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Unregistered
10-04-06, 19:14
Just some personal observations. ONLY for constructive criticism.

THE UYGHUR DIASPORA

Due to harsh control of political activities in the P.R.C., and Washington’s labeling of ETIM as a terrorist organization at the insistence of Beijing, the Uyghur resistance within the P.R.C. became more underground, or it might have taken another form, silent confrontation, during the last few years. However, Uyghur movements, whether political, or purely cultural, have flourished in the US, Europe, Turkey, and Central Asian since the late 1990s. The Uyghur activists have established various organizations to promote their struggle for a better future of the Uyghur people and more international awareness of the Uyghur situation in P.R.C. In merely a few years, more than 15 Uyghur organizations were established in North America (the US, and Canada), Europe (Germany, England, Sweden, and Norway), Turkey, Australia, and Central Asia. Turkey and Central Asia once were the centers of Uyghur activists. The hub of the Uyghur network has shifted to the US and Germany since early 2000. There are several reasons for this shift. First, more and more Uyghur intellectuals came to the US and Europe to pursue higher education, which naturally turned the core of leadership to these western countries. Second, by late 1990s, especially after September 11, the Chinese government has been using its economic ties to request its neighboring countries to disband Uyghur organizations and to expatriate their members to China. This has caused extremely difficult situation for Uyghur activists to engage in political activities. Third, democratic and free countries like the US and Germany can provide more freedom and liberal environments for Uyghur activists to promote their cause.

The most important two organizations are the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) based in Munich, Germany and the Uyghur American Association (UAA) based in Washington DC, USA. The World Uyghur Congress is established in April 2004 when East Turkistan National Congress and World Uyghur Youth Congress decided to unite into one organization “to represent the highest interest of the Uyghur people in East Turkistan”. According to the WUC’s agenda, its main goal is “to promote democracy, human rights and religious freedom for the Uyghur people”. The leaders of the WUC have been consistently announcing a non-violent and peaceful opposition against the Chinese occupation of East Turkistan. Since its founding, the WUC has made considerable effort by working with various concerned governments and human rights organizations to make aware of the political, socioeconomic, and religious issues facing the Uyghurs in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region. WUC plays a key role in uniting Uyghur organizations and activists, as well as promoting the international awareness of Uyghur situation. The president of WUC, Mr. Erkin Alptekin, is the most well-known and respected leader of the Uyghurs in exile. He is the son of Isa Yusuf Alptekin, who was one of the famous leaders of the short-lived East Turkistan Republic in 1940s. After the Chinese occupation of the East Turkistan Republic in 1949, he followed his parents to flee to India and finally settled down in Istanbul, Turkey. Later, he joined Radio Free Europe/Liberty in Munich, Germany, and worked there for most of his life. Mr. Alptekin has spent his whole life lobbying for Uyghur people. In early 1990s, he established the Eastern Turkistan Union in Europe (ETUE), in Munich, with the support of his Uyghur countrymen. He is one of the founders of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), which represents approximately 150 million stateless people in the world. He also has important positions in several international organizations in Asia, Europe and the United States. For the last 40 years, he has attended many international conferences to give speeches about the Uyghurs’ plight, and to draw attention as well as support from international communities to the Uyghur issue. He is a new leader and greatest hope for the Uyghur people. He is believed to unite the Uyghurs both inside and outside the country that the Uyghurs call East Turkistan. Due to his extensive international experience and respected position, many believe Mr. Alptekin is the best candidate to be the Uyghurs’ Dalai Lama who will eventually unify the Uyghurs and promote Uyghur issue on behalf of the Uyghurs throughout the world. Like Dalai Lama, Mr. Alptekin insisted a non-violent resistance as a basic principle of the WUC’s political activities. Under his leadership, the WUC has achieved great accomplishments in promoting the Uyghur issue that none of other Uyghur organizations have ever done before.

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) was established in Washington DC in 1998. Its mission is “to promote the preservation of Uyghur culture, and to support the right of the Uyghur people to use peaceful, democratic means to determine their own political future.” It is the only Uyghur political organization that conducts research and investigation, and reports on Human rights abuses against the Uyghurs. Its Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) has achieved significant accomplishments in revealing human rights abuses and political and religious persecution of the Uyghur people. UHRP’s main concerns range from the Chinese government’s political, economic, cultural policies toward the Uyghurs to religious persecution, political prisoners, and Uyghur refugees in foreign countries. Today, the UAA has developed members and offices in countries such as U.K., Canada, and Germany. It also works closely with many organizations around the world, especially with the World Uyghur Congress. Due to its presence in Washington DC, the center of world politics, UAA has been one of the key organizations in furthering the Uyghur cause. The prominent Uyghur business woman and political activist-Rabiye Kadeer’s release from the Chinese prison, for instance, is a result of UAA’s persistent effort in campaigning for her release throughout the world and its close cooperation with US Congress. Since 2004, the UAA has been awarded considerable amount of money by the National Endowment for Democracy for its contributions to Uyghur human rights issue and democracy. The leadership of UAA is characterized by US-educated young Uyghur intellectuals who are well aware of international affairs and diplomatic relations.

Interestingly enough, another Uyghur organization called East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) whose mission is to promote independence for East Turkistan has not been able to receive much substantial support from the Uyghur communities abroad. Although the majority of the Uyghurs support the idea of an independent East Turkistan, many activists do not appreciate ETGE’s approach to the Uyghur issue. Some believe the founding of ETGE without having a firm social, political and organizational structure is a hotheaded decision and impolitic confrontation with the Chinese authorities, which can only adversely affect the Uyghur cause. Due to the lack of public support and internal managerial problems, ETGE seems to be less dynamic and relatively isolated from other Uyghur organizations.

Other than above-mentioned three political organizations, there are nearly 50 non-political Uyghur information centers and websites in the US, Europe, Canada, U.K. Turkey, and Central Asia. The most well-known ones are Radio Free Asia (RFA) Uyghur Service and the East Turkistan Information Center (ETIC). The former is funded by the Congress of the United States, and the latter is established and run by the Uyghur Diaspora in Germany. RFA Uyghur Service reports various news related to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China’s domestic and international policies, and international affairs. With “Freedom, Independence and Democracy for East Turkistan” on its home page, the East Turkistan Information Center is dedicated to support East Turkistan independence and to expose human rights abuses in China. ETIC has the best collection of Uyghur history, culture, music, photos, articles and news. Its well-known World Uyghur Network News (WUNN) contains archives dating back to 1996, which mostly focuses on human rights, religion, Chinese politics, and daily global issues. The most striking part of ETIC is its media files which include Uyghur demonstrations, executions and torture of Uyghur prisoners, and the influence of nuclear test in Lop Nor on the health and daily life of the Uyghur people. Uyghur Voice Radio and TV of ETIC is another significant contribution for the promotion of Uyghur culture and expression of Uyghurs’ desire for an independent nation. ETIC’s is increasing influence and reputation is undeniable. Prestigious media and human rights organizations such as BBC and Amnesty International use ETIC’s documentations, and reports as references. Although it is still not as well-known as RFA Uyghur Service, ETIC’s effort and accomplishments for the Uyghur cause are far more significant and successful than any other Uyghur information centers in the world.

There are also some other Uyghur websites including bizuyghur.com, Uygurworld.com, meshrep.com, and ugyhur1.com, etc. Most of these websites serve to provide information on current issues related to the Uyghurs. Some of them offer message boards in Uyghur and English for the discussion on various issues that affect the Uyghurs. Unfortunately, the Uyghur people who live in China do not have access to these websites. The Chinese government’s monopoly not only over print and media, but also on the internet made it extremely hard for them to interact with the Uyghur Diaspora. Although some Uyghur websites such as <izdinix.com>, <kutluk.com> were establish in Xinjiang in recent years, the majority of them are informative websites focusing on Uyghur culture, music, literature and daily life. There is no sign of political or religious discussions, of course, for a good reason. The interaction between Uyghur websites in China and websites of Uyghur Diaspora is almost non-existent. The majority of the websites of the Uyghur Diaspora are intended to make the international community aware of the Uyghur situation. Although some of these websites are highly volatile and hardly interact with the Uyghurs in China, the significance of these websites is still far-reaching. They play an extremely important role in connecting the Uyghurs around the world, exchanging ideas, and disseminating information, thereby facilitating Uyghurs’ aspirations for the democratic change in their homeland.

It is very important to mention the name of Ms. Rabiye Kadeer, when one talks about the Uyghur Diaspora. Once the most successful woman with a multi-millions business in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Ms. Kadeer is a contemporary symbol of the Uyghurs' struggle for freedom. She was one of the most prominent advocates of women’s rights, basic education and equal rights of ethnic minorities in China, especially of the Uyghurs. Her increasingly active involvement in Uyghur human rights issues and her criticism of the mistreatment of the Uyghurs frightened the Chinese government, who was already over-sensitive to the Uyghur national movements. Ms. Kadeer was arrested by Chinese authorities in 1999 under the charge of “endangering national security” on her way to meet US congressional staff and was sentenced to 8 years’ prison. After her imprisonment, the Uyghur communities and organizations around the world made consistent efforts for her release by organizing various campaigns and demonstrations. In 2004, she received Rafto Memorial Prize, which serves to award exceptional individuals working for humanitarian ends, for her contributions toward Uyghur human rights. In March 2005, Ms. Kadeer was finally released from nearly six-year prison under the pressure of the US government and the members of Congress on the Chinese government. Immediately after arriving in Washington DC, she started her political activities in the US and Europe. In merely one year, Ms. Kadeer has traveled throughout 10 countries including England, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Luxemburg to voice the Uyghurs’ struggle for freedom, and to urge international support for this cause. She attended many human rights conferences and US Congress meetings to speak up against human rights abuses and lack of religious freedom in China - an action that Beijing resents. Late 2005, she established the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation (IUHRDF) in Washington DC to further her commitment to the Uyghur people. Due to her remarkable contributions on the human rights issue, she was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2006. Ms. Kadeer’s passion, resilience, and strong commitment have made her to be another important leader of the Uyghurs. She and her organization actively cooperate with WUC, UAA, the US Congress and other human rights organizations. She has played an important role in unifying formerly disparate Uyghur communities in the United States and Europe and inspiring them to work together for the better future of the Uyghur people. Under her active involvement, the Uyghur Diaspora and their political activities have achieved unprecedented success in promoting Uyghur cause.

Yet, many problems still exist with the Uyghur Diaspora. First of all, disunity and factionalism among Uyghur activists still remain wide-spread, which is the biggest barrier that Uyghur activists have at the moment. Uyghur activists differ in their demand for self-determination: some activists call for greater autonomy and democracy, while others require complete independence. Because of different missions and approaches to their political activities, the interaction and cooperation among the Uyghur activists are far from sufficient. The Uyghur organizations are unwilling to cooperate closely with one another even though they all strongly condemn the Chinese government for its human rights abuses, political, economic, cultural and social discriminations, and educational assimilation policy in their homeland. The commonality of fighting against Chinese oppression, which was supposed to be the strongest power that can unite all Uyghurs, unfortunately, has not effectively brought the Uyghurs Diaspora together. Second, there is no strong connection between the Uyghur Diaspora and the Uyghurs in China. Almost all Uyghur organizations in the US and Europe aim at exposing human rights violations and the lack of religious freedom in China. But they have made little effort, if any, to reconnect with the people who still live under Chinese rule. Of course, the Chinese government’s harsh crackdown of any political or religious activities as well as its severe control of information flow have made such effort almost useless. The Chinese government is determined to smother the Uyghur Diaspora by labeling them as “terrorists” and to deliberately isolate them from 8 million Uyghurs in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Regardless of these problems, the effort and achievements of the Uyghur Diaspora in promoting international awareness of the Uyghur situation is significant. As to how much influence and positive changes the Uyghur organizations and activists will bring to lives of the Uyghurs, who are still living in P.R.C., some Uyghur specialists and even Uyghurs themselves hold some negative perspectives. This paper would argue, however, it is a far more complex and long-lasting battle that can not be judged arbitrarily at his moment. The enemy the Uyghurs are fighting against is too strong and powerful to make a dramatic change in a short term. But one thing that can be ascertained is that Uyghur organizations and activists are increasingly well-organized, and heading toward an international trend. They are going through a revolutionary path, a path that the Uyghurs themselves have to go through in order to achieve their freedom.

Although the prospects for an independent East Turkistan still look slim at this moment, growing political activities and influence of the Uyghur Diaspora is alone an achievement worthy of acknowledgement and honor. With the emergence of new Uyghur leaders and the further development of Uyghur organizations and network around world, the Uyghurs’ aspiration for freedom will definitely receive more and more attention from the international community, which is only the first step in this long journey.

References:
www.uyghurcongress.org
www.uyghuramerican.org
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erkin_Alptekin
www.uygur.org

commentor
10-04-06, 20:38
Good analysis and summary; excellent writing skills.

I have a quick comment on two issues. First, the disunity among Uyghurs has more to do with personal relationships than different views on the direction of the Uyghur movement. Unfortunately, too many people mix up personal politics with the real politics of the Uyghur movement. That is where most of the disunity originates. I do not think any Uyghur organizations calls just for greater autonomy and democracy. It is a myth created by some people to use as a tool against individuals and orgizantions. Self determination, which most Uyghur organizations including UAA and WUC seek, is different from greater autonomy and democracy.

My second comment is about Erkin Alptekin. I have great respect for him, and all the positive things you said about him is true. However, one thing hindering him from capitalizing on his potential is his lack of decisiveness and over-sensitivity. Rabiya Kadir far excels in this respect, but she lacks the experience and knowledge of Erkin Altekin. One thing I don't understand is whether his cautiousness and sensitivity arises from his feelings that he does't understand his people well enough or just lack of self-confidence, which could result, I assume, from comparing himself to his father. Regardless, he has done a superb job, but many people know that he has the potential to deliver much more than that. He should learn to take criticism in strides and understand that he cannot please everybody if he wants to do it right. It is an unfortunate fact that there are too more people like to point their finger than offering their hand to their leaders and organizations.

Unregistered
10-04-06, 21:56
Just some personal observations. ONLY for constructive criticism.

THE UYGHUR DIASPORA

Due to harsh control of political activities in the P.R.C., and Washington’s labeling of ETIM as a terrorist organization at the insistence of Beijing, the Uyghur resistance within the P.R.C. became more underground, or it might have taken another form, silent confrontation, during the last few years. However, Uyghur movements, whether political, or purely cultural, have flourished in the US, Europe, Turkey, and Central Asian since the late 1990s. The Uyghur activists have established various organizations to promote their struggle for a better future of the Uyghur people and more international awareness of the Uyghur situation in P.R.C. In merely a few years, more than 15 Uyghur organizations were established in North America (the US, and Canada), Europe (Germany, England, Sweden, and Norway), Turkey, Australia, and Central Asia. Turkey and Central Asia once were the centers of Uyghur activists. The hub of the Uyghur network has shifted to the US and Germany since early 2000. There are several reasons for this shift. First, more and more Uyghur intellectuals came to the US and Europe to pursue higher education, which naturally turned the core of leadership to these western countries. Second, by late 1990s, especially after September 11, the Chinese government has been using its economic ties to request its neighboring countries to disband Uyghur organizations and to expatriate their members to China. This has caused extremely difficult situation for Uyghur activists to engage in political activities. Third, democratic and free countries like the US and Germany can provide more freedom and liberal environments for Uyghur activists to promote their cause.

The most important two organizations are the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) based in Munich, Germany and the Uyghur American Association (UAA) based in Washington DC, USA. The World Uyghur Congress is established in April 2004 when East Turkistan National Congress and World Uyghur Youth Congress decided to unite into one organization “to represent the highest interest of the Uyghur people in East Turkistan”. According to the WUC’s agenda, its main goal is “to promote democracy, human rights and religious freedom for the Uyghur people”. The leaders of the WUC have been consistently announcing a non-violent and peaceful opposition against the Chinese occupation of East Turkistan. Since its founding, the WUC has made considerable effort by working with various concerned governments and human rights organizations to make aware of the political, socioeconomic, and religious issues facing the Uyghurs in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region. WUC plays a key role in uniting Uyghur organizations and activists, as well as promoting the international awareness of Uyghur situation. The president of WUC, Mr. Erkin Alptekin, is the most well-known and respected leader of the Uyghurs in exile. He is the son of Isa Yusuf Alptekin, who was one of the famous leaders of the short-lived East Turkistan Republic in 1940s. After the Chinese occupation of the East Turkistan Republic in 1949, he followed his parents to flee to India and finally settled down in Istanbul, Turkey. Later, he joined Radio Free Europe/Liberty in Munich, Germany, and worked there for most of his life. Mr. Alptekin has spent his whole life lobbying for Uyghur people. In early 1990s, he established the Eastern Turkistan Union in Europe (ETUE), in Munich, with the support of his Uyghur countrymen. He is one of the founders of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), which represents approximately 150 million stateless people in the world. He also has important positions in several international organizations in Asia, Europe and the United States. For the last 40 years, he has attended many international conferences to give speeches about the Uyghurs’ plight, and to draw attention as well as support from international communities to the Uyghur issue. He is a new leader and greatest hope for the Uyghur people. He is believed to unite the Uyghurs both inside and outside the country that the Uyghurs call East Turkistan. Due to his extensive international experience and respected position, many believe Mr. Alptekin is the best candidate to be the Uyghurs’ Dalai Lama who will eventually unify the Uyghurs and promote Uyghur issue on behalf of the Uyghurs throughout the world. Like Dalai Lama, Mr. Alptekin insisted a non-violent resistance as a basic principle of the WUC’s political activities. Under his leadership, the WUC has achieved great accomplishments in promoting the Uyghur issue that none of other Uyghur organizations have ever done before.

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) was established in Washington DC in 1998. Its mission is “to promote the preservation of Uyghur culture, and to support the right of the Uyghur people to use peaceful, democratic means to determine their own political future.” It is the only Uyghur political organization that conducts research and investigation, and reports on Human rights abuses against the Uyghurs. Its Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) has achieved significant accomplishments in revealing human rights abuses and political and religious persecution of the Uyghur people. UHRP’s main concerns range from the Chinese government’s political, economic, cultural policies toward the Uyghurs to religious persecution, political prisoners, and Uyghur refugees in foreign countries. Today, the UAA has developed members and offices in countries such as U.K., Canada, and Germany. It also works closely with many organizations around the world, especially with the World Uyghur Congress. Due to its presence in Washington DC, the center of world politics, UAA has been one of the key organizations in furthering the Uyghur cause. The prominent Uyghur business woman and political activist-Rabiye Kadeer’s release from the Chinese prison, for instance, is a result of UAA’s persistent effort in campaigning for her release throughout the world and its close cooperation with US Congress. Since 2004, the UAA has been awarded considerable amount of money by the National Endowment for Democracy for its contributions to Uyghur human rights issue and democracy. The leadership of UAA is characterized by US-educated young Uyghur intellectuals who are well aware of international affairs and diplomatic relations.

Interestingly enough, another Uyghur organization called East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) whose mission is to promote independence for East Turkistan has not been able to receive much substantial support from the Uyghur communities abroad. Although the majority of the Uyghurs support the idea of an independent East Turkistan, many activists do not appreciate ETGE’s approach to the Uyghur issue. Some believe the founding of ETGE without having a firm social, political and organizational structure is a hotheaded decision and impolitic confrontation with the Chinese authorities, which can only adversely affect the Uyghur cause. Due to the lack of public support and internal managerial problems, ETGE seems to be less dynamic and relatively isolated from other Uyghur organizations.

Other than above-mentioned three political organizations, there are nearly 50 non-political Uyghur information centers and websites in the US, Europe, Canada, U.K. Turkey, and Central Asia. The most well-known ones are Radio Free Asia (RFA) Uyghur Service and the East Turkistan Information Center (ETIC). The former is funded by the Congress of the United States, and the latter is established and run by the Uyghur Diaspora in Germany. RFA Uyghur Service reports various news related to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China’s domestic and international policies, and international affairs. With “Freedom, Independence and Democracy for East Turkistan” on its home page, the East Turkistan Information Center is dedicated to support East Turkistan independence and to expose human rights abuses in China. ETIC has the best collection of Uyghur history, culture, music, photos, articles and news. Its well-known World Uyghur Network News (WUNN) contains archives dating back to 1996, which mostly focuses on human rights, religion, Chinese politics, and daily global issues. The most striking part of ETIC is its media files which include Uyghur demonstrations, executions and torture of Uyghur prisoners, and the influence of nuclear test in Lop Nor on the health and daily life of the Uyghur people. Uyghur Voice Radio and TV of ETIC is another significant contribution for the promotion of Uyghur culture and expression of Uyghurs’ desire for an independent nation. ETIC’s is increasing influence and reputation is undeniable. Prestigious media and human rights organizations such as BBC and Amnesty International use ETIC’s documentations, and reports as references. Although it is still not as well-known as RFA Uyghur Service, ETIC’s effort and accomplishments for the Uyghur cause are far more significant and successful than any other Uyghur information centers in the world.

There are also some other Uyghur websites including bizuyghur.com, Uygurworld.com, meshrep.com, and ugyhur1.com, etc. Most of these websites serve to provide information on current issues related to the Uyghurs. Some of them offer message boards in Uyghur and English for the discussion on various issues that affect the Uyghurs. Unfortunately, the Uyghur people who live in China do not have access to these websites. The Chinese government’s monopoly not only over print and media, but also on the internet made it extremely hard for them to interact with the Uyghur Diaspora. Although some Uyghur websites such as <izdinix.com>, <kutluk.com> were establish in Xinjiang in recent years, the majority of them are informative websites focusing on Uyghur culture, music, literature and daily life. There is no sign of political or religious discussions, of course, for a good reason. The interaction between Uyghur websites in China and websites of Uyghur Diaspora is almost non-existent. The majority of the websites of the Uyghur Diaspora are intended to make the international community aware of the Uyghur situation. Although some of these websites are highly volatile and hardly interact with the Uyghurs in China, the significance of these websites is still far-reaching. They play an extremely important role in connecting the Uyghurs around the world, exchanging ideas, and disseminating information, thereby facilitating Uyghurs’ aspirations for the democratic change in their homeland.

It is very important to mention the name of Ms. Rabiye Kadeer, when one talks about the Uyghur Diaspora. Once the most successful woman with a multi-millions business in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Ms. Kadeer is a contemporary symbol of the Uyghurs' struggle for freedom. She was one of the most prominent advocates of women’s rights, basic education and equal rights of ethnic minorities in China, especially of the Uyghurs. Her increasingly active involvement in Uyghur human rights issues and her criticism of the mistreatment of the Uyghurs frightened the Chinese government, who was already over-sensitive to the Uyghur national movements. Ms. Kadeer was arrested by Chinese authorities in 1999 under the charge of “endangering national security” on her way to meet US congressional staff and was sentenced to 8 years’ prison. After her imprisonment, the Uyghur communities and organizations around the world made consistent efforts for her release by organizing various campaigns and demonstrations. In 2004, she received Rafto Memorial Prize, which serves to award exceptional individuals working for humanitarian ends, for her contributions toward Uyghur human rights. In March 2005, Ms. Kadeer was finally released from nearly six-year prison under the pressure of the US government and the members of Congress on the Chinese government. Immediately after arriving in Washington DC, she started her political activities in the US and Europe. In merely one year, Ms. Kadeer has traveled throughout 10 countries including England, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Luxemburg to voice the Uyghurs’ struggle for freedom, and to urge international support for this cause. She attended many human rights conferences and US Congress meetings to speak up against human rights abuses and lack of religious freedom in China - an action that Beijing resents. Late 2005, she established the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation (IUHRDF) in Washington DC to further her commitment to the Uyghur people. Due to her remarkable contributions on the human rights issue, she was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2006. Ms. Kadeer’s passion, resilience, and strong commitment have made her to be another important leader of the Uyghurs. She and her organization actively cooperate with WUC, UAA, the US Congress and other human rights organizations. She has played an important role in unifying formerly disparate Uyghur communities in the United States and Europe and inspiring them to work together for the better future of the Uyghur people. Under her active involvement, the Uyghur Diaspora and their political activities have achieved unprecedented success in promoting Uyghur cause.

Yet, many problems still exist with the Uyghur Diaspora. First of all, disunity and factionalism among Uyghur activists still remain wide-spread, which is the biggest barrier that Uyghur activists have at the moment. Uyghur activists differ in their demand for self-determination: some activists call for greater autonomy and democracy, while others require complete independence. Because of different missions and approaches to their political activities, the interaction and cooperation among the Uyghur activists are far from sufficient. The Uyghur organizations are unwilling to cooperate closely with one another even though they all strongly condemn the Chinese government for its human rights abuses, political, economic, cultural and social discriminations, and educational assimilation policy in their homeland. The commonality of fighting against Chinese oppression, which was supposed to be the strongest power that can unite all Uyghurs, unfortunately, has not effectively brought the Uyghurs Diaspora together. Second, there is no strong connection between the Uyghur Diaspora and the Uyghurs in China. Almost all Uyghur organizations in the US and Europe aim at exposing human rights violations and the lack of religious freedom in China. But they have made little effort, if any, to reconnect with the people who still live under Chinese rule. Of course, the Chinese government’s harsh crackdown of any political or religious activities as well as its severe control of information flow have made such effort almost useless. The Chinese government is determined to smother the Uyghur Diaspora by labeling them as “terrorists” and to deliberately isolate them from 8 million Uyghurs in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Regardless of these problems, the effort and achievements of the Uyghur Diaspora in promoting international awareness of the Uyghur situation is significant. As to how much influence and positive changes the Uyghur organizations and activists will bring to lives of the Uyghurs, who are still living in P.R.C., some Uyghur specialists and even Uyghurs themselves hold some negative perspectives. This paper would argue, however, it is a far more complex and long-lasting battle that can not be judged arbitrarily at his moment. The enemy the Uyghurs are fighting against is too strong and powerful to make a dramatic change in a short term. But one thing that can be ascertained is that Uyghur organizations and activists are increasingly well-organized, and heading toward an international trend. They are going through a revolutionary path, a path that the Uyghurs themselves have to go through in order to achieve their freedom.

Although the prospects for an independent East Turkistan still look slim at this moment, growing political activities and influence of the Uyghur Diaspora is alone an achievement worthy of acknowledgement and honor. With the emergence of new Uyghur leaders and the further development of Uyghur organizations and network around world, the Uyghurs’ aspiration for freedom will definitely receive more and more attention from the international community, which is only the first step in this long journey.

References:
www.uyghurcongress.org
www.uyghuramerican.org
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erkin_Alptekin
www.uygur.org


Very well done! In terms of media, I wish Radio Free Asia could do more. Currently, it is doing a great job. However, it is not sharp and aggressive enough. When the reporters interview the government officials, they must prepare well and ask things in depth. They must push and try to get as much information as they can. Be aggressive and sharp! The reporters have nothing to lose. If they do, they only lose the officials they interview. It is okay if they are not being aggressive with the common Uyghur people because they(the common people) need to be protected and the reporters are doing a good job in that respect.

In terms of unity and common goal, the leaders of the Uyghur organization should establish a common goal. As an Uyghur, like the rest, I want us to be liberated because "greator autonomy" will not be achieved under the Chinese because the history proved it. In my opinion, people need for autonomy they voluntarily fall into other nation's hands and they have no trust of take care of themselves. On the contrary, the Uyghurs were forcefully colonized by the Chinese and the Uyghur people are far more capable enough to re-run their own country with great power and respect like in the past. Therefore, the leaders of the Uyghur people must establish a common vision then work towards the vision. Different visions and goals confuse people.

In terms of connecting with the Uyghur people, the Uyghurs overseas must find a way to stay connect. The Uyghurs at home play very important role and they are the key of the Uyghur revolution.

Unregistered
11-04-06, 10:00
Yes, your conclusion is right. Mr. Alptekin is undisputable Leader and excellent candidate to not only bring all Uyghur diaspora hold together at the same time to keep the cause on right direction without any hassel.
welknown is some times not necessarily everything.
experience and vision is the matter.