culture of the Uyghur peoples.
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