Uighur Muslims Around the World Protest China’s Aggressive Security Crackdown


March 16, 2018

(BEIJING) — Members of the Uighur Muslim ethnic group held demonstrations in cities around the world to protest a sweeping Chinese surveillance and security campaign that has sent thousands of their people into detention and political indoctrination centers.

Overseas Uighur activists said they planned demonstrations Thursday in 14 countries in total, including the U.S., Australia and Turkey.

More than a hundred Uighur protesters gathered at a plaza near the United Nations in New York to call on the body to protect their culture against Chinese government efforts to assimilate the Turkic-speaking people. Elsewhere, hundreds of Uighur women on Istanbul’s Istiklal Street and in front of Sydney Town Hall chanted and waved blue flags, the separatist symbol for a proposed independent state called East Turkistan.

China has rolled out one of the world’s most aggressive policing programs in the Uighurs’ homeland of Xinjiang, a vast region in the country’s northwest. Chinese officials say the crackdown is necessary to stamp out a decades-long separatist movement and, more recently, Islamic extremism seeping into the region. Hundreds have died in violent clashes in recent years that the government blames on separatist militants.

Growing resentment against authorities in China, and the call of Islamist Uighur militant groups, has also attracted thousands of Uighurs to travel to Syria in recent years. But Uighur activists and international rights groups say the far-reaching security campaign, which has accelerated markedly since 2016, exacerbates tensions and unfairly targets the entire Uighur population of more than 10 million.


“The Chinese government is using the war against terrorism very effectively, using that to portray the Uighur as a terrorist,” said Rushan Abbas, the organizer of the New York protest who showed up with her children. “In actuality, the Chinese government is the one who’s acting the terrorist against the Uighur.”

Many overseas Uighurs say that their relatives in China have been sent to an extrajudicial network of political indoctrination centers for months at a time without formal charges or for reasons unrelated to separatist activity — such as communicating with relatives abroad.

“Can you imagine a place where millions are taken into camps without the involvement of courts?” said Seyit Tumturk, who helped organize the Istanbul rally.

Read more: Xinjiang: Images of Uighur Life in Kashgar


About Republic Of East Turkistan
Official Website of Eastturkistan Republic

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