Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 2 No. 4
Published by Eastern Turkestan Union in Europe
Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 2 No. 4 (August 1992)
CHINESE EDUCATIONAL POLICY IN EASTERN TURKESTAN
Although Chinese Communists leaders have long insisted on theimportance of education, the illiteracy rate in Eastern Turkestan remains very high. It is estimated that 50-60 percent of the adult population is illiterate.
The proportion of Turkic peoples in schools does not correspond to their percentage of the population. The Turkic peoples still represent 60 percent of the population of Eastern Turkestan according to the 1990 census, but they are represented by only 52.9 percent of the total primary school population and by only 31.5 percent at the secondary school level.
Every year thousands of Turkic students come from various parts of the country to major cities in the hope of receiving a higher education. Most of them are very poor. There are no student homes and they cannot afford to rent a room, but they receive no help from the Chinese government. Such conditions prevent 97 percent of the Turkic graduates of gymnasiums from entering a higher educational institution. Very few Turkic students who graduate from higher educational institutions are given jobs according to their qualifications. Many are forced to take blue collar jobs which discourages other Turkic students from higher studies.
Thousands of Chinese students each year are sent to study abroad, but very few Turkic students are given permission to study in foreign countries. Only 20 non-Chinese students were sent to study abroad in 1988, compared to 20,000 Chinese.
Only 26 percent of the teachers in higher educational institutions in Eastern Turkestan are Turkic. In technical schools it is 40 percent. The rest are Chinese. All text books used in higher educational institutions and technical schools are in Chinese. Graduates from local language schools have difficulty with examinations at the higher educational institutions, because the examination papers are in Chinese.
Many Turkic parents have started sending their children to Chinese language schools, where local languages are not taught, so they can enter a higher educational institution with fewer problems. But the Turkic students graduating from Chinese language schools cannot properly speak their mother tongue. To express what they really want to say, they constantly use Chinese words, they forget their traditions, and behave like Chinese, which causes strong resentment among Turkic peoples.
On the other hand, the quality of the Chinese language schools are far better than Turkic language schools. More money is given to the Chinese language schools than to Turkic language schools. Thus, Chinese language schools can provide better facilities. They can hire better qualified teachers and foreign languages like English, Japanese and Russian are taught. Many Turkic language schools in Eastern Turkestan cannot afford to have a stove in the class rooms in winter.
In Turkic language schools in the major cities of Eastern Turkestan there is a shortage of teachers. In the village schools there is an excess. Chinese Communist authorities do not give resident permits to Turkic teachers who want to work in the major cities. As they are denied residence permits, they cannot profit from the government stores which sell cheap goods and they are thus obliged to buy provisions from the free market. In the long run, with their modest salaries they cannot afford to buy from the free market, and are obliged to return to the village schools, were there is an excess of teachers.
The Latin alphabet, prepared in accordance with the Chinese phonology, has been replaced by the Arabic alphabet. But the re-introduction of Arabic alphabet has placed under great strains tens of thousands of Turkic peoples who for the past 20 years have received their education in the Latin alphabet. These Turkic peoples are now obliged to re-learn the Arabic alphabet, otherwise they will not be able to follow even the daily newspapers which are now published in the Arabic alphabet. Thus, members of a family can only correspond with each other in the Chinese alphabet because some of the family members have learned the Latin alphabet and some the Arabic.
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EIGHT CITIES REPORT DISTURBANCES
Since last spring, disturbances have been reported one after another in eight cities of Eastern Turkestan. According to a restricted report circulated among Chinese Communist Party officials, street demonstrations, distribution of leaflets, attacks on local Communist Party and governments locations, army stations and civil airports, resulting in violent confrontations followed bomb explosions early last February in Urumchi and in Ghulja, and on March 5, 6, 7 and 8 in the cities of Ghulja, Hotian, Kashgar, Kucha, Korla, Chochek and Bortala. It is reported that there were more than 80 casualties and direct economic loss reached 20 thousand million yuan.
On March 5th, more than 200 Kazakh young people made a sit-in demonstration in front of the Ili Kazakh Prefecture headquarters demanding an independent Kazakh state. When their demand was refused by the local authority, more than 50 of them rushed into the government and party committee buildings. The authorities had to dispatch police, militia and troops to disperse the demonstrators. No fewer than 30 people were arrested in this incident. Later local public security authorities announced that the incident had been incited and carried out by people from neighboring republics.
On the 3rd and 4th of March some 80 local inhabitants demonstrated in front of the local police station to demand the release of two demonstrators and a public apology for their arrest last January. Police and troops dispersed the crowd with tear-gas.
On March 5, in order to protest the brutality of the Peoples Liberation Army, the local inhabitants staged another demonstration in front of the local army garrison. The army opened fire in retaliation and at least 15 people died in the incident.
On the evening of March 6 more than 60 young people in three buses entered the restricted area of the airport in Hotian demanding the airport authorities dispatch a plane to Urumchi where they planned to present a petition. After the refusal of the airport authorities these young people set fire to the airport buildings, which then spread to the oil depot. Later police and troops arrived and dispersed the protesters. After the incident a one-week curfew was imposed in the city of Hotian.
On March 7 about 150 people made a demonstration in the streets of Bortala city. The demonstrators shouted anti-government slogans. By evening, the demonstrators had clashed with the police in an incident that left at least 15 people dead and more than 20 arrested.
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CHINESE CCP MOVES TO STRENGTHEN POLITICAL CONTROL IN E.T.
Chinese Communist authorities have recently moved to strengthen their control over Eastern Turkestan through a series of cadre appointments.
Following a memorandum from the PRC Ministry of Public Security a high-level meeting was held in Urumchi under the chairmanship of Zhang Fusen, Deputy Secretary of the Eastern Turkestan Party Committee. After the meeting the following appointments were announced: Chen Jinchi as First Political Commissar of the Eastern Turkestan police force, Zhang Wu as Political Commissar of the Eastern Turkestan armed police force, and Sun Chuanliu as Director of the Border Defense Bureau of the Eastern Turkestan Regional Public Security Department.
In his speech Zhang Fusen said the aim of the changes were to "adopt a firm faith in socialism and communism, uphold the principle that the Party commands the gun, unswervingly implement the Party's basic line, and firmly hold to guidelines of enhancing nationality solidarity, opposing national separatism and safeguarding the unification of the motherland."
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CAPTIVE NATIONS WEEK REMEMBERED
Eastern Turkestanis living in the Middle East, Europe and in the United States staged demonstrations during Captive Nations Week, the third week in July. Gulamettin Pahta, representative of Eastern Turkestan World Union in the United States, together with the Turkestani American Association, organized a demonstration in front of the United Nations building in New York.
In a petition addressed to the UN Secretary General Mr. Pahta said: "As the republics of Western Turkestan abandoned the USSR and joined the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eastern Turkestan, renamed by the Manchu rulers of China as Xinjiang, is suffering under the Communist Chinese rule. Self rule aside, the fundamental individual human rights and freedoms of the Eastern Turkestani people including civil, political, economic social and cultural rights continue to be violated. Eastern Turkestanis seeking only to live with dignity continue to be killed, imprisoned and tortured on political grounds. Thus, we kindly request you to scrutinize the situation in Eastern Turkestan.
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KAZAKHSTAN RAIL LINK OPENED
A new rail link connecting Eastern Turkestan and Kazakhstan has been opened for passenger service, the first link in a railroad projected to stretch from Eastern Turkestan to Europe, with its terminal in Rotterdam. Senior officials from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia were invited to the opening ceremony.
At the same time Li Senmoao, Chinese Minister for railways, and Tomur Dawamet, the chairman of the Uygur Autonomous Region, recently signed an agreement in Urumchi to accelerate the construction of multiple tracks for Urumchi-Lanzhou Railway. Chinese Vice Premier Wu Xueqin and Song Hanliang, Secretary of the Regional Party Committee, witnessed the signing ceremony.
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UNPO MEETS IN GENEVA
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) held two, two day preparatory meetings in Geneva for UNPO members and observers. The first meeting was held on July 16 and 17, immediately prior to the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations. The second UNPO meeting was held July 30 and 31, before the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and on Protection of Minorities.
The aim of the meetings was to discuss substantive issues on the agendas of these UN bodies, and to discuss common strategies and technical assistance by UNPO for members during these UN meetings. Erkin Alptekin, Omer Kanat, Kerim Sherif and Enver Rahman participated at the UNPO second meeting representing Eastern Turkestan.
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ALPTEKIN RECEIVED BY DALAI LAMA
Erkin Alptekin, Chairman of the Eastern Turkestan Cultural Center in Europe was received by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, during the Dalai Lama's recent visit to Salzburg, Austria.
During the one-hour audience, Erkin Alptekin, briefed His Holiness on recent developments in Eastern Turkestan and Eastern Turkestani activities abroad.
The Dalai Lama, who has always championed the cause of Eastern Turkestan said that the Uygurs and the Tibetans, who together played a major role in the history of Central Asia, are now sharing the same destiny. Thus, he is of the strong belief that the brothers who share the same destiny should strengthen their common activities abroad also."
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HARD-LINE CHINESE BLOCK REFORM
According to a commentary published in a recent issue of Xinjiang Daily, hard-line leaders in Eastern Turkestan are blocking economic reforms.
The commentary wrote that in Eastern Turkestan the threat of separatist unrest was being used to advocate a slow pace of reform by arguing that "it is better to be half a beat behind in order to maintain stability."
"It is impossible to have political stability without economic development" the paper commented. "Drastic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have already proved this "
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MILITIA CITED OUTSTANDING
The Chinese Communist Party's organ, Renmin Ribao, in an recent article wrote that Eastern Turkestan had closely focused on the consolidation of national defense, border economic construction, and militia reserve service. It said that approximately one million militia men and women throughout the country had become an important force in defending and building border areas and had made outstanding contributions toward safeguarding border security, social stability and economic development.
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PRESS REVIEW STALINIST IN HIS THOUGHTS, UIGHUR IN HIS SOUL
In the July issue (No. 28 ) of New Times, a weekly magazine published in Moscow, correspondents Yakov Borovoi and Alexander Chudodeyev discussed the birth and fall of the East Turkestan Republic. Proclaimed in 1944 and led by Mullah Alikhan Ture the republic was at first supported by Stalin. Ture's independent attitude, however, soon led to his replacement by Akhmajan Kasimi, described as "a Stalinist in his thoughts and an Uighur in his soul."
By the end of the 1940s conditions in China led Stalin to resolve "to cede" Eastern Turkestan to Mao. Using the accounts of Uighurs who witnessed the events the New Times disclosed how Stalin's brutal exploitation and betrayal of the Uighurs was carried out. The article described how Kasimi, who was officially reported to have been killed in a plane crash in the autumn of 1949, was in fact murdered by Stalin's KGB.
Under Chinese domination, the article continued, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and systematic oppression led to the starvation of more than 50 thousand Uighur families and the flight of more than 100 thousand Eastern Turkestanis to the USSR, and especially to Kazakhstan where they now number more than 300 thousand.
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HER FATHER'S SONGS
The June issue (No. 6) of Lungta, published in Switzerland, printed a personal testimony by Malike Seymenoglu, "My Father's Songs in which she shared some of her personal impressions of Uighur life in Eastern Turkestan under conditions of Chinese occupation. Given a Chinese education in Manchuria she returned to Eastern Turkestan as a university lecturer. There she experienced the prejudice and oppression of the Chinese in Eastern Turkestan.
Ms Seymenoglu described some calculated Chinese policies like limiting the population growth of Uighurs while encouraging the in-migration of millions of Chinese, placing barriers in the way of the use and development of the Uighur language and arbitrarily replacing one alphabet with another leaving entire generations virtually illiterate.
In other ways the Chinese colonial arrogance seems so deeply rooted as to be almost naive. After speaking at a conference about the problems of China's use of Eastern Turkestan as a site for its nuclear tests Ms Seymenoglu was asked privately by a Chinese, "if the Chinese were not allowed to do their tests in Eastern Turkestan, where should they do them?
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THIRD GENERATION NATIONALIST
The July 6 issue of U. S. News and World Report included an article about Uighur leader Isa Yusuf Alptekin, 92, who lives in Istanbul. After 43 years of exile, said the U.S. weekly, he continues to hope that one day his homeland will be free.
Alptekin's grandfather fought against the Manchu rulers of China in 1864 when Eastern Turkestan won 11 years of independence, and his uncle was killed in a 1934 uprising which was suppressed by Soviet troops. Alptekin himself escaped across the mountains to India in 1949 following a Soviet-Chinese conspiracy to quash Eastern Turkestan's resistance to the Chinese Communist revolution, U.S. News said.
The emergence of Central Asia's independent Turkic republics has enlivened the Uighur cause. A newspaper, Voice of the Uighurs, is now published in Alma-Ata, the capital of Kazakhstan. Noting that Turkish President Ozal has said the 21st century would be the Turkish century Alptekin was quoted as commenting, "How can it be without East Turkestan's freedom? East Turkestan is the mother of the whole Turkish world."
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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