Press Release: ETNAM Announces Demonstration in Condemnation of People’s Republic of China’s Crimes Against Humanity (1/25/2019)
Date: Friday, January 25, 2019
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has a well-documented record of discrimination and abuse against numerous ethnic and religious groups. This includes the various Turkic Muslim peoples of East Turkistan, who have experienced decades of policies restricting their traditional way of life and erecting barriers to their successful participation in the economic development of their homeland. For nearly 70 years, people of East Turkistan—the name given to the territory by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Xinjiang, literally means “new frontier,” an uncharacteristic admission of the weakness of China’s claim to the territory—have known little beyond religious suppression, the systematic dismantling of their cultural institutions, and a cynical demographic assault aimed at displacing the native population with millions of Han Chinese. Recently, however, the situation in East Turkistan has taken a dark turn. As thousands of the largely Uyghur, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz peoples who call East Turkistan home were disappearing, reports began to surface of the construction of hundreds or even thousands of prison camps throughout the region. As journalists, human rights organizations, and UN diplomats uncovered more evidence of events in the region, the truth of what they were witnessing became impossible to deny: here was the 21st century gulag, a sprawling, purpose-built concentration camp system into which the CCP has thrown as many as 3 million East Turkistani Muslims. China strictly controls information flowing into and out from East Turkistan, but those with knowledge of conditions in the camps report the systematic use of torture and forced labor and families who have been ripped apart are told nothing of their loved ones’ whereabouts or well-being.
And make no mistake that this is just another in the litany of unfortunate indignities suffered by members of numerous vulnerable communities throughout the PRC. Taken separately, the restrictions on religious freedom and cultural practices, and arbitrary and unexplained detentions of huge numbers of East Turkistanis each represents a gross violation of their human rights, but together, this can be nothing but a systematic and calculated cultural genocide aimed at erasing all traces of the great civilization that once flourished in this strategic crossroads. East Turkistanis face a bleak choice: reject their ancestral language, religion, customs and familial ties or be erased.
China’s response to the allegations does little to inspire confidence: categorical denials evolved into vague encomiums to “job training” and “countering extremism” as evidence of their crimes continued to mount.
The very flimsiness of China’s deflections belies the deep cynicism underlying their apparent endgame in East Turkistan. In the end, it matters little whether anyone is convinced by China’s ad hoc apologia or not. China’s token obfuscations buy them all the time they need to complete what was always the main sleight-of-hand: erasing the history of this vast, resource-rich and strategically situated land, freeing them to engineer the self-serving fiction of “Xinjiang.”
It is the duty of all Americans who cherish their freedom and take pride in our progress in fighting discrimination and injustice to expose the truth of China’s genocidal campaign against East Turkistan’s original Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Tatar, and other largely Muslim inhabitants. We must support efforts to bring first-hand accounts of the camps, detentions, dislocations and other crimes being perpetrated against East Turkistanis. The stakes are enormous for China and justify the CCP’s stranglehold on information-flows throughout the region. To raise awareness and support calls for action, ETNAM joins with concerned Americans in organizing a demonstration this Friday, January 25th beginning at 7 p.m. in front of the Kennedy Center (2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566) to coincide with the premier concert performance of state orchestra of the People’s Republic of China at the storied venue.
ETNAM joins our allies and calls on the U.S. Government to TAKE ACTION, through sanctions and other means, to STOP China’s crimes against humanity in occupied East Turkistan and we ask you to join our call.
It will be a cold night, and this may impact turnout. As such, each person who shows up and personally registers their outrage adds tremendous weight to our message and sends a signal to the world that such crimes are unacceptable everywhere and will never go unpunished. We will hold a candlelight vigil featuring speakers directly impacted by this atrocity and with personal stories to share, and offer interfaith prayers for all who wish to join us. Together we can foil their effort to dazzle the great center of representative government and the rule of law while they sweep their East Turkistan problem under the rug.
Lastly, we call on all people of good faith and good will all over the world to engage in a peaceful “information war” against the government of the People’s Republic of China by supporting efforts to bring uncensored information out of occupied East Turkistan and educating others about the systematic abuse human rights crimes being perpetrated against the people of China, occupied East Turkistan, Tibet, and South Mongolia’s oppressed people.
Notes for attendees: