Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 5 No. 2
Published by Eastern Turkestan Union in Europe
Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 5 No. 2 (April 1995)
ALARMING NEWS FROM EASTERN TURKESTAN
Reports reaching the West from Eastern Turkestan during recent weeks have spoken of large numbers of Chinese settlers pouring Into Eastern Turkestan. The rate of this in-migration has doubled since January of this year. Some of the reports, including letters received very recently, emphasize that the lack of any control over this Chinese migration makes it impossible to determine exactly how many Chinese settlers have entered Eastern Turkestan in recent months.
Before 1949 there were only three hundred thousand Chinese settlers in Eastern Turkestan. According to statistics available from 1990 the number had risen to more than six million. It was estimated that until recently 250 to 300 thousand Chinese were settling in Eastern Turkestan each year, but the latest reports claim that this figure has doubled.
These figures do not include Chinese Liberation Army (PLA) units, "qualified" Chinese personnel, or Chinese criminals who have been sentenced to hard-labor camps in Eastern Turkestan.
It is estimated that there are presently more than five hundred thousand Chinese soldiers in Eastern Turkestan. The number of "qualified" Chinese personnel sent to Eastern Turkestan is not known. The German weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel, reported on August 16, 1993 that since 1989, Chinese oil companies have flocked to Eastern Turkestan in search of oil. They are said to employ some 20 thousand Chinese workers in the Tarim Basin alone, and more were on their way. On October 21,1994 The Wall Street Journal wrote that during the last three years 40 thousand Chinese convicts had been sent to labor camps in Eastern Turkestan.
It appears that Chinese authorities have begun implementing a plan adopted in 1992. The Hong Kong based Trend magazine disclosed in October 1992 a secret program approved by the Chinese State Council which envisaged the planned settlement of five million Chinese in Eastern Turkestan during the years between 1993 and 2000. In Der Spiegel of November 7,1985, the late Chinese Communist Party General Secretary, Hu Yaobang, was quoted saying that Xinjiang could easily absorb 200 million Chinese settlers.
This policy is aimed at transforming Eastern Turkestan into a Chinese province with Uighurs reduced to a small minority who would then be gradually assimilated.
Uighurs living at home and abroad urgently appeal to the international community to take immediate steps to stop the Chinese migration into Eastern Turkestan, protect the Uighur cultural identity and support Uighurs in their struggle for self-determination before a major conflict in that part of the world becomes inevitable.
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50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE NATlONAL ARMY
Eastern Turkestan living abroad have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Eastern Turkestan National Army (ETNA).
Marking this anniversary a conference was organized by the Inter-Republic Uighur Union, in Almaty, Kazakhstan on April 8. More than 200 guests participated in the conference. Some of ETNA's former leaders, officers and soldiers took part in the celebrations. Eleven papers were presented on the reasons of establishing the ETNA, its role and some of the armaments it used. During the conference special ceremonies were held to honor Eastern Turkestani soldiers who had lost their lives.
The ETNA was set up after the Eastern Turkestan Republic was established in Ili on November 11, 1944. The National Army was dissolved by the Chinese Communists after their own troops occupied Eastern Turkestan in 1949.
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CHINESE FALSIFICATION AND UIGHUR HISTORY
Uighur studies in Japan date from the 19th century when the first scientific research on the Uighurs was published by Prof. Sharatori in 1889. By 1942 Prof. Sharatori had written several valuable works on the Uighurs, including the important two-volume History of the Tarim Basin. In this book Prof. Sharatori offered scientific evidence that Eastern Turkestan was the original homeland of the Uighurs.
In 1963 another Japanese scholar, Sagochi Toro, published Social Life in Eastern Turkestan in 18th and 19th Centuries. This book was an important contribution not only to Japanese scholarship, but to the worldwide body of knowledge on the subject. It also demonstrated that Uighurs were the ancient inhabitants of Eastern Turkestan.
In 1970 the established Japanese scholar Masado Hasau published a book entitled The History and the Geography of the Celestial Mountains based on many years' research. This hook explained that Eastern Turkestan had been the cradle of Turkic history, culture and civilization from very ancient times and documented how Uighurs had lived on both sides of the Celestial Mountains(known to the Uighurs as Tengri Tagh). It also pointed out that Uighurs were now being faced with cultural genocide under the Chinese Communist rule.
Despite the scientific nature of these works Chinese scholars have attempted to rewrite the facts in order to prove that "Eastern Turkestan belonged to the Chinese from the times of stone ages', Without obtaining the permission of Prof. Sagochi, a Chinese translation of his book was published changing even the name "Eastern Turkestan" to "'Xinjiang". Faced with the falsification of his work Prof. Sagochi was forced to protest.
Subsequently Chinese scholar Chin Chun Mo, translated Prof. Maslo Hasmi's book openly falsifying its contents. In the Introduction to his version the Chinese translator wrote:
"This book is a valuable research of the area Tengri Tagh, but the author of the book, because of his ignorance, made many mistakes in compiling his work. I have thus tried to correct his mistakes as far as l could. I hope the reader will forgive me if l have missed some mistakes".
Reading these words one might think that Chinese scholars often spend more time "correcting" works that do not serve the interest of current Chinese policy than troubling themselves to do research which would add to scientific knowledge.
Despite such falsification of their work Japanese scholars continue pursuing Uighur studies with growing interest. Many young Japanese scholars have
displayed a special enthusiasm for Uighur history, culture, and civilization, while interest in the present situation of the Uighurs is also expanding. Young Japanese scholars have helped many talented Uighur youth come to Japan for advanced study. Young Uighur scholar Must Ogles name may be mentioned as one example.
For such opportunities Uighurs living at home and abroad are thankful to Japanese scholarship for the tireless efforts it has shown in increasing awareness of Uighur history and culture, as well as their present situation.
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HUNGARIAN FOLK SONGS TRACED TO UIGHURS
After years of research, Hungarian scholars have discovered a relationship between Hungarian folk music and the music the of Yellow Uighurs or Yugurs.
A Buddhist Turkic people, the Yugurs are closely related to the Uighurs of Eastern Turkestan. According to the Chinese historical chronicles the Uighurs are the direct descendants of the Huns or the Xingno. By the 10th century most of the Uighurs in Eastern Turkestan had embraced Islam, but those living along the border areas between Eastern Turkestan and the Gansu province of China, preserved their ancient Yellow Sect of Lamaist Buddhism and became known as Yugurs. Their language is closely related to that of the Huns. Around 350 A.D. the Huns conquered the Alans on the steppe north of the Black Sea and subsequently moved to the Hungarian plain. The Huns made the Hungarian plain the center of an empire that stretched from the Caspian Sea to the Rhine. Though it disintegrated quickly after their leader Attila's sudden death in 453, the Huns may have left in Europe more of their culture than originally believed. It mixed with that of other peoples, principally the Magyars of the Finno-Ugric language group originally beyond the Urals and later in south Russia. The Huns are considered the forefathers of the present Hungarian state, their culture and speak an older version of the Uighur language.
Thus, the music which the Hum carried with them to Hungary and that which the Yugurs preserved in Gansu stand at either end of what scholars like Bartok and Kodally termed the "pentatonic scale belt." Created by the westward migrations, it stretches from Gansu, Eastern and Western Turkestan past the Caspian and Black Seas into Hungary.
According to the Hungarian scholars the folk songs of the western part of the Yugur Autonomous county and those of Hungary are similar in three respects:
melodies; musical characteristics (both with a pentatonic scale); and rule and form in phrasing. For instance, the Yugur song The Girl Adang and a Hungarian one about gypsies eating cheese are so alike in all three respects that they seem to be only variations of the same song.
Moreover, according to the scholars, a number of words appearing in the songs of both nationalities are pronounced nearly the same way. They include words for mother, grand mother, apple, yellow, dark clouds and courage. The word "belly", a soothing refrain in the Cradle Song of the Yugurs is quite similar to a song of the Hungarians.
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ERKIN ALPTEKIN ATTENDS SOUTH MOLUCCAN CELEBRATIONS
Erkin AIptekin, Chairman of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) was invited to participate in ceremonies marking the 45th South Moluccan National Day in The Hague on April 25.
The South Moluccan Republic was established on April 25, 1950. Although the independent republic was later overrun by Indonesian forces, South Moluccans have struggled to regain. their independence under the leadership of the Holland-based South Moluccan Government-in-exile. Some of the 50,000 South Moluccan people living in Holland organize the annual celebration to commemorate their national day.
In addition to five thousand South Moluccan delegates from around the world the ceremonies were attended by representatives from Acheh, East Timur and West Papua, all areas that share a common fate with South Molucca.
In a speech on the occasion Alptekin noted that despite oppression South Moluccan people both at home and abroad were determined to continue their struggle for self-determination through non-violent means. It was in this spirit, he said, that the South Moluccan people had been among the founding members of the UNPO which seeks to provide a voice for all such peoples and nations who deplore violence and terrorism.
Alptekin said the South Moluccan people's non-violent pursuit of their goals ought to be appreciated by the international community at a time when the world was gradually turning into a time bomb.
He appealed to world opinion seriously to consider the grievances, desires and demands of the South Moluccan people before violence erupts in that part of the world.
Alptekin called on the Indonesian government to sit down with representatives of the South Moluccan government-in-exile to seek peaceful solutions to the problems facing the South Moluccan people. It was only in this way, he said, that the Indonesian government would be able to bring stability, prosperity and freedom to South Molucca.
In conclusion AIptekin said that eventually independence would come to the people of South Molucca one way or another. Why not lay the foundation for brotherly and sisterly relations now? Is it better, he asked, for the Indonesian government to try to keep its hold on the South Moluccans by continuing persecution of the people of that country? History ought to provide the best proof that such oppressive systems would not last.
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FIRE CLAIMS UIGHUR VICTIMS
It has been reported that more than 50 people, most of them Uighurs, have died when fire engulfed a theater budding in Urumchi, the capital of Eastern Turkestan.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Uighurs claim that the main cause is to be found in safety violations by Chinese theater operators. According to the claims, the Chinese authorities spend considerable sums On new movie houses, theaters and entertainment centers for Chinese settlers in Eastern Turkestan, but they do not appropriate money to renovate older entertainment centers used by Uighurs. These often have blocked exits, narrow passages and dangerously cluttered stairways.
Eastern Turkestan's worst reported fire in recent times destroyed a movie theater in December 1994 killing about 800 people, among then 500 school children.
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ATTACKS ON TIBETANS CONDEMNED
Eastern Turkestanis living at home and abroad have strongly condemned an attack by members of the Hui community on Tibetans in Tibet.
Tibet Press Watch has reported that dozens of people may have been arrested in Lhasa on February 3 after Huis assaulted Tibetans.
Tibet Press Watch also said that the Lhasa violence was preceded by a more serious incident in Shigatse, Tibet's second-largest city, in mid-January. A Tibetan monk was killed during that episode.
The monk, from the nearby Tashilhumpo monastery, was hacked to death by a Hui shopkeeper. The quarrel was said to have begun when the monk complained that Tibetans from the countryside were being overcharged by the shopkeeper. After the murder Tibetans ransacked the shop, and a number of Tashilhumpo monks were said to have forced several Hui shops to close down.
Three days later the evening television news described these events but reported them as if it were the Hui shopkeepers had no responsibility and were merely innocent victims. The news report also echoed the Chinese Communist line describing such behavior by the Tibetans as "separatist activity."
This may be taken as an example of the Chinese way of "seeking the truth from the facts."
The Eastern Turkestan Liberation Front (ETLF)in a long letter to this Bulletin last year (see ETIB April 1994), had claimed that the Chinese Communist authorities in Eastern Turkestan were continuing their age-old policy of "setting one against the other." Since the independence of the Central Asian republics, the letter pointed out, Uighurs had been set against Kazakhs and other peoples of Eastern Turkestan. Sunni Muslims had been provoked against the handful 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 such provocation had led the Huis to attack an Uighur Buddhist village in the Matisi valley in Chinese 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 in order to allow Chinese authorities a free hand to act as they pleased.
At present there are more than 600,000 Huis, Chinese speaking Muslims, living in Eastern Turkestan. While Muslims throughout the world are free to pray in any mosque, the Huis in Eastern Turkestan refuse to allow other Muslims to pray in their Mosques.
In recent years Chinese authorities have started allowing hundreds of Huis to settle in Tibet, a country where most of the population is Buddhist. It is believed that the Chinese aim at provoking ethnic, religious and linguistic conflict in that country.
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In a display of solidarity between Tibetans and Eastern Turkestanis throughout the world the Tibetan Youth Congress presented a letter of support to Turkey's President Suleyman Demirel during an official visa to India in February. The letter thanked the Turkish government for the generosity and kindness it had shown to Eastern Turkestanis living in Turkey.
It is estimated that there are almost 25,000 Eastern Turkestanis (Uighurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz) living in Turkey. After the Chinese Communist occupation of Eastern Turkestan in 1949 almost two thousand Eastern Turkestanis fled to neighboring India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Turkey was the only country to grant these Eastern Turkestanis permanent refuge. In the l960s, 70s and 80s Turkey gave asylum to many more Eastern Turkestanis who were obliged to leave their country.
The February letter from the Tibetan Youth Congress read in part :
"We, the Tibetan Youth Congress, welcome Your Excellency to Delhi", the capital of India, on behalf of all the Tibetans in exile and those who remain under the tyranny of the Chinese in subjugated Tibet. We applaud and appreciate your statesmanship in supporting the Uighurs in Eastern Turkestan. We support their rightful demands and their struggle for self-determination. You represent hope for peaceful and freedom-loving people. Tibet is one of the countries subjugated by the Chinese and we have experienced the same hardship, fear and tyranny as the Uighur people of Eastern Turkestan. We request Your Excellency to support our rightful cause under the leadership of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama".
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CHINA'S HARD-LINER CHEN YUN DIES
Chen Yun, one of China's veteran hard-liners, has died in Beijing at the age of 90. He had been an important supporter of the military suppression that ended the 1989 democracy movement.
With the death of the ultra-conservative Chen Yun the number of China's so-called "immortals" has been reduced to four, including Deng Xiaoping.
In addition to Deng Xiaoping, who will be 91 in August and who has not been seen in public for more than a year, the other "immortals" are Bo Yi Bo , 87;
Pen Zhen, 93; and Yang Shan Kun, 88.
Originally there were eight "immortals". The others were Li Xinnian, a former head of state who died in 1992, Deng Yingchao, widow of former premiere Zhou Enlai, who died in 1992, and Wang Zhen, a one time vice-president, who died in 1993.
Among the peoples of Eastern Turkestan Wang Zhen was known as "the butcher".
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UIGHURS SUPPORT THE CHECHENS
Internet has distributed some interesting observations of Stevan Sabol, who visited Kazakhstan and Eastern Turkestan recently. Sabol briefly writes the following:
I have noticed that Almaty is somewhat divided over the Chechnya issue... In contrast, almost everybody I spoke with in Xinjiang (Eastern Turkestan) when I was there last month was behind the Chechens. They saw in the Chechen situation both another Islamic people being persecuted by a non-Muslim people and another people seeking independence. I am curious to see what people think of the situation in Xinjiang in the context of the Chechen conflict . Among Uighurs both in Kazakhstan and Xinjiang, they see a lot of parallels. They seem to be watching the situation closely with an understanding that the international response to Chechnya might reflect the type of response an Eastern Turkestan movement might receive if it came into direct conflict with the Chinese.."
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CHINA'S ETHNIC DIVISIONS COULD CAUSE TROUBLE
Dru Gladney, Associate Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii, published an article in the International Herald Tribune, of February 22 entitled China's Ethnic Divisions are Showing Up and Could Cause Trouble. The following are excerpts from that article:
The 55 official 'minority' nationalities are mostly concentrated along China's borders, like the Mongolians and Uighur in the north and the Zhuang, Yi, Bai in southern China near Southeast Asia. Other groups, such as the Hui and Manchu, are scattered throughout the country...
"China's policy toward minorities involves official migration, limited autonomy and effort at control...
"While autonomy seems not to be all that the word might apply, it is still apparently a desirable attainment for minorities. Between 1982 and 1990 censuses, 18 new autonomous counties were established, three of them in Liaoinng Province for the Manchu, who previously had no autonomous
administrative districts and were long thought to have been assimilated into the Han majority.
"Besides the 18 new counties and many autonomous villages whose total number have never been published, at least eight more autonomous counties are due to be established.
"The increase in the number of groups seeking minority status reflects what may be described as an explosion of ethnicity. It has become popular in Beijing for people to 'come out' as Manchu or other ethnic groups acknowledging that they are not Han. While the Han Population grew by 10 percent in the eight years to 1990, the minority population grew by 35 percent overall in the same period, to 91 million from 67 million.
"With the economic rise of South China, southerners have begun to assert cultural and political differences... Rising self-awareness among the Cantonese is parallel by the reassertion of identity among the Hakka, the southern Fujianese Min, the Swato and a host of other peoples now empowered by economic success and embittered by age-old restraint imposed in the north. Most of these southern groups traditionally regarded themselves not as Han but as Tang people, descendants of the great Tang dynasty (613-907)...
'"Huge migrations of people estimated to total more than 100 million now move across China seeking employment in wealthier areas. Crime, housing shortages and lowered wages are frequently attributed to such people.
"The result of all these changes is that China becoming increasingly decentralized. This is fearsome trend for those holding the reins Beijing...
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CHINA'S MINORITIES ON THE RISE
Two related articles, one about the fate of non-Chinese peoples in China and another on continued human rights abuse in Eastern Turkestan, have appeared in the April issue of the Dutch magazine Onze Wereld. The magazine's cover pictured an Uighur girl in traditional costume.
A few excerpts from the two articles:
Today there are almost 100 hundred million non-Chinese peoples in China. Although the total number of the of the non-Chinese people is small, they occupy 60 per cent of China's land area. Most of the non-Chinese people inhabit border regions.
"Because of their historical background, cultural and strategic position the Tibetans, the Inner Mongols and the Uighurs of Eastern Turkestan are very important. These peoples, who played an important role in the history of Central Asia throughout the centuries, are today faced with the danger of assimilation.
"Like Tibet and Inner Mongolia, Eastern Turkestan, has become the venue of systematic human rights violations by the Chinese authorities.
"Fundamental individual human rights and freedoms of the Uighurs including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights continue to be violated. Uighurs seeking only to live with dignity continue to be killed, imprisoned and tortured on political grounds. At present however, the steady flow of Chinese settlers, coercive birth control and cultural sinocization pose the bigger threat to the survival of the Uighurs.
"Erkin Alptekin, the chairman of the Eastern Turkestani Union in Europe, says that the assimilation policies of the Chinese authorities, political oppression and economic exploitation have gradually increased the number of discontent peoples throughout Eastern Turkestan. He says that as a result, anti-Chinese uprisings, demonstrations and even bombings are reported to have taken place. But the Chinese authorities, instead of mollifying the tense
situation are taking ruthlessly repressive measures to silence the Uighur demand for democracy, justice and self-determination. Erkin AIptekin has warned that if the international community does not want to see another Yugoslavia then they must give a serious ear to the grievances, desires and the demands of the Uighurs in order to mollify the tense situation before it is too late He said that many experts believe that serious ethnic conflict can break out in China after Deng Xiaoping's death. Erkin AIptekin added that despite the political oppression, cultural genocide and economic exploitation the Uighurs, with the support of the international community, are determined to continue their struggle through non-violent methods."
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US OFFICIALS VIEW CHINA AS POSSIBLE LONG TERM THREAT
The Los Angeles Times, on April 17 wrote that for the first time in decades U S military and intelligence officials are beginning to cast a wary eye at China as a possible long-term rival, a future threat to American interests in Asia and the Pacific.
According to the newspaper, few believe that the two countries will be adversaries within the next 10 - 15 years, but China's fast-developing economy, its steady increases in military expenditures, its purchases of warplanes and submarines from Russia and some of its recent actions in the South China Sea are making U S. military and intelligence officials begin to think about possibilities for future conflict.
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LOST TRIBE OF UIGHURS TO BE FILMED
The London-based Third Eye Television is scheduled to begin in May filming a tribe in Eastern Turkestan's Taklamakan Desert said to have been isolated from the rest of the world since the 17th century. Reuters reported that the "lost tribe" had been discovered in 1990 by a Chinese oil exploration team.
Third Eye's producer, Helen Brew, described the tribe of more than 200 ethnic Uighurs as "a gentle culture living a primitive life in extreme isolation in a microcosm of peace". The tribe is believed to tell time by the sun, to have no government, schools or markets and no form of writing.
Living around an oasis in the Taklamakan the tribe is reported to be Moslem and to subsist from animal husbandry, growing crops and food gathering. "They have a communal interchange of energy, moral fiber and a motivating force of integrity of a spiritual kind, quite unknown in Western Society," Brews reported to have said.
The film will be directed by Italian director Paolo Brunatto and will cost about 2.8 million dollars. Filming is expected to last three weeks. The nine-member crew will travel by truck and camel to reach the tribe and have promised to do their best not to alter its way of life.
"We must be sensitive and respectful not to invade in any way or upset their way of life," Brew said. The crew is to carry its own food and sufficient water for five weeks.
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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