Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 1 No. 1

Published by Eastern Turkestan Union in Europe

Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 1 No. 1 (May 1991)

We are happy to present you the first issue of Eastern Turkestan Information (ETI). ETI is published by The Eastern Turkestan Cultural and Social Association (ETCSA), established in January 11, 1991 in Munich, Germany.
We hope ETI will be a valuable source of information on the current situation in Eastern Turkestan, its people, culture and civilization. Published periodically ETI provides an objective forum for discussion on a wide range of topics and complex issues .
We welcome contributions of news items, features, comments and letters to the editor. We cannot guarantee publication of all submissions; however, we will do our best to accommodate as many as possible. All submissions will be subject to editing for purposes of clarity and propriety. ETI does not accept responsibility for the views expressed in signed articles that appear in its pages.
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Today, the Turkic peoples (Uygurs, Kazakhs, Kirghiz), of Eastern Turkestan are waging a life and death struggle for survival. Since occupying Eastern Turkestan, Chinese Communists have pursued a policy of systematic asslmilation of the country's Turkic peoples in order to eliminate their culture and exterminate their beliefs. To speed this assimilation the Chinese Communists have encouraged mixed marriages, forced birth control, and Chinese settlement in the area.
The ever growing Chinese population has brought unemployment, hunger and disaster to the peoples of Eastern Turkestan. Fundamental individual human rights and freedoms of the peoples of Eastern Turkestan including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, continue to be violated by the Chinese Communists. Eastern Turkestani people seeking only to live with dignity continue to be killed, tortured and imprisoned on political grounds. If this policy is continued the peoples of Eastern Turkestan may well disappear from the historical scene within decades.
Although we share the same destiny with our Tibetan brothers and sisters, the Free World knows very little about the real situation in Eastern Turkestan. Distorted information supplied by ; the Chinese Communist rulers leaves the situation of the -Turkic peoples of Eastern Turkestan clouded in mystery.
Our national struggle for self-determination undoubtedly will be carried out within the boundaries of Eastern Turkestan as it has been before. We, who are in exile, are not in a position to participate in this fundamental struggle so long as we are far from our homelands. However, we do not lack the energy to make contributions to the national 6truggle and this we regard as our patriotic obligation. One of these contributions is the publication of objective information that can cast light on the conditions of our peoples at home. In this way we can fight back at the treacherous propaganda of the Communist rulers.
--Istanbul, April 1991
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The homeland of the Turkic peoples is Turkestan. The name Turkestan is of Iranian origin, meaning "The land of Turkic peoples", and dates from the 7th century.
The western part of Turkestan had been gradually conquered by Tsarist Russia by 1865, when it became known as Western Turkestan. In the 1920's, after the formation of the USSR, Western Turkestan was divided into five republics called Uzbekistan, Kazakhistan, Kirghizistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The eastern part of Turkestan was invaded by the Manchu rulers of China in 1876. Subsequently, Eastern Turkestan was called Xinjiang or Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region by the Chinese.
Eastern Turkestan lies in the heart of Asia. It borders on Western Turkestan to the northwest, the Mongolian Peoples Republic to the northeast, Afghanistan to the southwest, Pakistan, India and Tibet to the south, and China to the east.
The area of Eastern Turkestan is 1.6 million square kilometers, about one-sixth of the total area of China, including other Chinese colonies like Tibet and Inner Mongolia.
The number of people living in Eastern Turkestan is a matter of considerable debate. No satisfactory census has ever been made. According to data from the 1990 census, released by the State Statistical Bureau of the People's Republic of China, the present population is slightly over 15 million, of which 7,214,431 are Uygurs, 1,111,718 are Kazakhs, 141,549 are Kirghiz lS,OOO are Uzbeks, 5,000 are Tatars, 33,000 are Tajiks, 90,000 are ethnic Manchus, 600,000 are Hui, and the remainder Chinese.
After 210 B.C Eastern Turkestan fell under the sway of various Turkic rulers including the Huns (220 B.C.- 386 B.C.), the Tabgach (386-534), the Kokturk (552-744), the Uygur (744-840), the Karakhoja Idikut Uygur Kingdom (846-1397), the Karakhanids (840-1218), and the Turkic Mongols (1218-1759).
The Chinese, seizing opportunities created by the occasional weakening of such states, launched six major invasions on Eastern Turkestan in 104 B.C., 59 B.C., 73 A.D., 448 A.D., 657 A.D., and 744 AD. The first invasion was thwarted by the peoples of Eastern Turkestan in 86 B.C., the second in 10 B.C., the third in 102 A.D., the fourth in 460 A.D., the fifth in 669 A.D., and the last in 751 A.D. Thus, during a period of 855 years the total length of Chinese occupation was only 157 years. It must be also said that during these 157 years China could not establish a complete control over Eastern Turkestan because of continued resistance. Apart from these 157 years of Chinese occupation, Eastern Turkestan remained a free and independent country for 698 years.
After the last defeat of the Chinese by the combined forces of Arabs, Turkic peoples and the Tibetans in 751 A.D., and discounting the period of Mongol rule, a period of 1000 years passed before Eastern Turkestan was conquered by the Manchus. Mongol rule cannot be accepted as a Chinese domination of Eastern Turkestan because the Uygurs, the local inhabitants of this country, voluntarily joined the Mongol Empire and maintained their sovereignty, playing an important role throughout the history of that empire. On the other hand, during the Mongol rule a law was adopted, according to which the Chinese were treated as the lowest caste in the empire with no rights whatsoever.
The Manchus, who established a huge empire in China, invaded Eastern Turkestan in 1759, and dominated it until 1860. -During this period the Turkic peoples of Eastern Turkestan revolted 42 times against their Manchu rulers. In the 1860's the Turkic peoples of Eastern Turkestan succeeded in expelling the Manchus from their land and founded an independent state under the leadership of Yakup Beg Badavlat, lasting 16 years.
Fearing Tsarist Russian expansion into Eastern Turkestan, Great Britain persuaded the Manchu court to conquer Eastern Turkestan again. The money for this invasion was supplied by British banks.
Large forces under the overall command of the Manchu-Chinese General Zho Zhung Tang attacked Eastern Turkestan in 1876. After this invasion, Eastern Turkestan was given the n2me Xinjiang, and it was annexed to the territory of the Manchu empire on November 18, 1884.
In 1911, Nationalist Chinese, under the leadership of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, overthrew the Manchu ruler in China and established a republic.
The Turkic peoples of Eastern Turkestan, who wanted to free themselves from foreign domination, staged several uprisings against the Nationalist Chinese rule during this period. Twice, in 1933 and 1944, the Turkic peoples were successful in setting up an independent Eastern Turkestan Republic. But these independent republics were overthrown, by the military intervention and political intrigue of the Soviet Union.
In 1949 the Nationalist Chinese were defeated by the Chinese Communists, after which Eastern Turkestan fell under Chinese Communist rule.
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China has recently launched a scathing attack on three books published in Eastern Turkestan, denouncing them for trying to break up the country and create an independent Eastern Turkestan State. Although printed by a government publishing house, the books have been banned by Chinese authorities. According to the Chinese, the books have brazenly advocated independence, agitated for splitting the country, harmed ethnic unity and damaged the unity of the motherland.
The harshest attack was aimed at the book entitled The Uygur People, by Turgun Almas, a veteran Uygur writer who lives in Eastern Turkestan. Also singled out for criticism were A Brief History of The Hunn and Ancient Uygur Literature.
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Tomur Dawamet, governor of the so-called Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in a recent press conference in Beijing has said that foreign forces are stirring up separatist trouble among ethnic and religious groups in "Xinjiang". He declined to go into detail about which foreigners were involved, except to mention Isa Yusuf Alptekin, the Eastern Turkestani leader, who lives in Turkey.
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On February 25, 1991 a strong earthquake of magnitude 6.5 occurred in Kalpin county, Aksu Prefecture. This was followed by six aftershocks at 0ZOO GMT on February 26. As of 0200 GMT on 26 February, the earthquake had resulted in the collapse of 43 houses with a total floor space of 2.468 square meters, rendering 213 people homeless, and had left 937 houses with a total floor space of 82,478 square meters in an unsafe condition.
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Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference has decided to publish a new newspaper to be known as the Xinjiang Political Consultation News, in order to meet the needs of the people's political consultation work and the development of the peoples' unity.
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The Eastern Turkestan Regional Party Committee has convened a meeting of various religious figures. During the meeting Janabil, the Kazakh deputy secretary of the regional party committee, said, Internationally, our country is still facing the threat of peaceful evolution, and there is still a complicated class struggle at home. In Xinjiang, national separatism currently remains the main threat to stability. Some national separatists and class enemies are still unceasingly carrying out various separatist and sabotage activities. In the face of current complicated international situation, the religious circles in the region should enhance their vigilance, keep sober minds, defend the unity of our country, strengthen national unity, and fight against separatism.
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The oil output of Eastern Turkestan recorded an annual increase of 6.36 percent during 1986-1990. The region produced 30.61 million tons of oil during the period, a 41.5 percent increase over the previous plan period. The annual output oil went up from 4.99 million tons in 1985 to 6.8 million tons last year.
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Isa Yusuf Alptekin, during a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey, said that it was his country's turn to be liberated now that Kuwait's occupation had ended. "The world reacted immediately to Iraq's occupation and annexation of Kuwait and liberated it. We congratulate the United States and the allied forces. What is sad, however, is that no one uttered a single word when China occupied Eastern Turkestan, Southern Mongolia and Tibet," he said. 'As the Chinese Communists committed atrocities against our peoples and tortured them, the whole world looked the other way. China is now assimilating our peoples, in Eastern Turkestan, Southern Mongolia and Tibet" he said.
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On the first anniversary of the Baren uprising, Eastern Turkestanis living abroad held meetings to remember the victims of the Baren uprising, near Kashgar, in Eastern Turkestan. On April 5, 1990 an armed uprising broke out in Baren township against the unjust Chinese rule. Chinese authorities dispatched almost 200,000 Anti-Squad special forces from the Lanzhou Military District to crush the uprising. Witnesses said one thousand Turkic people lost their lives in the clashes, nine townships were totally destroyed and 10,000 Turkic were arrested.
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Economic and commercial ties are growing between Eastern Turkestan and the Western Turkestan Republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakhistan, Kirghizstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. It has been reported that trade -- notably in consumer goods and light industrial products-had more than quadrupled in the last three years, and grew especially quickly following the visit of Soviet President Gorbachev to China in May 1989 and the trip to Moscow of Chinese Premier Li Peng one year later. Exchanges between Eastern and Western Turkestan will be expanded further, according to the information, following the completion of a 470 kilometer railroad link between Urumchi, the capital of Eastern Turkestan and Alma Ata, the capital of Kazakhistan.
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EASTERN TURKESTAN, KAZAKHSTAN LINKED BY TELEPHONE Direct telephone communications between Eastern Turkestan and Kazakhstan were officially opened recently. This is the only direct telephone link between Eastern Turkestan and Western Turkestan.
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In a ceremony at the headquarters of the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, Holland, on February 11,1990 representatives of 35 million people with no voice at the UN signed the founding charter of the Unrepresented Nation's and Peoples Organization (UNPO). During negotiations in The Hague, representatives of Tibet, Southern Mongolia, Eastern Turkestan, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, Armenia and indigenous peoples from five continents, drew up a charter for the organization. Linnart Mall from Estonia, was elected chairman, Erkin Alptekin, an Uygur from Eastern Turkestan, vice chairman, and Michael van Walt, an international lawyer, General Secretary of the UNPO. UNPO's purpose is to give a voice to nations which have no international representation. Its guiding principles are non-recourse to violence and terrorism, non-alignment and self-determination.
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Isa Yusuf Alptekin, the leader of Eastern Turkestanis, sent a message to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, congratulating him on the success of his recent visit to the United States and thanking him for his staunch support of the Eastern Turkestan cause. H.H. the Dalai Lama held a private meeting with U.S. President George Bush at the White House and informed him about the situation in Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Eastern Turkestan, describing massive human rights violations and Chinese occupation of these countries.
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As of March 1, 1991 Kommunizim Tughi ( The Banner of Communism), the Soviet Uygur inter-republican newspaper, has been renamed Uygur Avazi (The Voice of the Uygurs). By dropping all reference to communism the publication is responding to positive changes in the USSR. Kommunizim Tughi began publication on March 1, 1957, and during the past 34 years it has become the main organ of the almost 300,000 Uygurs living in the Soviet Union. At present it has 19,300 subscribers.
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Madhulika Sikka and James A. Millward, who travelled to Eastern Turkestan last summer, have written the following impressions of their trip:
...Out of its billion-plus people only 16 million are Muslims. But half of them are concentrated here in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, with the country's richest lode of strategic minerals, were Beijing sees one of its biggest 'minority' problems, somewhat like Moscow's worries with its Central Asian republics... Chinese geologists claim the region may contain more than 5.8 billion barrels of oil, and Xinjiang's Tarim Basin is very likely to become country's major oil and natural gas production center, reported China Daily, the official English-language newspaper. Xinjiang also has rich deposits of gold, platinum, iron ore, and copper, according to the Chinese government, and one-third of China's total coal reserves...
Strategically Xinjiang is probably the most sensitive of China's autonomous regions, bordering the Soviet Union to the north, Mongolia to the east, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the west, and Tibet to the south... With their Caucasian features, hazel eyes and brown hair, most of Xinjiang's minorities, bear little resemblance to more than a billion Han people of China. Most have more in common with their ethnic brethren in neighboring Soviet Central Asia, including language...
The introduction in 1989 of a limited family policy for minorities, plus the curb on religious freedom, has led to friction once more. 'In Inner China there is not enough space for people, but here we have much space,' said a well educated young Uighur. 'This policy is because if there are too many minorities we will outnumber the Han.'..
Fearful of unrest after the elimination of the Turkestan Republic, Beijing began relocating millions of Han to Xinjiang during early days of Communist China. In the 1950s less than six per cent of the population was Han. Today the figure is more than 40 per cent (80 per cent in the city of Kashgar), and there is the uneasy feel of a family gathering coping with the intrusion unwelcome guests. Four decades have done little to lesson the animosity between the Han and the Uighur... Urumchi (pop. 400,000), the regional capital, at first glance appears to be like any other small Chinese city... Just as during the height of the Cultural Revolution, the government has once again resorted to sloganeering to stress the message of ethnic unity. Such tactics are a measure of its concern. Billboard campaigns with neat little slogans sum up the importance of the minorities issue. 'Splitism is the prime danger to the unity of the Motherland,' read one. 'The minorities can't be parted from the Han and the Han can't be parted from the minorities,' claimed another.
There is a deceptive calm in Xinjiang. Local residents are wary of talking to foreigners, as they fear they may be watched. Just as with 1989 Beijing demonstrators, the government likes to blame outside agitators, and journalists were barred until late summer. Now they are welcomed only when accompanied by government officials. But, upon gaining people's confidence, we found a sense of nationalism and resentment toward the Han. 'The Uighurs, the Kazakh, the Kirghiz are the real owners of Xinjiang,' said a defiant young Uighur. 'Being part of China means we are in the minority. That has been a disaster for development. It is better for us to be independent. Then we will be the majority," he added.
A large percentage Xinjiang's population lives below the official poverty line of 42.50 dollars per year. 'The Chinese want to keep us down, because they know if weare given opportunities we can be strong and cause trouble like Wuer Kaixi (Orkesh)' a Uighur college graduate told us..."
(Madhulika Sikka and James A. Millward, a wife/ husband writing team, traveled through Eastern Turkestan last summer. She is lead researcher for the nightly news program World Monitor: A Television Presentation of the Christian Science Monitor. He is a doctoral candidate in Chinese history at Stanford University, preparing a dissertation on the history of Eastern Turkestan.)
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ETI is published by the East Turkestan Cultural and Social Association, Nanga-Parbat Str. 17A, 8000 Munich, Germany, Asgar Can, Editor. All inquiries and contributions should be addressed to the editor.

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Last updated 06/29/99