National Independence

ETNAM firmly believes that without restoring East Turkistan’s national independence, we cannot truly preserve the existence of the East Turkistan and its people, let alone safeguard their basic human rights and religious freedoms. Thus, ETNAM is fully committed to peacefully struggling to restore East Turkistan’s independence, whilst adhering to the principles of non-violence.

Over 20,000 people (including 7,000 troops) gathered along the Tumen River in Kashgar, East Turkistan to witness the Declaration of Independence and the formation of the East Turkistan Republic on November 12, 1933.

UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples

  1. The subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and co-operation.
  2. All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
  3. Inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence.
  4. All armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependent peoples shall cease in order to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence, and the integrity of their national territory shall be respected.
  5. Immediate steps shall be taken, in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories or all other territories which have not yet attained independence, to transfer all powers to the peoples of those territories, without any conditions or reservations, in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire, without any distinction as to race, creed or color, in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom.

Invaded by Communist Chinese forces in 1949, the once sovereign and independent country of East Turkistan was invaded, its government overthrown, and its people subjugated. Untold numbers died. As the Chinese occupation of East Turkistan progressed, universal freedoms began to disappear.

Fast forward some seventy years and the people of East Turkistan, especially the Uyghurs, have been unjustly labeled as enemies of the Chinese state and the Chinese people. The fate of East Turkistan’s unique national identity, ethnocultural identity, and religious identity is seriously threatened by the Chinese government, and key aspects of this overarching identity – including the Uyghur language – face extinction if current trends continue.

China’s policy of occupation and oppression has resulted in no more or less than the destruction of East Turkistan’s national independence, culture and religion, environment, and the universal rights of its people. Time and time again, infliction of this destruction sees China break international laws with impunity.

• With a history spanning back some 6,000 years, according to some scholars, East Turkistan’s people existed with a distinct and separate culture long before Chinese invasion and occupation. In fact, if authoritative Uyghur scholars are to be believed, Uyghur culture may well pre-date Han Chinese civilization. But having no representation in the United Nations, the world largely stood by and allowed China’s occupation and destruction to happen.
• Chinese archival documents and traditional dynastic histories, including those pertaining to periods of Manchu and Mongol rule, never refer to East Turkistan as “an integral part” of China.
• Several countries, including Mongolia, British India, Ottoman Empire, Kingdom of Afghanistan, Tibet, Czarist Russia, Soviet Russia, and Imperial Japan recognized East Turkistan as an independent nation or dealt with East Turkistan independently of any Chinese Government.
• The people of East Turkistan declared independence twice as the East Turkistan Republic (1933 -1934 and 1944-1949) in the 20th Century, with the latter being overthrown by the People’s Republic of China.
• At the time of Chinese occupation, East Turkistan possessed all the attributes of statehood under international law, including a defined territory and population, an independent government, and the ability to conduct domestic affairs and independent international relations.
• The East Turkistan National Army was incorporated into the People’s Liberation Army’s 5th Army Corps on December 22, 1949, thus officially ending the statehood of the East Turkistan Republic.
• In 1952 the People’s Republic of China began its campaign of purging all intellectuals, scholars, and leaders in connection with the former East Turkistan Republic.
• The Chinese Communist authorities established the Bingtuan (Paramilitary Production and Construction Corps) in 1954 to colonize East Turkistan using the forced labor of East Turkistan’s people.
• Misled during their negotiations with the People’s Republic of China, the representatives of the East Turkistan Republic earnestly believed the Communists’ promises that the PRC would help develop East Turkistan and then leave within 3 to 5 years.
• In 1955, the People’s Republic of China officially designated East Turkistan as the “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
• In the 1959 the US Congress passed a law stating that is the policy of the United States to oppose aggression and other illegal uses of force by one country against the sovereignty of another as a manner of acquiring territory, and to condemn violation of international law, including the illegal occupation of one country by another. A Joint Resolution (U.S. Public Law 86-90) included Turkestan (which would include East Turkistan), Tibet, and mainland China in the list of Captive Nations which had lost their national independence due to Soviet Russia’s imperialistic policies.