Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 5 No. 4
Published by Eastern Turkestan Union in Europe
Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 5 No. 4 (August 1995)
GREENPEACE DEMONSTRATION IN BEIJING
Six Greenpeace members staged an unprecedented anti-nuclear demonstration in Tiananmen Square calling on the Chinese leadership to stop its nuclear testing at Lop Nor in Eastern Turkestan.
All six members, including Thilo Bode, chairman of the German Greenpeace, were arrested. After protests by the German government they were later released and deported to Hong Kong.
Before his arrest Bode told journalists, "We want China and France to immediately stop its nuclear tests so a comprehensive nuclear test ban agreement can be signed. Otherwise both countries will sabotage the agreement."
Eastern Turkestanis living at home and abroad were encouraged by the first anti-nuclear demonstration staged by foreigners on Chinese soil since the Communist Chinese takeover in 1949. Uighurs living in Eastern Turkestan and elsewhere urge the international community to show the same sensitivity to Chinese nuclear testing in Eastern Turkestan that it has to French nuclear testing program.
In an expression of its appreciation the Eastern Turkestani Union in Europe issued a press release on August 16 which concluded., "We are convinced that this unprecedented demonstration in Beijing will arouse the world. China must be left no other alternative to halting its nuclear tests and so reduce the suffering of Uighurs under Chinese domination."
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CONDEMN HARRY WU'S ARREST
Eastern Turkestanis living at home and abroad have strongly condemned the arrest of human rights activist Harry Wu. Wu was arrested on June 19 while entering Eastern Turkestan from Kazakhstan with a legal passport and visa.
On July 15 Uighurs protested the arrest of Harry Wu on Eastern Turkestani soil by staging a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy in the Kazakh capital Almaty. The demonstrators demanded the immediate release of Wu.
Born in China, Harry Wu spent 19 years in China's system of "reform through labor." After emigrating to the United States in 1985 he became a US citizen and began to travel back to China to help obtain information about abuses in the prison system, including the alleged sale of organs taken from executed prisoners.
Wu, 58 years old, lives in California and on one of his trips to China he used a hidden camera to produce a rare film about the vast Chinese system of reform labor camps which he called, 'the Chinese Gulag".
Reports from Eastern Turkestan harry Wu wanted to collect information on the reform labor camps in Eastern Turkestan when he was arrested at the Korga border crossing.
At present there are 29 reform labor camps in Eastern Turkestan with an estimated population of 70,000 prisoners. Wang Zhen, the late Chinese Vice President, speaking at a Party meeting after the Tiananmen massacre, strongly advocated the 400 Chinese intellectuals in Beijing who opposed the Chinese Communist Party be sent to the reform labor camps in Eastern Turkestan "so they can be transformed there."
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MILITARY BUILDUP REPORTED IN EASTERN TURKESTAN
Reports reaching ETIB suggest that total Chinese military forces stationed in Eastern Turkestan have almost doubled in the last five years. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union and the emergence of five independent Central Asian republics in Western Turkestan Chinese authorities have increased troop levels of the People's Liberation Army in Eastern Turkestan. Military forces in the area are now estimated to have reached one million.
Eastern Turkestan has been divided by the Chinese into three Provincial Military Districts which are further divided into sub-districts and city garrisons. Provincial and district commanders in charge of local security are responsible for general conscription in their district as well as direction of daily activities of regular forces.
Regional directors are also charged with organizing local sections of an emergency volunteer corps, which are supposed to function as military commissariats. The corps is divided into military and political preparations for civil defense and to provide a reserve for regular forces. There are over 90 sections of the emergency volunteer corps in the Urumchi Military District.
Ground forces in the Urumchi Military District are divided into field and local forces. Field forces include infantry, tank, artillery, construction, and other sections. They are supported from the national budget and remain on call throughout the country.
Local forces include units of internal security forces and border guards. They are supposed to operate in the areas where they are permanently stationed and are financed out of the budget of the Sinkiang-Uighur Autonomous Region. In times of military action they may be placed under the appropriate field commander. Local forces have fewer personnel and their weapons are of inferior quality to field forces.
Despite its limited production in terms of China's gross national product, Eastern Turkestan's role in China's nuclear missile program has given it an important place in the military-industrial structure.
Eastern Turkestan's nuclear industry ranges from the mining of atomic ore to the production and testing of nuclear equipment. Uranium is mined at Urumchi, Sikheszi, Gulja, Kashgar, Maigaiti, Alta, Chugchak and Usu. A uranium enriching plant in Urumchi, opened in 1959, and another in Chapchal each process between 200,000 and 300,000 tons of ore annually. The Jumin plant for the production of plutonium-239 was completed in 1967. Its yearly production of nuclear-grade fuel runs from 200 to 300 kilograms.
China's nuclear testing area was constructed in 1963 near lake Lop Nor in Eastern Turkestan. There are two nuclear reactors in Urumchi, and the administrative center of the Chinese atomic industry is located in Hami in Eastern Turkestan.
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ISTANBUL NAMES PARK FOR ISA YUSUF ALPTEKIN
A new park in the Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque) section of Istanbul was given the Name "Isa Yusuf Alptekin" in a ceremony on July 28.
At the same time a memorial was erected in Isa Yusuf Alptekin park in remembrance of the Eastern Turkestani martyrs who lost their lives in the struggle for independence.
Near the park a restaurant named "Turkestan" was also opened in an effort to introduce Eastern Turkestani and Uighur cuisine into Turkey's largest European city.
Recep Tayip Erdogan, Istanbul's mayor, spoke on the occasion: "In order to express our deep gratitude to the great leader of Eastern Turkestan we have decided to name this park after Isa Yusuf Alptekin. Now almost 95 years old, Isa Yusuf Alptekin has spent his life working for the cause not only of Eastern Turkestan, but of the entire Turkic world. With his tireless struggle Isa Yusuf Alptekin not only inspired us, at the same time he became a symbol of independence, justice and peace in the Turkic world.
"Unfortunately, until now his work has not been recognized in the world. This humble park, which has been given this great leader's name, should always remind us of his great task. Eastern Turkestan is not only the home of the Turkic peoples, but it is also the cradle of Turkic history, civilization and culture. To forget that would lead to the ignorance of our own history, civilization, and culture.
The martyrs of Eastern Turkestan are our own martyrs. In order to perpetuate their memory and merry their souls we have set up this memorial to the Martyrs of Eastern Turkestan. May their struggle always be remembered.
"Today, the culture of the people of Eastern Turkestan is being systematically sinocized. At such a time the Turkestan Restaurant will help preserve at least the East Turkestani and Uighur cuisine."
In response Isa Yusuf Alptekin, said, "The park and the memorial have immortalized the Eastern Turkestani cause in Turkey. On behalf of my countrymen at home and abroad I would like to thank the mayor and city government of Istanbul."
Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, Turkish Prime Minister Ciller and the Chairman of Turkey's Parliament all sent telegrams of congratulations on the event. Representatives of political parties, various organizations and a large crowd participated in the ceremonies which were covered by major Turkish media.
In Ankara, meanwhile, the Chinese Ambassador has protested the opening of the ark and the Eastern Turkestan Martyrs Memorial saying that it was interference in the internal affairs of China. The Turkish Foreign Ministry replied that Turkey as a democratic country, that city governments were elected directly by the people and that the Turkish government had no authority or influence in changing decisions taken by city governments.
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ERKIN ALPTEKIN AT TURKIC FESTIVAL
ETUE Chairman Erkin Alptekin was invited to attend a Turkic festival in the central Anatolian city of Kyseri on August 4-6. Representatives from all parts of the Turkic world participated in the festival which featured folk dancing, music and food of various Turkic peoples.
Besides guests from across the Turkic world, representatives of Turkish political parties and almost 10,000 spectators visited the festival which was held in the Tekir valley on the slopes of Mount Erciyes. The festival was covered by major Turkish media.
The aim of the festival was to bring Turkic peoples closer in order to better understand each other and to share one another's happiness and grievances. In this it offered representatives of various Turkic peoples to appeal to their ethnic brethren informing them of their own plight and sorrows.
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DEMONSTRATIONS IN BONN AND MUNICH
The Eastern Turkestani Union in Europe (ETUE) together with the Tibet Association in Germany and the Tibet Initiative Group organized demonstrations in Bonn and Munich to protest continued Chinese abuses of human rights in Eastern Turkestan, Tibet and Inner Mongolia. The protests were timed to coincide with the visit of Chinese President Jiang Zemin to Bonn on July 13 and to Munich on July 15.
The organizers held a press conference in Bonn's Press Club on July 13 which was attended by more than 30 journalists. ETUE Chairman Erkin Alptekin, Shobshood Temsiltu, Chairman of the Committee for Human Rights in Inner Mongolia, and Tsentang Norbu, Chairman of the Tibet Association in Germany, briefed the meeting on Chinese human rights abuses in their respective homelands. Klemens Ludwig, Chairman of the Tibet Initiative in Germany, chaired the press conference.
In Munich Eastern Turkestanis in their national dress carried banners reading "Freedom for Eastern Turkestan," Stop Nuclear tests in Eastern Turkestan," and "Release all political prisoners."
The visit of the Chinese President also occasioned an ETUE press release reading in part: "Chinese leaders are continuing their policy of completely transforming Eastern Turkestan into a Chinese province, culturally sinocizing the Uighurs and exploiting their natural resources.
"This situation has turned Eastern Turkestan into a time bomb. Instead of mollifying the tense situation Chinese authorities are taking ruthless measures to silence the Uighurs. The results are arbitrary arrests, torture and executions. Germany's interest in expanding its trade with China should not overshadow the gross violations of human rights in Eastern Turkestan."
The demonstrations were reported by German television, radio, and newspapers
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CHINESE CHAUVINISM ALIVE AND WELL
Hung-Chi , the ideological organ of the Chinese Communist Party wrote the following in its August 1977 issue: "Chinese chauvinism, which has always existed in China, is just as strong as it ever was. Chinese chauvinists are against non-Chinese nations being granted any rights whatsoever. Although the Communist Party of China is waging a struggle against these chauvinists; this struggle has not so far been very successful..."
Since that was written Hung-Chi has ceased to publish, but recent letters from Eastern Turkestan make clear that Chinese chauvinism is still strong, not only in Eastern Turkestan, but generally throughout China.
An Uighur businessman who did not want to be identified wrote as follows:
"...I am an Uighur businessman and have the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Eastern Turkestan and China proper. Chinese chauvinism, racism, and injustice are gradually becoming unbearable.
"Millions of Chinese have come to settle in Eastern Turkestan, but if an Uighur wanted to settle in China he would need a special permit which is almost impossible to obtain. They raise territorial claims on Eastern Turkestan, but treat us like foreigners in China. A Chinese settler in Eastern Turkestan has the right to settle anywhere and do business as he wishes. But Uighurs are not allowed to open business in Chia proper.
"In an effort to make a living some Uighur youth have managed to set up mobile kebab shops in some Chinese cities. If they are caught, however, they are fined and deported to Eastern Turkestan, and so their lives are a game of hide-and-seek with Chinese authorities.
"The Chinese in Eastern Turkestan live in the finest areas and stay in the best hotels, but if an Uighur travels on business to China proper he is not allowed to take rooms even when they are available.
"The Chinese own 95 percent of the cars in Eastern Turkestan but even a high-ranking Uighur official in Beijing cannot have an official car for his use. An Uighur has great difficulty getting a seat on an airplane from Urumchi to Beijing, even if he can afford it as the seats are all reserved for Chinese.
"If an Uighur student in Beijing, Shanghai or Nanking has hurt the feelings of a Chinese he is severely punished, but if a Chinese kills and Uighur he is not even questioned. In May 1995 a Chinese killed an Uighur in the city of Kucha. The Chinese authorities considered the problem solved with a payment of 20,000 Yuan to the victim's wife, and the Chinese murderer goes free with no penalty. In August last year a Chinese soldier raped a Uighur girl and despite Uighur complaints, was never brought to justice.
"I could give you hundreds of thousands of such examples, but would it help...?"
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UNPO MEETS IN GENEVA
The Steering Committee of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) met in Geneva on July 28-29. Eastern Turkestan was represented by Erkin Alptekin, Chairman of the Eastern Turkestani Union in Europe.
The meeting's agenda included new membership applications, a proposed UNPO award, request by members for actions, and a discussion of non-violence and terrorism.
On August 1-2 the UNPO General Secretariat organized a seminar to discuss preparations for upcoming meetings of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The seminar, attended by several UNPO members, discussed substantive issues to be dealt with by the UN bodies.
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CENTRAL ASIAN ACTIVITIES
Kahrahman Gojamberdiev, Chairman of the Inter-Republican Uighur Association in the Kazakhstan capital of Almaty, attended a conference on Tibet in Vilnius, Lithuania on May 26-29. More than 30 parliamentarians from various countries attended the conference.
During the conference, Gojamberdiev spoke on recent developments on Eastern Turkestan. He also read a resolution adopted by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) General Assembly meeting last January in the Hague.
On June 27-28 a conference organized by the Inter-Republican Uighur Association's Women's Branch was held in Taldi Korgan, Kazakhstan. The conference, intended to provide a platform for the discussion of problems of Uighur women in Central Asia, included more than 300 Uighur women delegates from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. More than 20 papers were presented.
A two-day peaceful rally was staged across Kazakhstan in early August calling on China to stop its nuclear testing in Eastern Turkestan. The rally was organized by Olcas Suleymanov, Chairman of the Semey-Nevada-Lop Nor Anti-Nuclear Movement.
Suleymanov, a well-known Kazakh writer and politician, told the rally that "at present as in the past foreign powers are using other people's territories for their nuclear tests. If they are so eager to continue their tests they should use their own, not occupied territories.
China's continued nuclear testing in Eastern Turkestan is not only producing an ecological disaster in that country, but in neighboring countries as well." He added that the aim of the rally was to achieve a nuclear-free zone in Central Asia.
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GROWING INTEREST IN EASTERN TURKESTAN
Recent years have witnessed a growing interest among foreign scholars and journalists in the current situation in Eastern Turkestan. Every year more researchers travel to Istanbul to interview Isa Yusuf Alptekin, the 95-year old Eastern Turkestani leader.
In July alone, foreign journalists came to interview Alptekin for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo the Italian Il Manifesto , the state television of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Kazakh radio and TV.
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A letter in the Berlin daily, Die Tageszeitung , on July 27 questioned why world reaction to France's intended nuclear testing was not matched by opposition to China's continued nuclear testing in Lop Nor in Eastern Turkestan.
Michael Alexandre of the Tibetan Information Service noted that since 1965 China has carried out 42 nuclear explosions, the most recent on May 15 of this year. There had been protests, he wrote, in neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan as well as in Japan, South Korea and Australia. Popular demonstrations in the Eastern Turkestani city of Kashgar had been brutally repressed by Chinese security forces. "Today," he concluded, "people seek to boycott French goods. Why not Chinese goods as well."
The British weekly The Economist on July 8 included an article discussing modern attitudes towards race in China. Some excerpts:
"Racism, said Zhao Ziyang bare-facedly in 1988, when he was general secretary of the Communist Party, is common "everywhere in the world except China."
"...Yet the idea of racial purity in China is nonsense. Centuries of influx of Turkic people to the north China plain show in the faces of the so-called Han there. Southern "Han" Chinese faces tell of a thousand years of absorption of races farther south.
"...The 50-odd minorities... are treated as 'foreign bodies on the soil of China'. They are kept in place either by massive Han immigration - Mongols are now a small minority in Inner Mongolia - or by a military presence, as in Tibet. Economically, they lose out...
"Only in the China Folk Culture Villages, it seems, are the minorities living in harmony with the Han... It says something that the 'minorities' are mostly Han Chinese in costume."
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UIGHUR PROBLEMS ADDRESSED IN NEW BOOK
Some readers may be interested in knowing about a new book, Fluchtziel Deutschland: Migranten aus der Volksrepublik China (Flight to Germany: Migrants from the People's Republic of China), by Thomas Weyrach. The book deals with the roots of out-migration from China - Chinese expansion, authoritarian rule, economic difficulties ad human rights abuses - and the plight of refugees from China who reach the west, especially in Germany. Within this context the author devotes some attention to the particular problems of the Uighurs. The book is published by Edition Cathay in Bocum, Germany.
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The aim of the Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin is to disseminate
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Eastern Turkestan and to provide a forum for discussion on a wide range of
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Last updated 06/29/99