Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 4 No. 1
Published by Eastern Turkestan Union in Europe
Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 4 No. 1 (April 1994)
Dear subscribers, the Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin (ETIB) you are holding in your hands has successfully completed three years of publication. This has been possible only through your encouragement.
In a very short time the ETIB has become a main source of information for international organizations, the press and individuals seeking general information on Eastern Turkestan.
We have received letters telling of university courses that draw on ETIB's contents in teaching about Eastern Turkestan. Western press articles often cite ETIB and individuals and international organizations preparing reports and scholarly papers often apply to ETIB. We feel justified in taking this as evidence of the credibility our modest bulletin has earned.
ETIB is published under very difficult conditions, both material and spiritual Editors, compilers and distributors work on a voluntary basis. but love for the peoples of Eastern Turkestan nourishes their devotion and inspires their efforts. They are not able to remain idle while the peoples of Eastern Turkestan are made the victims of a gradual cultural genocide.
But more important than fame, name or wealth is the love and appreciation they have earned from the people of Eastern Turkestan, and their sacrifices have not been in vain. Hundreds of letters, telephone calls and personal contacts have provided ETIB the best proof of that.
Without the financial support of a handful of countrymen living in Europe the meek voice of the peoples of Eastern Turkestan would have gone unheard in the Free World ETIB would like to take this opportunity to thank those countrymen living in Europe for their staunch support.
For a long time we have wanted to improve the quality of ETIB, but financial constraints have tied our hands. As "God helps those who help themselves" a sponsor. who wishes to remain unnamed has warmly extended a hand of help to ETIB. With this help ETIB is attempting to offer its readers an improved style. ETIB would like to thank its anonymous benefactor. We are confident that the people of Eastern Turkestan will not forget the generosity of their friends.
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APPEAL TO RELIGIOUS LEADERS
In Istanbul Eastern Turkestani leader Isa Yusuf Alptekin has presented various religions leaders a petition on the plight of Muslims, Christians and Buddhists in Eastern Turkestan.
Clergymen and religious leaders, including Ecumenical Greek Orthodox Patriarch Barthollomew, Roman Catholic Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, Rabbi Arthur Schneider of the Conscience Foundation and religious figures from Romania, Albania, the United States and elsewhere, met in Istanbul on February 9 to discuss ethnic strife around the world.
In his petition Alptekin said that Muslims, Christians. Buddhists and other religious groups were being subjected to persecution by Chinese authorities throughout China and particularly in Eastern Turkestan. "Chinese authorities continue their crackdown on religion, religious leaders are jailed as 'anti communists agitators', and mosques. churches and monasteries continue to be closed by the Chinese authorities." the petition said.
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DEMONSTRATION IN MUNICH
The Eastern Turkestani Union in Europe (ETUE) together with the Tibet Initiative Group organized a demonstration in Munich to protest continued Chinese human rights abuses in Eastern Turkestan, Tibet and Inner Mongolia. The demonstration was timed to concur with the visit of Qiao Shi, President of the Chinese Parliament, to Munich on January 21.
Eastern Turkestanis wearing their national dress carried banners reading "FREEDOM FOR EASTERN TURKESTAN. TIBET AND INNER MONGOLIA" "STOP PERSECUTION OF EASTERN TURKESTANIS, TIBETANS AND INNER MONGOLS" and "RELEASE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS".
Asgar Can, Vice General Secretary of ETUE, speaking briefly in front of the Bavarian Parliament building where the demonstration took place, said that the release of some political prisoners before Qiao Shi's visit to Germany was merely a public relations exercise intended to reduce mounting international pressure. "If the Chinese authorities were genuinely concerned about improving conditions in Eastern Turkestan Tibet and Inner Mongolia" he said, "they should release all political prisoners forthwith and unconditionally and allow international human rights organizations to monitor the situation. There are thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tibetans and Inner Mongols still imprisoned merely for attempting to exercise their fundamental rights. We have received confirmed reports that in 1993 alone, over 230 Tibetans and 135 Eastern Turkestanis were sent to prison for political reasons."
Representatives of the Bavarian media including the Suddeutsche Zeitung, covered the demonstration.
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SUPPORT FROM LORD AVEBURY
Lord Avebury, chairman of the British Parliamentary Human Rights Group, sent a letter to British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurl prior to the minister's recent trip to Turkey. In the letter Avebury requested Hunt to seek common efforts between Turkey and Europe in assisting the people of Eastern Turkestan.
In his January 20 letter Lord Avebury wrote. "Our attention has been drawn to a statement made on Human Rights Day, December 10, 1993, by Mr. Isa Yusuf AIptekin, the leader of Eastern Turkestan who lives in exile in Istanbul, about the sufferings of his people under Chinese Communist despotism. He says that in Eastern Turkestan, as in Tibet and Inner Mongolia, the peoples are faced with national extinction, and he appeals to the Free World to raise the violations of human rights against the people of Eastern Turkestan... Will you raise these matters when you are in Ankara tomorrow, where I know they are of great concern, to see whether there are joint measures that could be taken by Turkey and the European Union to save the people of Eastern Turkestan, their culture, language and religion?"
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"FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF CHINA" PROPOSED
Yan Jiaqi, current leader of the Federation for a Democratic China, has recently proposed that China be organized as a federal republic. Yan Jiaqi, who before leaving China in 1989 was head of the Institute of Political Science in Beijing's Academy of Social Sciences, made the proposal in an article published in issue number 143 of China Now. The article proposed that the evolution of a flee, democratic federal system might be timed to correspond to China's move toward a non-communist state and the discussion of the 'Indication of states on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
According to Yan Jiaqi, a federal system in China would be different from those in Europe and America. It would be a federation with some characteristics of a confederation. Federal China would consist of two kinds of republics: "loose republics" such as Taiwan Hong Kong, Macao, Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Eastern Turkestan and "close republics" in the rest of China.
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ETLF CALLS FOR HELP
The Eastern Turkestan Liberation Front (ETLF) has, in a letter mailed from Kazakhstan opened correspondence with the Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin. The lengthy letter, signed by "leaders of the ETLF." requested the editor of the ETIB to publicize the cause of the ETLF in Western countries. Chinese authorities have often accused the ETLF of seeking "separation from the Great Motherland."
ETIB draws the attention of its readers to this letter in the hope that the tensions which it reflects may be given serious consideration while peaceful solutions are still possible.
The ETLF, whose letter claimed a membership of 50,000, said the aim of its struggle was democracy, respect for human rights and self-determination which they would like to achieve by peaceful means. According to the letter, however, the general situation in Eastern Turkestan has become so unbearable that it might become necessary to resort to arms to resist cultural genocide. The letter said the ETLF was aware that the consequences of any armed uprising would be a slaughter. Unless drastic measures were taken soon, however, they would have no choice. If they faced certain death either physically or spiritually they would prefer a heroic death to a cowardly one.
According to the letter, Chinese authorities were continuing to intimidate the people of Eastern Turkestan by arrests, executions and persecution The letter claimed there were hundreds of innocent Eastern Turkestanis still in prisons throughout the country who had been arrested for exercising their fundamental rights. The ETLF leaders wrote that they had received reports from various parts of the country revealing that during 1993 at least 135 Eastern Turkestanis had been imprisoned on political
The letter also claimed that, in yet another effort at intimidation, the Chinese authorities had staged military exercises in various parts of the country. Between June and September such exercises took place in six cities in southern Eastern Turkestan. Rapid deployment troops from the Lanzhou Military District had participated in some of these exercises. The letter claimed that the exercises had involved almost 5,000 troops as well as tanks and warplanes. The ETLF had learned from Tibetans living in Eastern Turkestan that similar military exercises had also been held in Tibet recently in what the letters authors said was an attempt to demonstrate the military power available to the Chinese to put down any potential uprising.
The letter further stated that aside from Chinese policies of economic exploitation, social oppression and cultural genocide, authorities in Eastern Turkestan were continuing the age-old policy of "setting one against the other." According to this interpretation, since the independence of the republics of Central Asia Uighurs had been set against Kazakhs and other peoples of Eastern Turkestan. Suni Muslims had been provoked against the handful of local Shia Muslims, and Muslims had been set against the country's Christians and Buddhists with the result that tensions and mutual hatreds among the peoples of Eastern Turkestan had been greatly increased. The letter said that such provocations had led Chinese Muslims to attack an Uighur Buddhist village in the Matisi Valley in China's Gansu Province bordering Eastern Turkestan. The aim of provoking such ethnic, religious and linguistic conflicts was said to be the distraction of all those groups thus allowing the Chinese authorities a free hand to act as they pleased.
The 36-page letter ended with an appeal to the Eastern Turkestani Union in Europe to inform world opinion about the grievances of the peoples of Eastern Turkestan, to seek their assistance in finding solutions and to request the international community to take meaningful action before peace, not only in Eastern Turkestan but throughout Central Asia, is irretrievably threatened.
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UIGHURS REJECT DUAL CITIZENSHIP
Uighurs living in the Central Asian Republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have rejected a proposal by Russian President Boris Yeltsin that ethnic Russians living in various republics of the Commonwealth of Independent States should be allowed to hold both Russian and local citizenships.
Nurmuhammed Kenjiev, president of the Uighur Union (Ittifak) in Kyrgyzstan, said in a January 21 interview with Radio Liberty that the constitutions of the Central Asian republics recognize that every individual whatever his ethnic, religions or cultural background enjoys equality before the law. Double citizenship would not only complicate the present legal situation, but would also pose questions of double loyalty. Kenjiev noted that every country is obliged to provide diplomatic protection to its citizens. "Who will be responsible for the diplomatic protection of an individual holding dual citizenship?" he asked.
Kenjiev observed that in Kyrgyzstan, for instance, there are several ethnic, religious and cultural groups in addition to the Kyrgyz. If ethnic Russians were to be given Russian citizenship what would happen to ethnic Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Germans, Uighurs. etc.? He also suggested that dual citizenship would increase the difficulty of integration of many ethnic groups into the republics where they live.
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Eastern Turkestanis living in Australia have begun publishing an information bulletin. The first issue appeared on January 1, 1994. The new publication of the Australian Turkestan Association Inc. (ATA) is called the ATA News and is expected to appear every second month. The aim of the News is to inform the world community in general and in particular the Australian people of the plight of the peoples of Eastern Turkestan.
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UNPO CELEBRATES THIRD ANNIVERSARY
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) celebrated the third anniversary of its establishment in The Hague. Holland, on February 11. For the occasion the city government of The Hague hosted a reception at the City Hall attended by the Deputy Mayor of The Hague, the chairman of the UNPO, Dutch parliamentarians, representatives of the Dutch Foreign Ministry, Ambassadors of Sweden, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India. Algeria, Mexico and Bulgaria, observers from the European Parliament and representatives of several international organizations.
Deputy Mayor Martinic, in his opening address, emphasized that The Hague was proud to host the permanent seat of so distinguished an organization as the UNPO and reassured the organization that his city would continue to do everything possible to support the UNPO in its peaceful efforts.
UNPO chairman Erkin Alptekin who serves as Eastern Turkestan's representative to the organization, reviewed the history of UNPO saying, "Our non-violent methods in pursuit of our goals have earned us credibility throughout the world. The 1991 Tolerance Award, the 1992 International Social Innovation/Body Shop Award and the nomination of UNPO in 1993 for the Nobel Peace Prize are compelling evidence of that credibility."
Mr. J. T. Hoekema, head of the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry's Political Department said that the UNPO had in a very short time, grown into an influential organization with more than 40 member groups representing almost 130 million people throughout the world. Mr. Michael Van Walt, UNPO General Secretary, also briefed the guests on the UNPO's achievements.
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ALLIED COMMITTEE MEETS
Members of the Allied Committee of the Peoples of Eastern Turkestan Tibet and Inner Mongolia (AC), organized to coordinated efforts on behalf of these peoples met in Frankfurt Germany on February 26 to discuss concrete proposals to further the cause of these peoples.
The meeting was chaired by Tashi Wangdi, Chairman of the AC's Governing Body. Wangdi is also Foreign Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. Other participants included Mrs. Choegyal, Tibetan Government-in-Exile Minister for Family Affairs, Erkin AIptekin, Executive President of the AC, Mrs. Takla, representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in London, Gyaltsen Gyaltag, representative of H.H. in Europe, Mr. Dawa Thondup, representative of H.H. in France and Dr. Nawang Rabgyal, representative of H.H. in the CIS. Among other issues discussed was the publication of a newsletter in English, Tibetan, Uighur and Mongolian to strengthen the AC's joint international activities.
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JOINT BRIEFING AT U.N. IN GENEVA
A briefing on human rights abuses in China, Eastern Turkestan and Tibet was held at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva in February. The public meeting was organized by the International Fellowship of Reconciliation the International Federation of Human Rights and the International Education Development Organization.
Speakers at the briefing were Xiao Qiang, Director of Human Rights in China, a New York based organization, Dr. Mari Holtzman, a French journalist, Gyaltsen
Gyaltag, representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Erkin AIptekin, Chairman of the Eastern Turkestan Union in Europe. The briefings updated information on recent arrests, torture and executions in China, Tibet and Eastern Turkestan.
AIptekin said that there were presently hundreds of innocent people in Eastern Turkestan's prisons including more than 135 political prisoners arrested last year. Among them he said were the two intellectuals Abdulahat Maksum and Muhammed Rozi. Maksum was arrested in the city of Hotan on December 12, 1993 and Rozi was arrested in Karakash three days later. Alptekin cited reliable information that on December 16 almost seven thousand people demonstrated in front of the Public Security Building in Karakash to protest the arrest of Rozi. Chinese authorities were compelled to dispatch additional military units from other areas in Eastern Turkestan. Alptekin added that torture had been widely used against those taken prisoner. Since the beginning of this year, he said, nine people charged with "counterrevolutionary" activities had been executed in Eastern Turkestan.
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TlBETAN NEW YEAR CELEBRATED
Eastern Turkestanis participated in ceremonies marking the Tibetan New Year in Munich on February 10. In all. almost one thousand spectators attended the celebration organized by Mrs. Inka Joachim and which included performances by the Black Hat Dance Troop and Uighur folk dancers from Eastern Turkestan.
On this occasion Enver Can, Vice Chairman of the Eastern Turkestani Union in Europe, spoke on the historical cultural and political relationship among the peoples of Eastern Turkestan, Tibet and Inner Mongolia. "Today," he said "these peoples share the same destiny and those of them living abroad are working closely together to bring their peoples' situation to the attention of the world. His Holiness the Dalai Lama symbolizes the just struggle of millions of people throughout China. By joining forces we, too, want to demonstrate to the world that when human beings are killed burned alive and tortured because of their ethnic, cultural and religious identities, people with different beliefs can establish a common front to live and work together."
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U.S. SENATE APPROVES ASIA RADIO
On January 25 the United States Senate approved a plan for Radio Free Asia contained in pending legislation before the U.S. Congress. The new radio station is envisioned as a conduit for news, information and commentary for the peoples of China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cambodia, Laos and Burma modeled on Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty which have for many years broadcast in the languages of East Europe and the Soviet Union.
China and North Korea have meanwhile protested the proposed radio station and have demanded that the US administration drop its plans for the new Asian broadcasts. China called the plan willful interference in China's internal affairs. North Korea called the idea intolerable.
Uighurs living abroad have repeated their appeal to the U.S. administration and the U.S. Congress to include Uighur language broadcasts in the proposed Radio Free Asia. A final decision on the languages of broadcast has not been announced.
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CHINA'S RIGHTS RECORD LAMBASTED
The U.S. State Department's annual human rights review released on February 1 found that China's overall human rights record in 1993 had fallen far short of internationally accepted norms as China continued to repress domestic critics and failed to control abuses by its own security forces.
The 33-page report on said that "fundamental human rights provided for in the constitution are frequently ignored in practice... Security forces are responsible for widespread and well-documented human rights abuses. including torture, forced confessions and arbitrary detentions." The report estimated that China continued to hold between three and four thousand people for "counterrevolutionary" crimes.
Testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. Secretary of State Warren Christopher said that China had not made sufficient progress in human rights to justify an extension of its preferential trading status with the United States. which expires in three months.
In another report the human rights group Asia Watch said that repression in China was worsening and cited more than 1,200 cases of religious and political persecution in the world's last major communist country.
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DALAI LAMA TO VISIT TAIWAN
Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama is reported planning his first visit to Taiwan this Taiwan to promote religious and cultural exchanges.
Gyalpo Thondup, Minister for Security and International Affairs in the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and the Dalai Lama's brother, said that his government would also set up a liaison office in Taipei later this year.
Thondup said the visit might take place as early as May but no later than October and that the Dalai Lama would call on President Lee Teng Hui, who has pledged support for the Dalai Lama's campaign to seek peace with China.
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WIFE OF E.T. LEADER DIES
Mrs. Fatime Alptekin, wife of Eastern Turkestani leader Isa Yusuf Alptekin, passed away in Istanbul on March 6. Funeral ceremonies in Istanbul were attended by Turkish political leaders, intellectuals and supporters of the Eastern Turkestani cause, as well as Eastern Turkestanis living in Turkey.
Mrs. Alptekin, who was 80 years old had been married for sixty years and had been the main support behind her husband, Isa Yusuf AIptekin, in the years of struggle for the independence of Eastern Turkestan. Together they had three sons and one daughter.
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On February 24 Reuters reported, ".. There are half a million Uighurs in the Central Asian republics some of whom fled the Maoist Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. But the great majority of the Uighers live in Xinjiang [Eastern. Turkestan]. In 1945 the Uighurs set up an independent 'Eastern Turkestan Republic'. This ended in 1949 after the Communists came to power in China. The Uighur leader Isa Yusuf AIptekin fled to Istanbul. Alptekin, who is now in his 90s has lost his eyesight and is ailing, still runs his movement from Turkey. His supporters, meanwhile, are working in Xinjiang and in Central Asian republics to revive the Eastern Turkestan state"
The Central Asian Monitor, 1993, No.6, has published a research paper by Justin Jon Rudelson, Assistant Professor at Tulane University. Prof.. Rudelson wrote "With the end of the Cold War the Great Game in Central Asia has heated up once again. Central Asia has again become a place for international rivalry. But this time the Great Game is not between Britain and Russia. In this second half of the Great Game Turkey, Russia, Iran, India, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even Israel are vying for influence. China, the key player, however, is left out of the game in most accounts and is overlooked as a Central Asian power. Moreover, it is forgotten that China won the first half of the Great Game, at least as far as Xinjiang is concerned. It is my contention that China will catch everyone by surprise once again and win the second half of the Great Game in Central Asia, the Uighur of Xinjiang will play a predominant role in the victory."
Pogrom, the official organ of the Threatened Peoples organization, has devoted its entire February/March issue to the problems or the non-Chinese peoples in China. The issue included three bong articles on the problems of the peoples of Eastern Turkestan.
According to Pogrom, Eastern Turkestan, for centuries a bridge between East and West, is the homeland of Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tartars, Mongols, Tibetans and others. These peoples, who possess rich histories, cultures and civilizations, are now threatened with the loss of their cultural identities to the Chinese policy of sinocization The Pogrom articles suggested that the greatest threats to the survival of the peoples of Eastern Turkestan were massive Chinese populations transfers, cultural repression, and continued nuclear testing in the area.
On March 22 the International Herald Tribune wrote the following: "...Beijing decided in the early 1990s that it had no choice but to open its onshore oil industry to outsiders.
"The riches targeted for the joint enterprise, the Tarim Basin, is almost as big as Texas. Situated within the Central Asian province of Xinjiang [Eastern Turkestan], the oil exploration area is bordered on the south by Tibet. To the west lie Pakistan and the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan To the east the Chinese province of Qinghai.
"Chinese geologists have estimated that the geological reserves in the Tarim Basin [in Eastern Turkestan] could be as much as 74 billion barrels of oil and 7.9 trillion cubic meters of natural gas if true, that would be three times the remaining U S proven oil reserves and nearly twice the remaining U S proven natural gas reserves."
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The aim of the Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin is to disseminate objective current information on the people, culture and civilization of Eastern Turkestan and to provide a forum for discussion on a wide range of topics and complex issues. ETIB is published bi-monthly by the Eastern Turkestani Union in Europe(ETUE), established January 11, 1991 in Munich, Germany. Neither ETIB nor ETUE claim or accept responsibility for views otherwise identified within our pages. We hope that those using information from our publication in published works will be courteous enough to cite its source. All inquiries and contributions should be addressed to Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin, Asgar Can, Editor, St. Blasien Str. 2, D-80809 Munich, Germany.
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Last updated 06/29/99