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10-02-06, 11:10
His Excellency

Prof. Dr. Ekmelledin Ihsanoglu
General Secretary
Organization of Islamic Conference
Jeddah
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


February 7, 2006


Your Excellency,

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC), presents its compliments to the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), and has the honour to call your kind attention to the following urgent and vital matter, a delibrate attempt to assimilate the 15 million Muslim Uyghurs of Eastern Turkestan, which is also known with its colonial name Xinjiang.

After occupying Eastern Turkestan in 1949, the Chinese Communist government pursued a policy of systematically assimilating the Muslim Uyghurs, to eliminate their culture and to exterminate their belief.

At present, Eastern Turkestan continues to be a region where the Muslim Uyghurs are waging a life and death struggle for survival. Their fundamental freedoms and human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are being violated by the Chinese authorities on a massive scale. At the same time, the influx of Chinese settlers, together with coercive birth control among Uyghur women and the systematic sinozation of the Uyghur language pose the biggest threat to the survival of the Uyghurs. The people of East Turkestan continue to be arrested, tortured and executed on political grounds.

According to Amnesty International, since 11 September, 2001, the Chinese authorities have arrested more than 3.000 Uyghurs. Reuters, quoting Xinjiang Daily, have reported on January 21, 2006 that only in the year of 2005, 18,000 Muslim Uyghurs were arrested after being accused as “seperatists”, “religious extremistes” or “terrorists”.

Among the arrested are scholars such Tohti Tunyaz, writers such as Nurmuhammed Yasin, journalists such as Abdulgani Memetemin and editors such as Koresh Huseyin. On November 2005, Reporters Without Borders condemned the three-year prison sentence passed by a court in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, accusing Koresh Huseyin for publishing a fable supposedly alluding to the region’s harsh laws.

Arrested Muslim Uyghurs are frequently subjected to torture and that some have been left physically and mentally scarred as a result. According to Dr. Manfred Novak, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, “torture in China is still wide-spread” and groups including Muslim Uyghurs and Tibetans “have been particularly targets of torture”. Dr. Novak made this revelation after visiting detention centers in Xinjiang, Tibet and Beijing in his recent trip to China. A U.N. statement later said Chinese authorities , over the years have used various methods of torture including electric shock batons, cigarettes, hoods or blindfolds , submerging prisoners in water or sewage or exposing theme to extereme heat or cold.

Amnesty International also reported that since September 11, more than 200 Muslim Uyghurs have been executed on political grounds while 50 people were sentenced to death for so-called separatist and terrorist activities. According to Reuters and AFP reports from August 17, 2004, four more Muslim Uyghurs were executed after being accused as “seperatists”.

Despite concerns expressed by the international community, the Chinese authorities are continuing to use the war against international terrorism as an excuse to launch a massive crackdown on Uyghurs. According to the “2004 Annual Human Rights Report”, released by the U.S. State Department last February, the Chinese “government used the international war on terror as a pretext for cracking down harshly on suspected Muslim Uyghur seperatists expressing peaceful political dissent and independent Muslim religious leaders.” Amnesty International said in its 2004 report that, “China has repackaged its repression of the Muslim Uyghurs as a fight against ‘terrorism’.” Human Rights Watch in its most recent report said, “China has opportunistically used the post-September 11 environment to make the outrages claim that individuals dissiminating peaceful religious and cultural messages in Xinjinag are terrorists who have changed tactics.”

Before 1949 there were only 300,000 Chinese settlers in Eastern Turkestan. But the figure is now more than 7 million according to official Chinese census. Observers, however, believe that this figure is much higher. It is estimated that every year 250, 000 Chinese settlers are moving into Eastern Turkestan. According to reliable sources in Eastern Turkestan, in the long run, the Chinese authorities are planning to settle at least 40 to 50 million Chinese into the region. Population transfer, including the implantation of settlers and settlements, was recognised by the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, in its resolution 1991, 92 and 93, to affect the basic human rights and freedoms of not only the peoples being moved or removed by the governments, but also of the original inhabitants of the territory into which settlers are being implanted. In its resolution, the Sub-Commission also noted that this practice could even constitute genocide. As stated above, population transfer can violate the rights not only of the people being moved, but also those into whose territory settlers are being moved. Thus, with the steady flow of Chinese settlers into Eastern Turkestan its original inhabitants are faced with the danger of becoming a small minority in their own homeland and thereby losing their cultural identity. This policy of demographic aggression not only violates the right to self-determination of the peoples concerned. Here also, economic, social and cultural rights are linked to other fundamental human rights. Invariably, the economic, social and cultural situation of the victim people is also damaged.

The ever growing Chinese settlers’ population has brought about widespread unemployment, hunger and disaster to the Muslim Uyghur people. The Chinese have monopolised not only political and economic authority and influence, but control in almost all walks of life in Eastern Turkestan. As a result, there is no unemployment among the Chinese but among the Muslim Uyghurs unemployment rate growing at an alarming rate. Despite the region’s natural wealth, the Uyghurs live at bare subsistence level with almost 80 percent of them living below the threshold of poverty. According to a report released by the Xinjiang Provincial Government on October 2004, the average income of the Chinese settlers in Eastern Turkestan is 4 times higher than that of an Uyghur. About 85 per cent of the Uyghur people are farmers. According to the same official Chinese report, the average annual income of an Muslim Uyghur farmer is 820 yuan or 100 US dollars whereas a Chinese farmer in Eastern Turkestan earns an annual income of 3,000 yuan. Most of the fertile land in the region is occupied by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps or briefly XPCC or Bintuan. Thus, especially in the Southern parts of Eastern Turkestan many Uyghur farmers are living below subsistence.

In order to restrain the growth of the Muslim Uyghur population coercive birth control is being carried out among the Muslim Uyghur women, directly contradicting China’s stated policy of implementing special, preferential population policies for the minority nationalities. Recently, in the town of Chapchal, with a population of 180,000, only 100 women were allowed to give birth. In the same town, 40 Muslim Uyghurs working in the Chinese administration were fired from their jobs because their wives were pregnant. According to the source of the information, coercive birth control has lead to the deaths of thousands women and children throughout Xinjiang. Contrary to “one child” policy in mainland China, the Chinese settlers in Eastern Turkestan are allowed to have more children.

Today, the Chinese authorities are pursuing a policy of systematic sinocization of the Uyghur language and literature. Until 1949, literary language of the Uyghurs contained almost no Chinese words. But now, large quantity of Chinese words have been introduced into Uyghur vocabulary, and in this regard, several thousand already existing Uyghur words in Uyghur vocabulary have been removed for reason such as “not favourable to the socialist construction”, “national unity” or whatsoever and replaced by Chinese terms. According to Uyghur scholars, the situation has reached to an alarming proportion. In today’s Uyghur vocabulary you can find almost in every corner one or more Chinese words. If preventive steps are not taken, the Uyghur language, a most representative language of the Altay Language Family, which played a major role in the enrichment of Central Asian civilization for almost two thousand years, will soon disappear from the linguistic scene. Moreover, thermore, the Chinese authorities have also banned all Uyghur language schools in East Turkestan by merging them with Chinese language schools, imposing Chinese as the language of instruction.

Furthermore, the Chinese government is directing a crushing campaign of religious repression against the Muslim Uyghurs. According to 114-page report released by Human Rights Watch and Human Rights in China on April 11, 2005, “the world-wide campaign against terrorism has given Beijing the perfect excuse to crack down harder than ever in Xinjiang. Other Chinese enjoy a growing freedom of worship, but Uyghurs, like Tibetans , find that their religion is being used as a tool of control. Most recently Chinese authories have also tightened curbs on Uyghurs, banning any government officials, state employees, Party members, children and in some cases women from entering mosques. A photo sent to Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) Uyghur service shows a sign above the gate of a Mosque in the southern part of Eastern Turkestan forbidding Muslims to attend worship. The reason for the particularly severe attack on is that it is regarded as a major shield Chinese Communist government’s policy of assimilating the Muslim Uyghurs of Eastern Turkestan. The Chinese Communist government believe that before exterminating their belief they cannot assimilate the believers.

As a result of the current policies of the Chinese authorities, the people of Eastern Turkestan remain in a very desperate and frustrated situation. This frustration can lead to grave consequences for all concerned, particularly the Muslim Uyghurs. Therefore, there is now an urgent need to defuse the rising tensions in East Turkestan aiming at an end to the gross and systematic violations of human rights of the Muslim Uyghurs. Respect for human rights is an essential element in a situation which requires conflict prevention. China’s view on human rights is most paradoxical. China rejects the principles to protect labour rights in labour camps or the rights of Chinese dissidents and the aspirations of the peoples of Eastern Turkestan, and Tibet.

In conclusion, I kindly appeal the OIC to adopt a resolution which will call upon the Chinese authorities to:

To extend an open invitation to all thematic mandates of the OIC and to receive them on official missions in Eastern Turkestan.
To end so-called “Strike Hard” campaigns aimed at terrorizing the entire Muslim Uyghur population.
To put an end to the practice of the death penalty on political and religious dissidents.
To release all political and religious prisoners.
To guarantee the preservation of the cultural, religious and national identity of Muslim Uyghurs.
To ensure the human rights of the Muslim Uyghur people and honour their will to live with dignity.


Thanking you in anticipation.

Yours truly,

Erkin Alptekin
President WUC



Pragerring 22A
97084 Würzburg

Germany

http://www.uyghurcongress.org/En/pressrelease.asp?ItemID=1139587161