Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 1 No. 3

Published by Eastern Turkestan Union in Europe

Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 1 No. 3 (September 1991)

One Chinese regime has been called Feudal, a second Reactionary, and a third Progressive, yet the policies of Feudal, Nationalist and Communist China toward the peoples of Eastern Turkestan have been, with minor differences, identical. All were based on three main principles: divide and rule, assimilate and Da Han Chu-i meaning to create a "Greater Chinese Nation".
The first to practice this policy in Eastern Turkestan were Zhou Zhun Tang, Commander in Chief of the Manchu Chinese forces in Eastern Turkestan, Liu Ching Tang, the first Governor General, and Yuan Da Hua, who succeeded him.
These three Feudal Chinese administrators were responsible for giving Eastern Turkestan the name "Xinjiang" and for annexing it directly to China. Under their administration, Eastern Turkestan was divided into four administrative regions, and the Uygurs, accused of being rebellious, were subjected to a policy aimed at destroying their pride and self-respect. At the same time, seeds of discord were sown among the peoples of Eastern Turkestan and all cities, towns and counties were given Chinese names.
In an effort to completely transform Eastern Turkestan into a Chinese province, Chinese settlers were brought in from such provinces as Gansu, Hunan and Yunan.
People of Eastern Turkestan were forced to marry Chinese, to wear Chinese dress, to show exaggerated respect to Chinese officials, and to kneel when they met a Chinese official. Chinese officials were given the right to punish, at their own discretion, the people of Eastern Turkestan, to imprison them, and even to have them executed. Any appeal to higher authorities by the peoples of Eastern Turkestan against such punishment was strictly prohibited. Any complaint about Chinese officials brought automatic punishment for those who made the complaints.
Of those in Eastern Turkestan who opposed the rule and policies of Feudal Chinese administration, more than 1 million were executed. About five hundred thousand, fearing punishment at Chinese hands, escaped to neighboring countries like Russia, Afghanistan and India. Two hundred thousand were transported from southern parts of Eastern Turkestan to the Ili Valley as forced labor, to provide food for the Manchu-Chinese troops stationed in that area to control Chinese interests.
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Isa Yusuf Alptekin, the leader of Turkestani organizations abroad on behalf of all Eastern Turkestani organizations abroad, sent telegrams to the Presidents of Azerbaican, Uzbekistan and Kirgizstan, congratulating them on the independence declarations by each of their governments.
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Eastern Turkestan Information interviewed Isa Yusuf Alptekin last month at his home in Istanbul. Below are the highlights of that interview.
ETI: In recent weeks, months and years several disturbances have taken place in Eastern Turkestan. The latest armed uprising which took place in Eastern Turkestan was in Baren township in Aktu county on April 5, 1990. The Chinese leaders hold you responsible for all this turmoil in Eastern Turkestan. What do you have to say to these accusations?
Alptekin: These accusation are all fabrications. The Chinese have always blamed others for the disturbances in Eastern Turkestan. In the 1950's the Chinese accused "American Paper Tigers" for the disturbances in Eastern Turkestan. In the 1960's they started to blame the "Soviet Hegemonists". And now they are blaming me. It is very unfortunate that the Chinese have never thought for a minute that their unjust rule in Eastern Turkestan might have been the main cause for all these armed clashes, disputes and street demonstration. I know the Chinese mentality very well. Thus, I have never provoked my people against the Chinese. I know that any armed uprising will be used as an excuse by the Chinese to slaughter my people. I don't want my people to be slaughtered. I want my people to live, live with dignity, not like slaves.
ETI: What is the present situation in Eastern Turkestan?
Alptekin: Today, the people of Eastern Turkestan are waging a life and death struggle for survival. Since occupying Eastern Turkestan, the Chinese have pursued a policy of systematic assimilation in order to sinicize the peoples of Eastern Turkestan. To speed this assimilation the Chinese are encouraging Chinese settlement in the area. At present almost seven thousand Chinese move into Eastern Turkestan each day. The ever growing Chinese population has brought unemployment, hunger and disaster to the indigenous peoples of Eastern Turkestan. Ninety percent of the important posts in Eastern Turkestan are occupied by Chinese. The Chinese have monopolized not only official ranks of authority and influence, but positions in almost all walks of life in Eastern Turkestan.
Despite Eastern Turkestan's natural wealth many people live at a substance level. Almost 80 percent of the population of Eastern Turkestan live below the poverty level, 45-50 dollars per person per year. Fundamental human rights and freedoms of the people of Eastern Turkestan, including civil, political, social and cultural rights, continue to be violated by the Chinese rulers. People of Eastern Turkestan who seek only to live with dignity continue to be killed, tortured and imprisoned on political grounds. Today throughout China there are almost 980 hard labor camps. Nineteen of them are in Eastern Turkestan. Up to 80 thousand political prisoners are serving terms in these hard labor camps. These figures give you an idea of the present situation in Eastern Turkestan.
ETI: What can be done to prevent the eventual assimilation of the peoples of Eastern Turkestan ?
Alptekin: The motherland of the Turkic peoples is known as Turkestan. The name "Turkestan" which is Iranian in origin and means "land of the Turkic peoples", dates back to 5th century. By 1865 the western part of Turkestan had been conquered by Tsarist Russia and became known as Western Turkestan. After the formation of USSR in 1920'8, Western Turkestan was divided into five republics called Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The eastern part of Turkestan was invaded in 1876 by the Manchu rulers of China and was subsequently called by the Chinese Xinjiang or The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Thus, a Turkic people with the same history, culture, civilization, language, religion and traditions was divided by the Russians and the Chinese.
Uzbekistan and Kirghizstan have declared their independence now and I am sure the other three republics will soon follow suit. As a result, Western Turkestan will be a free, independent and democratic country in the near future. Eastern Turkestan will follow the same pattern. The final aim is independence for Eastern Turkestan. We can then be united with West Turkestan.
We would like to achieve this aim by peaceful means. We deplore any use of force, violence or terrorism. We hope that the Chinese leadership will also follow the footsteps of the Soviet leaders and allow the people of Eastern Turkestan to decide their own future. Only a independent Eastern Turkestan can save the people of this country from assimilation .
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Isa Yusuf Alptekin, the leader of Eastern Turkestanis, met Hamid Al Gabid, General Secretary of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), during the Islamic Foreign Ministers' meeting held in Istanbul, August 4-9. After presenting a report to Al Gabid, on the present situation of the people of Eastern Turkestan Alptekin said, If we survey the Nationalist Chinese, Western and Islamic sources, we will see that there were almost 40 million Muslims in China prior to the Chinese Communist takeover in 1949. But Chinese Communist sources now indicate that there are only 15 million Muslims in China. Nobody knows what happened to the rest of these Muslims. Today, more than half of China's Muslims live in Eastern Turkestan. If we don't want to be speculate about the whereabouts of these Muslims in a couple of decades, the Islamic world must take immediate steps to counter the assimilation of Muslims in Eastern Turkestan and to protect Muslims in China as a whole.
The Islamic world has badly neglected the Muslims in China and this has allowed the Chinese Communist leadership to get away with repressive policies toward Muslims in Eastern Turkestan. I think time has come for the Islamic world do something about it.
Alptekin also asked Al Gabid to support the appeal of Eastern Turkestanis to have an observer seat in the OIC.
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In a speech in Urumchi following a nine-day inspection tour of Eastern Turkestan, China's vice president Uang Zhen urged the army and people in the country to rally around the Communist Party Central Committee and closely follow the socialist road.
Wang said that China resolutely opposed capitalist liberalization, although it was pressing ahead with socialist reform and opening. Chlna was politically united and stable, and its economy was also developing, he said. Only under socialism did Eastern Turkestan have a future Wang said. Issuing a veiled warning, Wang said China had successfully quelled anti-government riots in 1989 in Eastern Turkestan.
Experts have said that the Chinese leadership fears that demands for independence by Soviet republics could ignite new resistance to Chinese rule in Eastern Turkestan.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that China has put its forces in Eastern Turkestan, which borders West Turkestan on a state of advanced readiness.
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It has been reported that thousands of Soviet Communist Party and KGB members have fled to Eastern Turkestan following the failure of the attempt to overthrow Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachov. Chinese authorities are said to have granted them asylum. Chinese authorities have reportedly sent several Russian speaking officers from Peking to Eastern Turkestan to deal with the asylum seekers.
Reports from the Narynkol district of the Alma Ata region in Kazakhstan say that two buses with Russian passengers were seen crossing the Kazakhstan-Eastern Turkestan border not far from a border checkpoint. According to the reports, two local shepherds identified one of the passengers as a ranking CPSU official who had presented them in Moscow in 1987 with the Red Banner of Honor for efficient work.
The USSR and China have both denied reports of Soviet Communist and KGB officials seeking asylum in China.
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At the invitation of Tomur Dawamet, governor of the so-called Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a 17-member delegation from Uzbekistan, headed by Uzbek Vice President Shukurullah Rakhmatovich Mirsaydov, visited Eastern Turkestan recently. Vice President Mirsaydov, after briefing his hosts on the situation in Uzbekistan, which has recently declared its independence, said, Uzbekistan and Eastern Turkestan are both sprawling places with rich resources. "We not only have outstanding cultures and traditions, but our economies, which have their respective strengths, are strongly complementary to one another."
In response Tomur Dawamet said, We are most willing to have wide-ranging consultations and talks with Uzbekistan in order to promote our trade, economic, scientific-technological, and other ties.
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At the invitation of Tomur Dawamet a 21-member government delegation from Kazakhstan, headed by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, visited Eastern Turkestan, for talks focusing on economic and trade cooperation. Nazarbayev's delegation also visited Shenzhen and Guangzhou in south China and made a stop in Peking.
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The Second General Assembly of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization was held in Soesterbeg, Holland on August 4-6. The aim of the conference was to discuss ways of preventing the use of force against members.
The UNPO, in its meeting in The Hague on August 6, 1991, decided to set up an emergency council to lobby for members and other groups suffering human rights abuses. The council will dispatch observer teams to countries where violations of human rights against peoples and ethnic groups are alleged and publish their findings in yearly reports. The UNPO which is modeled after the United Nations, was founded in The Hague last February to serve as a representative body for unrepresented nations and peoples who are excluded from the UN.
Erkin Alptekin, an Uygur living abroad was elected Vice Chairman of the UNPO for a second term.
Meanwhile, The Voice of Eastern Turkestan, a Soviet Uygur newspaper, published in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan, in an long article in its August 1991 issue, introduced the UNPO to its readers and pledged to support Erkin Alptekin as their legitimate representative to the organisation.
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It has been reported that Uygurs living in West Turkestan are preparing to set up an organization to be known as the "Uygur Liberation Organization. In May the Founding Committee drafted a covenant charter for the organization in Alma Ata. The Founding Committee applied to the Kazakhstan Ministry of Justice for registration on April 3, 1991. The application said that the main aim of the organization was to struggle for the liberation of Eastern Turkestan and that their struggle would not contradict laws of the Soviet Central Asian Republics, and would be based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Helsinki Charter and the Covenant. According to 1989 Soviet statistics there are almost 300 thousand Uygurs in the USSR of whom almost 150 thousand are in Kazakhstan.
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With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe the US Congress is looking to apply the cold-war success of international broadcasting to breeching the communist redoubt of China. A dozen lawmakers, with the support of exiled Chinese dissidents, Tibetans, and Eastern Turkestanis, are seeking to set up a radio station modeled on Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, the United States-backed stations that have broadcast into Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union since the 1950's.
Uygurs in Eastern Turkestan welcomed the plan. At present almost eight million Uygurs living in Eastern Turkestan have no access to information about what is happening in their own country and the world in general. The only source of information, Uygur broadcasts from Radio Liberty, was discontinued on the eve of Deng Xiaoping's visit to United States in February 1979.
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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