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Unregistered
08-02-09, 17:26
Yurtimizning ismini "Sherqi Turkistan" dep ishlitishni telep qilip tuwendiki hetni teyyarlidim. Buni bu ishqa kongil bulidighanlar het ahirigha ismini, email adrisini we yashaydighan sheher ismini qoyup RFA rehberlirige iwetishini teshebbus qilimen (isimsiz selinghan hetler inawetke elinmaydu, jawap alimen disingiz alaqilishish uchuringizni qoyishingiz kirek). Biraq, bu hetni iwetishtin butun qetip qoyish yaki chiqiriwetish kirek bolghan nohtilar bolsa pikiringlarni bersenglar shuninggha asasen ozgertish kirguzip ahirqi nushisini teyyarlap mushu heptining ahirida bu meydangha qoyup qoyimen. Hetni iwetip aldi bilen RFA ning jawabini anglap baqayli, andin shuninggha qarap ish tutayli.

Turdi
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Dear Sir/Madam,

This letter is in regard to an issue that should’ve been addressed long time ago. The region originally populated by Uyghur, Kazak and other Turkic speaking peoples in Northwestern China is referred to as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. As you may already know, “Xinjiang” is a Chinese name that majority of the local populations could not even pronounce properly. But, calling their homeland by its name in their own language as “Sherki Turkistan”, which is translated as “East Turkistan” or “Eastern Lands Populated by Turkic Peoples” is prohibited by the Chinese Government as its connection to history of the region does not fit the Chinese agenda of distorting the history and suppressing the local cultures and languages. People should be allowed to own their own history and culture and name their homeland in their own language rather being forced to use a name imposed by others. However, we are talking about China, a country that does not respect their rights of its own citizens. As we understand, RFA’s mission is to address these kinds of issues of human rights violations and promote democracy. That is why people in East Turkistan are willing to take the risk being arrested to listen to its broadcasts.

Uyghurs and other local peoples hate to use the name “Xinjiang”, not just because it is difficult for them to pronounce, but also because it symbolizes the repression that imposed on them. “East Turkistan” is the name they used before the Chinese imposed the other name on them and it is the name they still prefer if the Chinese Government did not make it illegal. The people at RFA Uyghur service understand this precarious situation; therefore have been avoiding using either, instead referring to the area by a generic discription-- “The Uyghur Region.” But, that is not a solution. RFA should stand faithful to its mission and respect Uyghur people’s right to name their homeland in their own language as part of their human rights. Just because it is illegal in China, it does not mean it is illegal here in USA. Listening to RFA is illegal in China. The historical fact needs to be respected is that even as recently as 1949, more than 95% of the population of East Turkistan was comprised of Turkic peoples. It is true that two independent countries established in the area in the first half of the 20th Century were called East Turkistan Republics. But, this connection doesn’t justify outlawing the name “East Turkistan” as a geographical concept. If we were talking about “East Turkistan Republic’, then I could understand the concern.

When I asked about the reason why RFA could not use the name “East Turkistan”, I have been told that the name would imply RFA does not recognize China’s sovereignty over the region. I have difficulty as many my other countrymen do comprehending this rational. It is just geographical name that refers to a region in China that was historically populated by Turkic speaking peoples.

In China, Tibet is known by its Chinese name “Xizang”. When I was in China, I assumed “Xizang” has a different name in Tibetan language as well, but I did not know what it was. After I came to US, I learned that it was called “Tibet”. In terms of political significance, the name “East Turkistan” should not be any different from the name “Tibet.” As we know, “Tibet” was the name of an independent country in region before its annexation to China and it is the name the Tibetan independence seekers aspire to use for a future independent Tibet they dream about. The exact same situation applies to the name “East Turkistan”. So, why one is acceptable for RFA but the other? The only difference is that Tibetan communities have been around in the West much longer than the Uyghurs to promote their rights, culture, cause and their right to use the Tibetan name for their homeland. Uyghurs showed up in the West only in the early 90s. Because of this difference, the name “Tibet” has become such an accepted standard geographical terminology that even the Chinese press started to use it instead of the Chinese name “Xizang” in English publications. It is also a matter of time before China accepts the fact that “East Turkistan” is just a geographical concept and stops blacklisting it. For it to happen, we have to stop blacklisting it in the free world first. With the effort of the small Uyghur communities in the West, this name has gradually being accepted in mainstream media as a geographical terminology.

China blacklists many things that signify the Uyghur identity, culture and history. The name of our homeland “East Turkistan” is prominently featured on that list. Defying this blacklist doesn’t mean rejecting China’s sovereignty over the region. Things banned in China do not have to be banned here. To highlight this point, I want to point out one more time that RFA broadcasting is banned in China.

Therefore, I ask RFA to stay true to its mission and start respecting East Turkistan people’s right to use their own language to refer to their homeland as a part of their right to the freedom of speech. If RFA has a valid concern using this name, I would like to hear their explanation.

Sincerely,