Now Is the Moment for Global Solidarity with China’s Ethnic Minorities
President Xi Jinping wants to be leader for life, but brave Chinese citizens continue to speak out against the increasingly authoritarian rule. We must stand with them. DEENA GUZDER October 6, 2022 President Xi Jinping is on the verge of securing an unprecedented third term as the leader of the world’s most populous country, the People’s Republic of China. On October 16th, the Communist Party...comments 0
Between Islamophobia and homophobia: Life as an LGBTQ Uyghur in China
I had a friend who was a medical doctor. He was gay and he was Uyghur, like me. We knew he was HIV positive about a year ago, but he never took any antiviral drugs because he didn’t want his family to find out. Last month, very suddenly he got sick and died just like that — complications from AIDS. His family didn’t even...
Requiem For The ‘Living Dead’: Ten Years After 7/5
Like a frightened flock of sheep, the people’s erratic dreams dividing unbroken Heavenly Mountains: A borderland Great Wall, a natural Wailing Wall Those unrecognized souls are the mud and night of other souls Only the cries of dreams, the tears on faces, like an expression of the heart, need no translation. 像惊恐的羊群 人们时断时续的梦境 隔着一座绵延千里的天山： 一座边地长城，一堵大自然哭墙 那些不被认识的心灵 是另一些心灵的泥淖和长夜 只有梦中的呼救、脸上的泪痕 像内心的表情，毋须翻译 — Shen Wei, an excerpt...
Uyghur voices in Istanbul
It was Mother Tongue Evening (Ana til kechisi) at the Nuzugum Family and Cultural Organization for exiled Uyghurs in Istanbul. Over a hundred fully veiled women, and a handful of men, squeezed into a concert venue kindly provided by the Zeytinburnu municipal government. Several hundred children ran up and down the stairs brandishing light blue balloons printed with the crescent moon and stars of...
The Legacy of the Uyghur Rock Icon Ekhmetjan
People still remember where they were the day Ekhmetjan died. It was Thursday, June 13, 1991. He was only 22 years old. As is common with the death of an icon, many people refused to believe he was gone. Instead rumors spread that thugs from a rival disco had knifed him in a back alley or that he had faked his death and gone...
Why Xinjiang is an internal settler colony
The transformation of the Uyghur-majority lands of Southern Xinjiang known as Alte Sheher, or the Six Cities, came in waves, first in the 1950s when systematic political changes to Uyghur and Kazakh social life began, and then in the 1990s when resource extraction infrastructure, industrial farming, Han settlers, and the Chinese market changed all aspects of Uyghur life. An elderly Uyghur farmer in Khotan I...
‘Ethnic extinction’ in northwest China
“That’s right. Since I’m from Southern Xinjiang I know that I’ll never be able to find a job,” Kaiser told the Han taxi driver in Mandarin. “If you don’t have connections, you won’t even be considered for jobs. This country doesn’t serve the needs of the ‘common people.’” Kaiser used the term “lǎobǎixìng 老百姓” — or “old 100 names” — to refer to the...
The Reciter: A Uyghur family’s pride — and downfall
It took him three years, but finally, at the age of 14, Nurali recited the entire Quran. This, he remembers, was one of the happiest days of his mother’s life. Over the phone she told him how proud she was. How he had brought so much joy and honor to his family. He was a living Quran, his life itself part of a sacred...
The Elephant in the XUAR: III. “In accordance with the law”
An excerpt from the appeal letter of Kazakh student Bagdat Akin, written after over two years in custody. (Drawing by @YetteSu.) Gene A. Bunin This is the third in a series of three articles highlighting the massive expansion of the prison system in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region that has taken place in recent years. The prisons have been running in parallel with the...
‘Truth and reconciliation’: Excerpts from the Xinjiang Clubhouse
On Saturday, February 6, two days before it would be banned across China, the social media app Clubhouse had a defining moment. As numerous news outlets have reported, a room called “Is there a concentration camp in Xinjiang?” attracted a brief flourishing of speech and free discussion among Chinese people in the era of state censorship. As noted in an episode of the Sinica Podcast with several of...