East Turkestan is known as today's North-West part of China. However it was not always part of China. East Turkestan's history dates back to 2000 years of constant war against the Chinese. The reason for the Great Wall of China was made by the Han Chinese to protect themselves from the Mongols and the Huns (the ancestors of East Turkestan people called Uyghurs). However, since 1949 the Chinese have oppressed the Uyghurs (East Turkestan people). The following below are more information on the Uyghur Dilemma. The Chinese Government has kept media coverage far away as possible on the issue of the Uyghurs, and has carefully monitored the phones and limited the access to many websites in the region. I strongly urge that this information does not go into vain, and should be talked more of, and if you could even organize a protest. CURRENT ISSUES: 1. Population Policies In order to completely assimilate East Turkestan into China, millions of Chinese are being settled in this country. Before 1949 there were only 300,000 Chinese in East Turkestan. According to the Chinese statistics now it is 7 million. Observers, however, believe that this figure is much higher. Almost 250,000 Chinese are being settled in East Turkestan every year and contrary to “one child” policy in existence across mainland China, Chinese settlers in East Turkestan are allowed to have more children. At the same time, coercive birth control is being carried out among the Uyghur women to restrain the growth of Uyghur population. 2. Arrests According to Amnesty International, in the year of 1997 alone, more than 100,000 Uyghurs were arrested throughout the country. It has also been reported that between January and June, 1998, hundreds of Uyghurs were detained under suspicion of planning “separatist” activities. According to Amnesty International, since September 11, 2001, the Chinese authorities have arrested more than 3,000 Uyghurs. Reuters quoting Xinjiang Daily reported on January 21, 2006 that in 2005 alone, 18,000 Uyghurs were arrested accused of being “separatists”, “religious extremists” and “terrorists”. According to unconfirmed reports however, the figures of arrested people in East Turkestan is much higher. According to one source, more than 5,000 Uyghurs have been arrested after the turmoil in Urumqi on July 5-6, 2009. 3. TortureWhen in detention, Uyghurs are regularly subjected to torture. Dr. Manfred Novak, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, stated that “torture in China is still wide-spread” and groups including Uyghurs and Tibetans “have been particularly targets of torture”. Dr. Novak made this revelation after visiting detention centres in East Turkestan, Tibet and Beijing. A U.N. statement later said that over the years Chinese authorities have used electric shock batons, whips, hoods or blindfolds, needles, and hot oil to torture prisoners amongst other forms such as sleep deprivation, water submersion and bodily mutilation. Sources have reported that since 2000, almost 190 Uyghurs have died as a result of torture in Chinese prisons in East Turkestan. The most prominent among them was Abdulmejit Abduhalil, the leader of the Ili demonstration on February 5, 1997. He was tortured to death on October 17, 2000. 4. Execution and Extra Judicial Killings Amnesty International reports that the death penalty is extensively used in East Turkestan and the number of death sentences imposed in East Turkestan is significantly higher than in the rest of China. Amnesty International also believes that many of those executed have been victims of extra-judicial executions or deliberate killings. According to a CNN report on December 9, 1997, 1,000 Uyghurs have been executed in East Turkestan in 1997 alone. According to confirmed reports, between January and September 1998, 55 Uyghurs were executed. Amnesty International has reported that after September 11, 2001, more than 200 Uyghurs were executed on political grounds while 50 Uyghurs were sentenced to death for so-called “separatist” and “terrorist” activities. According to Reuters and AFP on August 17, 2004, four more Uyghurs were executed. These kinds of executions and deliberate killings are still continued in many parts of East Turkestan. 5. Religion The Chinese government is directing a crushing campaign of religious repression against the Uyghurs. According to a report released by Human Rights Watch and Human Rights in China on April 11, 2005, “the world-wide campaign against terrorism has given Beijing the perfect excuse to crack down harder than ever in East Turkestan. Other Chinese enjoy a growing freedom of worship, but Uyghurs, like Tibetans find that their religion is being used as a tool of control.” Most recently the Chinese authorities have also tightened curbs on Uyghurs, banning any government official, state employees, Party members, children, and in some cases women from entering the mosques. At present, the number of mosques in East Turkestan is not sufficient to meet the needs of the Muslims. Building of new mosques has been prohibited. There are no private religious schools and private religious instruction is banned. There is a shortage of well educated clerics, Korans and Islamic publication. 6. Sinicization Policy A fierce campaign is being conducted to weaken the Uyghur language and increase the level of Chinese spoken in the region. Prior to the Chinese occupation of East Turkestan, the literary language of the Uyghurs contained no Chinese loanwords. Now, a large number of Chinese words have been introduced into Uyghur vocabulary, and several thousand Uyghur words have been removed stating that they are “not favourable to the socialist construction”, or inhibit “national unity”. Uyghur language schools have been banned, or merged with Chinese language schools, and Chinese has been imposed as the language of instruction. Young Uyghur children are being sent to mainland China to learn Chinese. Throughout the country hundreds of thousands of books written in Uyghur language have been burned. 7. Economic Policy The ever-increasing Chinese population in East Turkestan has brought about widespread unemployment amongst the Uyghur population. The Chinese have taken control of most political and economic platforms. As a result, there is very little unemployment among the Chinese, but Uyghurs unemployment is growing at an alarming state. Despite East Turkestan’s natural wealth, the Uyghur people live more or less at mere subsistence level with almost 80 percent living below the poverty threshold. According to a report released by the “Xinjiang Provincial Government” on October 2004, the average income of the Chinese settler in East Turkestan is four times higher than that of a Uyghur. Almost 85 percent of the Uyghurs are farmers. According to the same official report, the average annual income of a Uyghur farmer is 820 Yuan (US$100) whereas a Chinese farmer in East Turkestan earns an annual income of 3.000 Yuan (US$ 400). Most private businesses are contracted to the Chinese. The rich resources of East Turkestan, including oil, gas, uranium, gold and silver reserves are transported to mainland China. The exploitation of these natural resources is strictly controlled by the Chinese Central Government. The Uyghurs have no control over these resources; they have no access to information on profits generated by these resources and have no chance to benefit from their own wealth. 8. Health Care and Nuclear Testing Health care in East Turkestan for the Uyghurs is basic. In the majority of hospitals, there are no operating tables, gynaecological equipment or disinfectant. At best, some antibiotics or TB medication are available. Almost all the doctors working in hospitals in East Turkestan are Chinese and do not speak Uyghur so cannot communicate with the Uyghur patients who in turn, have difficulty explaining their problems. In recent years, cholera, leprosy, hepatitis, and HIV have become common medical problems. The Chinese nuclear testing in East Turkestan over the past three decades continues to produce ecological disasters that pollute drinking water and food supplies, affect livestock and endanger human life. According to various sources in East Turkestan, babies with horrible deformities continue to be born. Tragically, the polluted districts bordering the nuclear test site still do not even receive elementary medical aid. After the nuclear tests in East Turkestan, no medical investigations have been carried out until now. 9. Media Freedom International media outlets face huge obstacles to working in the region. Information is strictly controlled by the State and so accurate statistics or reports are hard to come by. Chinese authorities are willing to issue incorrect or false information in order to block issues pertaining to East Turkestan from becoming known on an international scale as made evident in a secret document of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. The document, entitled “Defending the Stability of Xinjiang, adopted on March 19, 1999, briefly states that, “…through disinformation, prevent by all means, the separatist forces from making the so-called East Turkestan problem international”. 10. Disinterest of the International Community In contrast to other violations of human rights around the world, the international community has been relatively inactive in issues pertaining to East Turkestan. During the latest Chinese massacre of Uyghurs on July 5-6, 2009, in Urumqi, the United States adopted a mild tone. President Barack Obama called on all parties in East Turkestan “to exercise restraint”. What reaction there has been came from some Islamic countries. The Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), which represents 57 Islamic governments, condemned what it called the excessive use of force against Uyghur civilians. The country that has taken the strongest position is Turkey, who share historical, cultural linguistic ties with the Uyghurs. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan characterized the events as a “kind of genocide” and said that his country would bring the matter up in the United Nations Security Council.