Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 2 No. 2

Published by Eastern Turkestan Union in Europe

Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 2 No. 2 (March 1992)

Several news reports of bombings in Urumchi in February in which six or more people were reported killed and 26 wounded. Nobody has claimed responsibility for these acts and they have been strongly condemned by most Eastern Turkestanis. Eastern Turkestan Information joins in this condemnation.
Uygurs have always deplored violence. They believe that they cannot achieve their goals through terrorist methods. The Uygur struggle for democracy, human rights and self-determination is based on United Nations principles.
Many Uygurs believe that the bombs were a Chinese provocation. The Chinese Communists, fearing contagion of five independent republics of Western Turkestan, are taking extraordinary measures in Eastern Turkestan. Many Uygurs believe that in order to justify their crackdown on the Eastern Turkestani's the Chinese are forcing Uygurs to choose between national extinction through gradual assimilation or a mortal struggle to defend their identity by resistance.
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Since the death of Mao Zedong, there has been a measure of liberalization affecting the Turkic Peoples of Eastern Turkestan, but it appears that they are not satisfied by liberalizing measures. Many armed clashes, disputes and street demonstrations have been reported in the cities of Eastern Turkestan in recent years, months and weeks.
Thousands of Turkic students demonstrated in Urumchi, Peking and Shanghai in December 1985 demanding self-rule, democratic elections of Turkic officials to replace Chinese assigned by Peking, economic self-determination, increased opportunities for Turkic peoples' education at home and abroad, an end to the practice of sending Chinese convicts to Eastern Turkestan, an end to coercive birth control and an end to nuclear testing in this Turkic country.
After a week of deliberation the Chinese leaders decided to reject theTurkic students' demands. Turkic students who led the demonstrations were later arrested, and sixty Turkic students, accused of being the "ring-leaders" were taken away from the Urumchi University campus in May 1986. Their whereabouts are still not known.
On June 15, 16 and 17, 1988 hundreds of Turkic students demonstrated in Urumchi protesting plans to make them share dormitories with Chinese students. They also protested coercive birth control rules imposed on the Turkic peoples.
To stamp out anti-Chinese and anti-communist agitation in Eastern Turkestan the Chinese authorities have issued rules restricting demonstrations.
Eastern Turkestan Advisory Commission Chairman Wang Enmao, Chairman of the Regional People's Congress Standing Committee Hamidin Niyaz, and regional Party Committee Deputy Secretary Janabil, denounced demonstrators calling them conspirators, traitors and separatists.
Up to mid-September 1988 in Urumchi, Artush, Kashgar, Aksu, Hotien, Tekes, Ili, and other cities. Slogans, pamphlets, and big & small character posters, urging Chinese to leave Eastern Turkestan were repeatedly discovered.
Chinese authorities have complained that at local party and government meetings, some Turkic cadres went so far as to openly state: "The formulation that 'Xinjiang has been a part of China since the ancient past' lacks historical basis. The idea that the Chinese nationality is inseparable from minority nationalities, and that minority nationalities are inseparable from the Chinese nationality lacks theoretical basis. The cadres were also accused of views which expressed discontent with the present state of affairs and advocated "ethnic self-determination" The Chinese have also claimed that an "Eastern Turkestan Party" had been set-up in Eastern Turkestan.
On April 5, 1990 an armed uprising broke out in the Baren township in Aksu county near Kashgar. After disarming the security forces, almost 3,000 Turkic people occupied the Baren township government building and declared war against Chinese in order to establish an independent "Eastern Turkestan Republica". The Chinese authorities dispatched armed police forces, militiamen and Peoples Liberation army units to Baren early on the morning of April 6, 1990. At the same time almost 200,000 "Anti-Squad" special forces from Lanzhou Military District were dispatched to the area. Troops were transferred day and night by military transport planes and helicopters. The airports in Urumchi, Aksu, Kashgar were closed.
Witnesses said casualties among the military and armed police and the Turkic protesters numbered in the hundreds. According to the witnesses almost 1,000 Turkic and 600 Chinese have died during the clashes. Nine townships were totally destroyed and ten thousand Turkic people were arrested.
On February 5, 1992 three bombs exploded in 17th, 30th and 52nd streets in Urumchi, killing 6 and wounding 26. Although nobody has claimed responsibility for the bombings, in such cases the Chinese always accuse splittists."
In a televised speech in Urumchi, on March 6, 1992, Tomur Dawamet said: the changeable international situation has affected and is still affecting Xinjiang's social stability. Hostile forces both at home and abroad have stepped up their infiltration, subversion and sabotage. A handful of national splittists in Xinjiang, colluding with national splittists outside Xinjiang, have also stepped up their splitting activities and sabotage. In order to ensure stability this year given such a serious situation, we should take the party's basic line as guidance and place the emphasis of our work on frustrating national splittists' sabotage. We should further improve the joint defense system of army, police, militia and people, resolutely resist and strive against the sabotage by hostile forces at home and abroad.
Chinese officials have always claimed that elements abroad are inciting "separatist sentiments," and they have blamed others for the disturbances in Eastern Turkestan. In the 1950s China accused "American paper tigers" for Eastern Turkestan's resistance to the Chinese Communists. In the 1960s they started to blame soviet Hegemonists and now they are blaming Isa Yusuf Alptekin, a 90 year old Eastern Turkestani leader living in Turkey. It is unfortunate that it never occurred to the Chinese that their own unjust rule in Eastern Turkestan might have been the main cause for all these armed clashes, disputes and street demonstrations.
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Two recent events have served to focus Western press attention on Eastern Turkestan. Reports from Urumchi spoke of several bombs planted in public places on February 5 coinciding with the Chinese New Year. One of them exploded in a bus resulting in several fatalities. In late February the prime minister of Kazakhstan, which shares a long border with Eastern Turkestan, began a visit to China.
The London Times on March 3 reported the Urumchi bombs together with a statement by an unnamed spokesman for what it called the Front for the Liberation of Uygurstan: "We will start a guerrilla war and seek international recognition for our cause." The paper added that Uygurs in Kazakhstan had denied any involvement in the bombings and further quoted the spokesman, the bombs are a Chinese provocation.
The Times also quoted Turgan Kazimovitch, editor of an Uygur newspaper:
"We estimate there are one million Uygurs in the former Soviet Union. We now hope we can have our own state and join our relatives in our motherland.

The British Financial Times discussed the visit by Kazakhstan's prime minister to Peking in the context of China's fear of "the spectre of Islamic revivalism spreading from Kazakhstan, Kirgizia and Tajikistan, and the history of these problems: "Tensions in the region stem from 1881, when China and the Russian Empire split what was once East Turkestan between them. China took Xinjiang, while the bordering areas of Kazakhstan, Kirgizia and Tajikistan were taken over by Russia."
Making many of the same points in connection with the Kazakh prime minister's China visit, the Austrian Die Presse concluded: Kazakhstan is an ethnic powder keg the explosion of which could have direct consequences for China, and Xinjiang is bordered not only by that republic, but also those of Kirgizstan and Tajikistan."
The London daily "The Guardian" on March 9 reported the television speech on Eastern Turkestan's government chairman Tomur Dawamat in which he warned that "hostile forces both at home and abroad have stepped up their infiltration, subversion and sabotage.
The newspaper speculated that if last month's bomb attack in Urumchi was the work of Muslim separatists "it may mark an escalation of the sporadic resistance campaign they have waged since China removed the government of the so-called East Turkestan Republic in 1949.
The threat of cross-border campaigns by Uygurs, Kazakhs, Tajiks and Uzbeks resulting from the disintegration of the Soviet Union has, according to The Guardian, moved Peking "quickly to establish diplomatic relations and economic cooperation with the new Central Asian states in a effort to deny separatists just such neighborly assistance.
An analysis of the recent tensions in Eastern Turkestan published in the German Frankfurter Rundschau noted a strengthening of China's massive military presence in the region and remarked that "the nervousness of the (Chinese) state and Party leadership seems to have been more focused internal security than on any possible attack from the west." It concluded, "as yet Peking seems to have the situation under control. But that may be because Xinjiang's terrorists are still a long way from the professional level of their foreign colleagues
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A report in the March 16th Xinjiang Daily said that 182 people in Eastern Turkestan had been accused of "counterrevolution" last year. Counterrevolution is the name used for opposing the ruling Communist Party or the socialist system, including private comments or peaceful demonstrations.
The report gave no details of the alleged acts, but said that 113 people had been convicted, with the other cases presumably pending. The cases were dealt with severely in order to uphold the socialist system of democratic dictatorship of the people, guarantee our region's political stability and protect the unity of the motherland," it said.
The report suggests that unrest in Eastern Turkestan is greater than previously disclosed. While Uygurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minorities in the area are known to oppose Chinese Communist rule protest activities are rarely reported in the official media.
The only case specifically mentioned was the 1990 uprising in Baren which caused at least 22 deaths. The report said only that the convictions of participants were being reviewed by the region's high court.
According to other reports fifteen people were executed after a public trial in Urumchi, most of accused of "counterrevolutionary activities." It was the largest number of death sentences passed in one day by the Eastern Turkestani capital's intermediate court since 1983. The report also referred to 29 other people being tried in connection with the same offense but did not specify their sentences.
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The International Uygur Union was brought into existence at an organizational meeting on January 16 in the Kazakh capital, Alma Ata. The organization set as its aim the struggle for democracy, human rights and self-determination of the Uygurs in Eastern Turkestan. Three hundred and fifty Uygur delegates from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan participated the meeting which lasted two days.
Retired Lieutenant-colonel Kehriman Khojamberdiev was elected president of the organization, and Elem Roziev, representing Uygurs in Kazakhstan, Abduljan Baraev, delegate from Uzbekistan and Nurmuhammed Kenichiev, from Kyrgyzstan, were elected as vice presidents. Twenty Uygur intellectuals, writers and scholars, were elected the supervisory board.
Following the organizational meeting President Khojamberdiev sent a message to the Presidents and parliaments of the Central Asian Republics outlining the aims and objectives of the newly established organization. In his letter, Khojamberdiev said that after the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States, it became necessary to set up the International Uygur Union within the borders of the CIS to represent Uygur interests living within the borders of the CIS. Its aims are democracy, human rights and self-determination for Uygurs living in Eastern Turkestan. They do not contradict interests of the five independent republics of Western Turkestan.
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Isa Yusuf Alptekin, Eastern Turkestani leader living in Istanbul, was received by Turkish President Turgut Ozal, in Istanbul. After briefing Ozal on the the plight of the Eastern Turkestanis under Chinese rule, Isa Yusuf Alptekin, presented Turkish President an Uygur traditional "chapan" (coat), a doppa" (cap) and an Eastern Turkestani flag. While presenting the flag Isa Yusuf Alptekin said: I am 91 years old. For more than 60 years I have been carrying this national flag of ours in my heart. Now I am tearing this flag out of my heart to present it to you. Now it is your turn to carry this flag in your heart. With this flag I am also entrusting the cause of Eastern Turkestan to you In return President Ozal said: "I declare that I have taken delivery of the Eastern Turkestani cause. The Turkic republics under former Soviet rule have all declared their independence. Now it is Eastern Turkestan's turn. It is our desire to see the ancient homeland of the Turkic peoples a free country."
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On March 3 Chairman of the East Turkestani Cultural Center in Europe, Erkin Alptekin, presented a report to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, on the plight of the Eastern Turkestanis. In his report Alptekin, an Uygur from Eastern Turkestan, said that in his country Uygurs were faced with the danger of total assimilation. China's population transfer policy has become a major threat to the survival of the Turkic peoples. The Chinese settlers who come to Eastern Turkestan treat the Turkic peoples as an inferior race. The peoples in Tibet and Inner Mongolia suffered the same fate. Fundamental human rights and freedoms of these peoples continue to be violated. Alptekin asked the Commission to look into human rights violations in Eastern Turkestan.
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Eastern Turkestanis, Inner Mongols and Tibetans staged demonstrations in Davos, Switzerland and New York to protest Li Peng's participation to the World Economic Forum and United Nations Security Council sessions Representing the Eastern Turkestan Cultural center in Europe, Erkin Alptekin addressed the gathering in Davos. Throughout history, he said, the peoples of Eastern Turkestan and Tibet have had a close relationship. Today they share the same fate under Chinese Communist rule. Our final aim is to achieve self-determination. To pursue that aim we will continue our non-violent struggle until the end. Alptekin also took part in a press conference and a seminar organized by theTibet-Swiss Friendship Association.
One of the organizers of the New York demonstration, Gulameddin Pahta, said that the aim of the demonstration was to show that the peoples of Eastern Turkestan including Uygurs, Kazakhs, Kirghiz, Uzbeks and Tajiks wanted to be independent like the five republics of Western Turkestan. Pahta said that they wanted the Free World to support the desires of Eastern Turkestanis to unite with their ethnic brothers on the other side of the border.
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Kazakh Prime Minister Sergei Tereschenko, during a visit to China in February, called on ethnic Kazakhs to return home. Tereschenko confirmed that the government of Kazakhstan was encouraging ethnic Kazakhs from around the world to return home. About five thousand have done so, he said. He mentioned Eastern Turkestan, Mongolia, Turkey, Germany and the United States as places from which Kazakhs have returned. There are more than one million Kazakhs in Eastern Turkestan. Tereschenko, who visited Eastern Turkestan before returning to Kazakhstan, said Chinese officials had not asked for assurances that the Kazakh government will not encourage separatist sentiment among ethnic Kazakhs in Eastern Turkestan.
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Eastern Turkestanis living at home, in the Commonwealth of Independent States and in Europe have applied to the United States Congress, asking for the establishment of Uygur language broadcasts. In their petitions the Eastern Turkestanis said, "like the Tibetans and the Inner Mongols, the Uygurs are waging a life and death struggle for survival. Since occupying Eastern Turkestan, the Chinese Communists are pursuing a policy of systematic assimilation of Uygurs in order to eliminate their culture and exterme in their beliefs. To speed up the assimilation the Chinese Communists have encouraged Chinese settlement in the area. The ever growing Chinese population has brought, unemployment, hunger and disaster to the Uygurs. Fundamental human rights and freedoms of the Uygurs continue to be violated by the Chinese Communists. Uygurs seeking only to live with dignity continue to be killed, tortured and imprisoned on political grounds."
The petition went on, "At present, the Uygurs have no access to any kind of information about what is happening in their own country and in the world in general. It said: there is a widely held belief that well informed societies can make more responsible judgements about their own and world affairs, while misinformed societies may be more easily manipulated in directions threatening peace. The only source of information, Uygur broadcasts from Radio Liberty was discontinued on February 15, 1979, on the grounds that 'Uygurs constituted a minor audience in the USSR and Radio Liberty does not broadcast to China.
The petition concluded, "With firm belief in democracy, human rights and America's commitment to the free flow of information, we, the Uygurs, have prepared this petition in our sincere hope that Uygur language broadcasts will be included in the Radio Free China."
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At a conference opened in Urumchi on propagating the People's Congress system, Hamidin Niyaz, chairman of the standing committee of the autonomous regional people's congress, pointed out the need to publicize the system in a bid to enable young people to realize the system's supremacy and the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie's democratic freedom, thereby ensuring that socialist China will never change political orientation.
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Non-Chinese women now have fewer children because of family planning work over the past decade, the Peking-based China Daily reported on February 1. A survey in five autonomous regions, including Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Guangxi, Eastern Turkestan and Tibet, showed that average number of children a non-Chinese women has in her lifetime dropped between 1981 and 1990. In 1981, women in Guangxi and Eastern Turkestan had on average more than four children; in 1990, these numbers had fallen to 2.71 and 3.13 respectively. Figures for Ningxia and Tibet also decreased from 3.95 and 5.23 in 1981 to 2.6 and 3.81. Figures for Inner Mongolia dropped from 2.72 in 1981 to 2.13 in 1990. Chinese introduced coercive birth control among the non-Chinese peoples under the pretext of ensuring a steady growth in the minority population", "improving the quality of the population", and "eliminating economic inequalities."
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After a brief inspection of Eastern Turkestan Chinese President Yang Shankung, gave the following instructions to the Eastern Turkestan Regional Party Committee, government and military leaders:
  1. Examine the implementation of various nationality policies and do a good job of promoting national unity and stability. This is the most important task for Xinjiang.
  2. Do a good job in helping Soviet refugees [most of them ex-KGB officers and their families] settle down in Xinjiang.
  3. Do not get involved in the political and religious beliefs of the Soviet refugees and do not allow them to carry out political activities, bring weapons with them, or go beyond the settlement area.
  4. Strengthen war preparedness and prevent bad elements from taking advantage of the opportunity to create disputes or political disturbances among nationalities. If there are disturbances, the party, government and military must adopt measures to stop them.
Yang Shankung was accompanied by Liu Huaqing, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Qin Jiwei, defense minister, Xu Xin, deputy Chief of General Staff, and Wang Chengbin commander of the Peking Military Region.
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Eastern Turkestan Information is published by The Eastern Turkestan Cultural and Social Association (ETCSA), established January 11, 1991 in Munich, Germany. It is intended to offer information on the current situation in Eastern Turkestan, its people, culture and civilization, as well as provide 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. Full acknowledgment should be given to all material quoted from or based on this publication. All inquiries and contributions should be addressed to Eastern Turkestan Information, Asgar Can, Editor, Nanga-Parbat Str. 17A, 8000 Munich, Germany.

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Last updated 06/29/99