Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 2 No. 1

Published by Eastern Turkestan Union in Europe

Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 2 No. 1 (January 1992)

After the 1949 occupation of Eastern Turkestan the Chinese Communists pursued a policy of systematically assimilating the Turkic peoples of this country. This assimilation policy can clearly be seen in the cultural, socio-economic and religious measures carried out by the Chinese Communists in Eastern Turkestan.
The official Chinese Communist daily, Xinjiang Ribao, wrote on 14 December 1960:
"In the Peoples Republic of China, the Chinese share of population is 94 per cent. We are for the fusion of the peoples in China. We have to increase the number of marriages between Chinese and minority nationalities. Nobody should try to prevent this. In any case nobody will be able to prevent this process".

Under the pretext of "cultural reform" the Chinese Communists eliminated the traditional Arabic script which the Turkic peoples of Eastern Turkestan had been using for almost one thousand years. Instead, a Latin alphabet was adopted to suit the Chinese phonology. Further steps were taken to introduce Chinese words and expressions. In Urumchi alone some 370 thousand books written in the Arabic script, including the Holy Koran, Hadith and other valuable works, were destroyed as "remnants of the past." Using the pretext of "socio-economic reform", the Chinese Communists drove 96.6 per cent of the Turkic peoples into 30 thousand communes where they were treated as herds of animals in order to destroy the traditional family bonds held sacred by the Turkic peoples of Eastern Turkestan.
The Chinese Communists' campaign against Islam was particularly severe. It started with "land reform" consisting of the confiscation of waqif lands and properties in an attempt to cut off the financial resources of Islam forcing it to cease all religious activities. After confiscating the waqif property, the Chinese Communists attempted to politicize the Turkic peoples by ordering that Mao Zedong's portrait be hung in mosques and by assigning Communist cadres to propagate Communism during religious services. As most mosques in Eastern Turkestan operated primary schools the Communists used the slogan "unification of national education" to shut down all mosque schools and transferred Turkic children to newly created primary schools were Marxism, Leninism and Maoism were taught. Claiming that attendance at mosques and Islamic gatherings and Koran recitations "hindered production" the Chinese Communists prohibited the Turkic peoples of Eastern Turkestan from fulfilling their religious duties. Throughout Eastern Turkestan more than 29 thousand mosques were closed and more than 54 thousand Imams (priests) were arrested, tortured or pressed into forced labor.
Between 1950 and 1972 some 360 thousand Turkic people were executed for trying to defend their dignity, uphold their culture and preserve their national identity. More than 200 thousand fled to neighboring countries. More than 500 thousand were driven into the 29 hard-labor camps in Eastern Turkestan.
The Chinese leaders who took over after the death of Mao Zedong felt the need to admit to some of the injustices committed against the Turkic peoples of Eastern Turkestan.
Rinmin Ribao, for instance, wrote on October 20, 1978:
"...Minority nations have been kept in a very backward economic state. The rulers tried to exterminate their culture. Some of the minority peoples have been forced to burn their dead and conceal the ashes, eat pork and keep pigs against their will. We now have the obligation to help them attain a higher standard of living and to activate their culture..."
The Chinese Communists who came to "liberate" Eastern Turkestan did nothing between 1949 and 1978 to benefit the Turkic peoples of Eastern Turkestan.
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With the collapse of the Soviet Union Uygurs living in Western Turkestan, who had in the past been used by Moscow as a tool in the Sino-Soviet conflict, have begun to unite their efforts in order to establish a common front. Delegations have been sent simultaneously to the Middle East, Europe and the United States to contact the Uygurs living in these countries.
In this connection an Uygur delegation from Western Turkestan has visited Isa Yusuf Alptekin, the leader of Eastern Turkestanis, living in Turkey.
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China feels the Chill
The Far Eastern Economic Review described Chinese official and diplomatic reaction to recent developments in the Turkic world: developments in Western and Eastern Turkestan, writes the following:
"...The newly freed Central Asian republics abut China's oil-rich western most province of Xinjiang... Nearly half of Xinjiang's population is of Turkic extraction. Before the Communists took over China, Xinjiang was the semi-autonomous state of Eastern Turkestan.
"It is no coincidence that, in the immediate aftermath of last August's aborted Moscow coup, Chinese Vice-President Wang Zhen chose a military inspection tour of Xinjiang as the approporiate forum to exhort the nation to 'form a steel wall to safe -guard socialism and the unification of the motherland.'
"A Peking-based East European diplomat, whose country includes a Turkic minority of its own, admits that he has conferred with Chinese officials about their mutual concern over resurgent Pan-Turkic sentiment. Isa Yusuf Alptekin, the former head of Eastern Turkestan, now 90, still holds forth in Istanbul, he notes. To mollify two of its more strident Muslim neighbors, China sent president Yang Shangkun on a high-profile diplomatic swing through Pakistan and Iran in August."

Independence Movement Could Spread Into Eastern Turkestan
An article by Colina Macdougal in The Finncil Times analyzed Chinese fears of nationalist spillover from the new Central Asian republics:

"...While others praised the former Soviet President Michael Gorbachov's courage and statesmanship, the Chinese news agency Xinhua bitterly attacked him for abandoning socialism and fomenting political chaos, ethnic strife and economic crises...
"...The collapse of the Soviet Union also presages territorial anxieties for China. Beijing now shares a frontier with the Russian federation, under Boris Yeltsin, whom it fears as an unpredictable reformer. Jiang Zemin, China's party leader, refused to see him when in Moscow last July.
"Its other formerly Soviet neigbors, the Asian Republics of Kazakhistan,Kirghizia and Tadjikistan, border the highly sensitive western region of Xinjiang where the population includes 6.6 million Uighurs, many Kazakhs, Kirghiz and Tadjiks. All these could potentially trouble Beijing if inspired by nationalism from across the border..."

Agony of Chinese Muslims
Nuray Bamanie, in a special article to The Saudi Gzette of Jeddah, gave a detailed background to the situation in Eastern Turkestan and then summed up:

"...The Chinese Muslims today have not been permitted to develop consciously as their counterparts in the Soviet Union. The Chinese have been more vigorous in their control of this minority through education, economy and cultural programs all organized by the Communist Party. Clamp-downs and purges by the police ensure that they never call for nationalism and demand independence...
"...With the Soviet Union cleaning up its image by giving freedom, China needs to realize that tolerance, and freedoms lead to stability and security that any nation longs for.
"The Muslim national minority in China is ethnically, culturally and religiously different from the Chinese but want to be represented equally as the Chinese and to rule their territory because they are a people with similar aspirations for land and dignity.
"If China goes on treating its minorities considering the ethnic Chinese as a superior people who know what is the best for everybody, it would lose the Muslims as allies in time of need. By recognizing the needs of Muslims and treating them as equals, China can remove the cause of resentment against the Chinese and internationally Beijing will gain respectability and not be condemned for human rights abuse".
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Deputy Chairman of the Eastern Turkestan Regional People's Government, Keyum Bawudin (Bahauddin), speaking on Urumchi television, urged the region's Turkic peoples to improve inter-ethnic unity and national defense. The Chinese view with alarm the possibility of Turkics peoples on both sides of the border making common cause.
\ "Xinjiang, as the northwest gateway of the motherland, is very important in terms of its strategic position," Bawudin said. "Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen education in national defense among all ethnic groups in the region, to enhance solidarity between the army and the people, and to increase inter-ethnic unity."
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China has recently moved tens of thousands of Chinese settlers to areas along Western Turkestan's border with Eastern Turkestan where security measures have been heightened since disintegration of the USSR.
Those moved were largely from the heavily populated provinces of East and Central China which were seriously affected by floods last summer.
During the next few years several million Chinese will be transferred to Eastern Turkestan to relieve problems caused by vast surplus of rural labour in many of China's richer provinces.
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In a bid to curb the growth of independent movements fuelled by the disintegration of the Soviet Union China has decided to execute a group of Eastern Turkestani independence activist who are accused of killing eight Chinese policemen in an anti-Chinese uprising in Eastern Turkestan on April 5, 1990.
The uprising, which was never confirmed by the Chinese, took place in Baren township in Aktu county near the city of Kashgar. Almost 200 thousand "antiriot squad" special forces from Lanzhou Military District were dispatched to crush the uprising. Witnesses said casualties on each side, the military and armed police on one side and Turkic people on the other, numbered hundreds. According to a witness almost one thousand Turkic people and 600 soldiers and armed policemen died during the clashes. The Chinese used tanks and fighters to bomb the area. Nine townships were totally destroyed and ten thousand Turkic people were arrested.
Eastern Turkestan's regional government had been told to pass death sentences on key offenders responsible for the uprising and to serve harsh penalties, up to life imprisonment, on their accomplices.
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China is asking Arab nations for financial help in developing its huge impoverished regions inhabited by Muslims, the official China Daily said.
Beijing's new China Nationalities International Trust and Investment Corporation (CNITIC), staffed largely by Muslims, will take advantage of "religious links" to channel Arab investment into remote regions in China's far west, the newspaper said.
The government-run agency, which was set up last month, was already negotiating financial projects with several Arab countries in the MiddleEast, CNITIC President Ibrahim Mamozong told the newspaper.
CNITIC would absorb both domestic and foreign capital in the form of deposits and would emphasize industrial and technological investment in minority areas, Mamaozong said.
The new company is backed by the state commission of nationality affairs and the People's Bank of China, the newspaper said.
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Trade between Eastern Turkestan and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) through the first nine months of 1991 was four times as high as the total during the preceeding four years.
Trade worth 290 million dollars between Eastern Turkestan and the CIS was completed between January and September, quadrupling total trade from 1987-90.
Foreign trade from Eastern Turkestan is largely accounted for by the agricultural sector, which has contracts to sell 13,000 tonnes of meat, 150,000 tonnes of sugar and 70,000 tonnes of corn.
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The national Party newspaper work meeting of the five autonomous regions was held in Urumchi.
Responsible persons of Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Ningxia, Tibet and Eastern Turkestan attended the meeting as well as those responsible for provincial newspapers in Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Hunan, Qinghai attended the meeting.
Responsible persons called the newspapers to "Adhere to the Party Principles, Give Prominence to Special Characteristics of Nationalities, Spare No Efforts To Do A Good Job in the Party Newspaper Work" during their speeches.
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During a regional forum on judicial, procuratorial, and public security matters in Urumchi, Hamidin Niyaz, Deputy Secretery of the Regional Party Committee and secretary of the Political and Legal Commission said: "In our struggle against our enemies and in maintaining public security, at present and well into the future, we face a complicated situation in which international imperialism and peaceful evolution work in concert with the bourgeois liberalization ideological trend in the country, hostile forces within and outside Xinjiang collaborate with each other, counterrevolutionary sabotage mingles with criminal and economic offenses, and crimes within and without the country penetrate and interact with each other. To cope with this situation, we must be mentally prepared and never lower our guard".
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In his preface entitiled "Acquiring a Scientific World Outlook to The Educational Textbook on Atheism" Tomur Dawamet, chairman of the Eastern Turkestan Regional People's Government, writes the following:
"The Educationl Textbook on Atheism, which was planned and compiled by the Xinjiang Academy of Science and published by the Xinjiang Young People's Publishing House, has been published for the various nationalities in Xinjiang, especially the great masses of young readers. This is something of value for ideological work in our autonomous region. As we all know, disbelief and belief in the existence of God are philosophical and religious theories dwelling on general views concerning the universe and the world.
"Xinjiang is a region where many religions have coexisted since time immemorial. Even now there are eight popular religions in Xinjiang. Before Xinjiang's liberation, Islam was the religious belief of the Uygur, Hui, Kazak, Kirgiz, Tajik and Tatar nationalities. The eight religions have produced far reaching and profound effects on those nationalities who believe in them and have pervaded their economics, politics, culture, and other fields.
"As a whole, religions played a major negative role in the long years of feudal society and in the 100-plus years of semifeudal and semicolonial society in old China, because religions were controlled and used by the ruling class. Since liberation, Xinjiang's religious situation, like that in other areas of the country, has undergone a fundamental change following profound and important reforms in economic and religious systems.
"Nevertheless, the problem of religion will exist within a certain scope for a long time. Religion, a kind of ideology left over from the old society, cannot be thoroughly eliminated in a short period of time. Athough China has eliminated the exploiting classes, it still has to go through a long struggle to eliminate religions..."
Another publication, The Torch of Life (Chinese-language collection), a collection of poems with its title inscribed by Jiang Zemin, General Secretery of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, has been officially published and distributed. The author of the collection is Tomur Dawamet.
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The number of head of livestock in Eastern Turkestan has increased to 35.4 million despite a serious natural disaster in 1991. This is 440,000 higher han the number of animals last year. Eastern Turkestan is the second largest animal breeding area in China after Inner Mongolia.
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Eastern Turkestan's long staple cotton per hectare production has reached new stage in 1991 with a record high of 2,363.85 kilograms per hectare. This was achieved by the Aral breeding farm located on the upper reaches of the Tarim River. The Aral farm, the largest production area oflong-fibre cotton in the country, also produced record yields last year.
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Another three oil fields have been discovered in Eastern Turkestan this year, bringing the total deposits of oil in the area to more than 100 million tons. The new fields are located along the Turpan-Hami Basin where three other fields were found in 1989-90. The new finds are expected to give the fields a capacity more than double the present annual output of 200,000 tons. They bring the total deposits of oil in the area to more than 100 million tons.
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Eastern Turkestan Information is published by The Eastern Turkestan Cultural and Social Association (ETCSA), established January 11, 1991 in Munich, Germany. It is intended to offer information on the current situation in Eastern Turkestan, its people, culture and civilization, as well as provide an objective forum for discussion on a wide range of topics and complex issues. We welcome contributions of news items, features, comments and letters to the editor. We cannot guarantee publication of all submissions; however, we will do our best to accommodate as many as possible. All submissions will be subject to editing for purposes of clarity and propriety. ETI does not accept responsibility for the views expressed in signed articles that appear in its pages. Full acknowledgment should be given to all material quoted from or based on this publication.

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Last updated 06/29/99