East Turkestan is a region inhabited by the Uighurs and remains in Chinese occupation against the will of its people. The region borders Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan in South, Central Asian Republics in the west, and Mongolia and Russian Federation in the north. The natives speak a dialect of Turkic language and follow moderate form of Islam or Sufism as a way of life.
Chinese authorities are using different tactics to oppress local people; by denying them political and socio-economic autonomy; by controlling and exploiting natural resources and means of production; and by changing ethnic and religious demography of the region.
Authorities encourage ethnic Hans to settle in the urban centers of East Turkestan and offer the settlers special socio-economic and political incentives to hasten the process.
As basic human rights are denied, and harassment and political oppression continues, ethnic Uighurs are left with no option but to flee from their homeland which also helps towards ethnic cleansing. Reports have come of entire neighborhoods being razed to ground in the name of modernization and forcing hundreds of thousands of Uighurs to resettle under unfavorable conditions.
But the worst form of ethnic cleansing owes its success to relentless slaughter of Uighurs, who are persecuted in the name of countering sedition, extremism, terrorism and separatism.
Recently, seven Uighurs were killed by Chinese authorities in Hotan. Two of them were women. Meanwhile five children have been detained and tortured to pressure their relatives to present themselves before the authorities. Amnesty International has issued a statement on January 6, 2012, condemning these atrocities.
Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies is an organization which desires peace in Gilgit-Baltistan as well as in the immediate neighborhood. It supports rights of indigenous people over their land and resources and atrocities against the Uighurs is a condemnable act. Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies believes that the Chinese military and civilian administration should vacate East Turkestan and allow the natives of the region to decide about their political and socio-economic future. Chinese atrocities against children and women needs special attention from the international human rights bodies and UNHRC must take immediate notice.
Dated: January 11, 2012