China, Stop the Cultural Genocide against Uyghurs!
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Torchlight Uyghur Group
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May 26th, 2018
Torchlight Uyghur Group
Uyghurs are one of the ancient nations residing at the heartland of Central Asia. Uyghur civilization possesses long and rich cultural heritage and traditions. Unfortunately, after the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) invasion to East Turkestan in 1949, CCP has launched a series of systematic cultural assimilation and genocide policies targeting the Uyghur population in East Turkestan. Such policies have peaked in recent years and brought serious damages to the Uyghur culture and the Uyghur people, as briefly described below:
(1) The destruction of the Uyghur language: In the past 60 years, CCP has modified the Uyghur alphabet for 3 times, such as the implementation of the Chinese Pinyin based alphabet in place of the Uyghur alphabet in Uyghur literature and education, as well as the complete ban of the Uyghur language in all forms of communication, including education and workplace.
(2) The Chinese government’s control has always been very strict on the publication of Uyghur books and on the censorship of authors. Over the years, large numbers of historical and religious books, novels, poems, and even the essays published online that encourage Uyghurs to keep their ethnic identity or those with any hidden or symbolic contents have been confiscated, banned, burned and taken down, because the Chinese government suspected that these publications hold ideas against the communist ideology. The authors of such publications were fined heavily and majority of them were sentenced to 5-15 years of prison terms.
(3) Gifted Uyghur writers and artists have long been used by the Chinese government for its own propaganda. They have not been allowed to utilize their knowledge and talents for the general public. Since 2017, the Chinese government has forced all Uyghur intellectuals, civil servants and artists, especially those who became popular and well respected among the Uyghur communities, to write various types of pledges describing their loyalty towards CCP and the Chinese state. This campaign included the Uyghurs who hold some key positions in local governments, universities and other public sectors.
(4) The Chinese government made it illegal for the Uyghurs to wear their traditional dresses in work places and schools. In schools, Uyghur children are being taught in Chinese language only and are encouraged to dress up in traditional Han-Chinese costumes, especially in official performances. As a result, the Uyghur traditional costumes are now barely worn and only permitted to be worn on stage shows or in various propaganda activities organized by the government or by school officials. Furthermore, following the enforcement of China's anti-terror law in 2016, the local government came up with strict regulations regarding the dress code of the Uyghur men and women. The regulations require the Uyghur women to take off their headscarves, and to wear short and open styled dresses in public places and require the Uyghur men to shave their beards and moustaches.
(5) With regards to foods, the Chinese government has criminalized the usage of “halal” labels in East Turkestan, and banned the use of such differentiation in food and drinks sector since 2017. They merged the canteen and cafeterias in schools and workplaces to encourage Han Chinese and Uyghurs or other Muslim people to eat together. The shops and restaurants owned by Uyghurs, who previously did not sell alcohol and cigarettes, were forcefully closed or fined.
(6) The Chinese government has speeded up its assimilation policies towards the Uyghurs by introducing so-called “becoming a family” campaign in areas densely populated by the Uyghurs. The aim of such campaign is described as ''helping Uyghurs to improve their lives and improve the understanding between the Han and Uyghurs''. With this campaign, Han Chinese officials are assigned into Uyghur households as “relatives” regardless of their differences in culture, religion and other backgrounds. Therefore, the Uyghurs are forced to live with the assigned Han Chinese “relatives” and share every aspects of their lives with them for a week or so in a month.
(7) The Chinese government has also been trying to destroy some other aspects of the Uyghur culture. For instance, local governments have banned Islamic names for Uyghur babies, and ordered the Uyghurs to change their kids’ names, if the names are among one of the 28 names restricted by the government, including Mohammed and Islam. Also, the Chinese government has eliminated the Uyghur traditional wedding ceremonies by banning the Nikah (the Islamic marriage contract) in Islam), using so-called “de-radicalization” act.
(8) The Chinese government has demolished several thousand years old historical buildings in the Uyghur city of Kashgar. The goal is to erase the Uyghur history, and to minimize their importance among the Uyghurs. Many Uyghur families were forced to move from cities to countrysides with little or no reimbursement for their financial losses.
As you can see, every aspect of the Uyghur lives is now under serious threat because of the Chinese government’s cultural genocide policies. We ask all human rights organizations and individuals around the world to stand up for justice for the Uyghurs, to pay attention to the above-mentioned devastating situations in the Uyghur homeland, and end the world-wide silence over China's genocide against the Uyghurs and their rich culture.
Please join us in our fight to end the appalling atrocities happening in East Turkestan. Please sign and share this petition. Thank you!
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