Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 2 No. 6
Published by Eastern Turkestan Union in Europe
Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 2 No. 6 (December 1992)
CHINA'S RELIGIOUS POLICY
When contrasted with the outright repression of the Cultural Revolution, the current religious policy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) looks almost liberal.
But the CCP still views religion as a negative force in China. For instance the CCP Central Committee CC) in October 1986 circulated a document to Party committees across the country with the following uncompromising opening statement:
In human history, religion will ultimately disappear, and there will come an era when the vast majority of the citizens of our country will be able consciously to adopt a scientific outlook towards the world and life, and will no longer need to look for spiritual support from the illusory world of god. This utopia, as described by Marx, Engels and Mao, is the magnificent goal which our entire Party should strive hard to achieve generation after generation."
In the eyes of the CCP, religion in China has a bad pedigree. document states:
"During the prolonged period of feudal society and the centuries-long period of semi-colonial society, all the religions in our country, generally speaking, were controlled and used by the ruling class and made to play a major negative role."
In China even today it is clear that the CCP assumes the right to control religious believers, and separation of religion and state or genuine religious autonomy are unthinkable. Officially recognized patriotic religious organizations play a crucial role in the structure of the CCP control over religious 'believers.
At present there are eightssuch the national organizations. In the document, the basic task of these organizations at all levels is defined as:
"To assist the Party and government in carrying out the policy of freedom of religious belief, to help the broad masses of religious believers, and the personalities of the religious circles continuously to raise their patriotic and social awareness, to represent the legitimate rights and interests of religious believers, to organize and lead masses of religious believers in carrying out the normal religious activities. All the patriotic religious organizations should obey the leadership of the Party and the government.
In this statement attention should be given to the phrase "normal religious activities." In the new Chinese constitution, adopted in December 1982, Article 36 on religious affairs also asserts that the state protects normal religious activities." What is normal religious activity? In principle only those activities supervised by the patriotic religious associations are regarded by the government as legitimate, and those which are carried out independently do not enjoy the State's protection and may still incur reprisals.
In this context Tomur Dawamet, Chairman of the Regional Government of Eastern Turkestan, in a speech in Urumchi on June 17 1990, said the following:
"All illegal religious activity must be stopped. Religion cannot interfere in state administration, the administration of justice, education, marriage, culture or health. No permission will be given to build new mosques. Private religious training will not be allowed. It is not allowed to restore religious privilege and exploitation which have already been wiped out.
The CCP recognizes that Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism and Islam, which are important religions in China, also have an important place internationally. The document states:
"At present along with the daily increase in our international exchanges, the external contacts of our religious circles are also increasing daily and play an important role in expanding our countries political influence. "
In conclusion it can be said that a typical Marxist view of religion remains the ideological foundation of the CCP' s religious policy . This is unlikely to change, and will ensure the party, in principle, remains hostile to religion .
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A.I. ON SECRET VIOLENCE
An increasing number of death sentences in Eastern Turkestan reflects a growing pattern of human rights violations there, a new report by Amnesty International says. According to the report, hundreds and possibly thousands of people in Eastern Turkestan have been arrested since 1989, mainly as a result of what the report calls "efforts by authorities to restrict religious activities " and to repress "peaceful expressions of political views . "
Noting that the Chinese legal system routinely denies citizens basic rights to a fair trial, Amnesty concludes that the denial of rights appears to have especially serious consequences in Eastern Turkestan. Its report says that "Amnesty International is gravely concerned at the number of death sentences imposed on prisoners in Eastern Turkestan" where the ratio of death sentences to the population appears to be several times higher than elsewhere in China."
The report, entitled "Secret Violence Human Rights Violations in Eastern
Turkestan" says more than two dozen Kazakhs and Kyrgyz as well as members of other ethnic groups have been detained under circumstances that violate fundamental human rights.
There is nor way to determine the true number and names of all those who may have been detained, sentenced or even executed in Eastern Turkestan since 1989. From both official and unofficial sources, however, the organization has determined that more than 50 people were killed by security forces and possibly thousands more were arrested after demonstrations in Baren county near Kashgar in early April 1990.
Official Chinese sources cited by AI contain accounts of dozens of people accused of various "counter-revolutionary" offenses, hundreds of religious authorities who have been investigated, and more than 130 people sentenced to death or life imprisonment since 1991. In most cases, however, official accounts provide no names or details. As a result, AI notes, the whereabouts of most detainees in Eastern Turkestan are not known, and the organization believes that few, if any, had a fair trial, or any trial at all.
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WORLD NATIONAL CONGRESS HELD
Between December 12 and 14, 1992, the Eastern Turkestan World National Congress convened in Istanbul. Eastern Turkestani delegates from five Central Asian Republics, the United States, Europe, Australia and the Middle East attended the congress. After three days of deliberations the delegates unanimously decided:
- To strengthen the struggle for the self-determination of the people of Eastern Turkestan;
- To draft a new charter;
- To set up an umbrella organization which would represent the interests of the Eastern Turkestanis living at home and abroad.
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RESETTLEMENT PLAN DROPPED
Chinese authorities, increasingly sensitive to criticism of their human rights record, have officially backed down on a plan to move more than one million residents from the banks of the Yangtze river to Eastern Turkestan, after fierce protest by the international community, the Chicago Tribune wrote on December 21, 1992.
The Chinese newspaper China Daily, on December 5, 1992 wrote that the Chinese government had decided to resettle more than one million Chinese into Eastern Turkestan.
After the announcement the Eastern Turkestan Cultural Center in Europe based in Munich, the Tibet Information Network, based in London, and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization based in The Hague, initiated a major international campaign to pressure the Chinese government to reverse the plan.
The mass migration was to have a dual effect: to shift the ever growing Chinese population into Eastern Turkestan and to use this huge Chinese population to control and gradually assimilate the Turkic peoples of this country.
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ALPTEKIN RECEIVED BY TURKISH PM
On December 22 and 23 Isa Yusuf Alptekin, Eastern Turkestani leader, met in Ankara with Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel, Turkish Parliament Spokesman Mr. Cindoruk, Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin and opposition party leaders.
During the conversation Mr. Alptekin briefed the Turkish officials on China's policy in Eastern Turkestan and requested the Turkish government to bring the plight of the Eastern Turkestani people to the attention of the United Nations.
Mr. Alptekin also met with the Turkish Parliamentary Human Rights group and requested them to send a fact finding mission to Eastern Turkestan to observe the Chinese policy of assimilation as carried out by resettling millions of Chinese into this country.
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TURKEY'S TURKIC POLICY CRITICISED
Chinese Communist Party's official organ Renmin Ribao, in a long article published November 17, 1992, criticized Turkey's Turkic policy.
According to the article, Turkish President Turgut Ozal, Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel and many Turkish government officials describe the homeland of the Turkic peoples as extending "from the Great Walls of China to the border in the Balkans . " Renmin Ribao claimed that this description had now become official Turkish policy and furthermore the Turkish government was treating Isa Yusuf Alptekin, former General Secretary of Eastern Turkestan now living in Istanbul, as president in exile. Alptekin, who was accused of heading a separatist organization trying to split the motherland, was said to be seeking to unify all separatist activities under one umbrella. China was watching his activities very closely. If Turkey insisted on continuing this policy of sheltering separatists, said Renmin Ribao, China might be forced to take steps to defend itself.
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TURKISH PARLIAMENT ASKED TO INVESTIGATE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
For the first time a resolution has been introduced to the Turkish Parliament to investigate human rights abuses in Eastern Turkestan. The resolution was proposed by Mr. Servet Turgut, a Nationalist Labor Party member from the city of Konya. Eleven Turkish parliamentarians signed the resolution. After briefing the parliament on the grave human rights abuses by Chinese authorities in Eastern Turkestan, Turgut called for the Turkish Parliamentary Commission for Human Rights to immediately send a factfinding mission to Eastern Turkestan to investigate the human rights situation on the spot. He also called on the Turkish government to bring these human rights abuses to the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
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OFFICIALS SAY SEPARATISTS QUELLED
At a press conference linked to the 14th Communist Party Congress, in Beijing on October 17, senior officials from Eastern Turkestan, Tibet and Inner Mongolia played down the effects of independent movements in their areas and expressed hopes of attracting more investment to emulate prosperous coastal cities.
Tomur Dawamet, Chairman of the Regional Government of Eastern Turkestan, played down concerns of the possibility of independence ideas from spilling over from Central Asian Republics.
"The disintegration of the former Soviet Union would affect Xinjiang, but now I can tell you in all seriousness that the situation in Xinjiang is very stable" he said.
Deputy Communist party Secretary Of Tibet acknowledged that separatists were continuing independence efforts there but said no more than five people were involved.
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ARBITRARY ARRESTS CONTlNUE
During the last six months Chinese authorities have continued their arbitrary arrests in Eastern Turkestan. According to Eastern Turkestanis hundreds of people have been detained since June 1992. Eastern Turkestan Information could not confirm these reports but reliable sources have confirmed the following names of some of those who have been detained recently:
- Abduweli, a 27 year-old university student, was arrested in Urumchi in June 1992 on "counterrevolutionary" charges. While waiting for his trial his parents died.
- Muhtar Chong Kadir, a 26 year-old university student in Kashgar, was arrested in Kashgar on 23 June 1992, on "counter-revolutionary" charges. His parents were not allowed to visit him.
- Nurmuhammed Abdurahman, a 28 year-old graduate of Eastern Turkestan Industry Institute's Architecture department, was arrested in August 1992 while working in a house planning office in Urumchi. His whereabouts are not known.
- Ahmet Jan, 26 years old and a graduate of Eastern Turkestan Industry Institute's Electrical department, was arrested in September 1992 while working at the Peoples Affairs Ministry in Urumchi. He was accused of establishing a "reactionary organization."
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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.
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