Open letter of Enver Can, president of the East Turkestan National Congress to the United Nations and several foreign ministers
17 July 2002
With indignation we learned that the Chinese government has decided to enforce Chinese as the sole teaching language at the largest university of (Xinjiang) East Turkestan, also called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China (for example, AFP 07.06.2002). This constitutes a direct attack against the language and culture of the Uyghur nation of East Turkestan and an aggressive continuation of the policy of Sinisation. We urgently appeal to you to protest against this political move of the government in Beijing and to make a call for the rights of non-Chinese nationals living in the People's Republic of China.
Although the statute for the so-called Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang has not set aside real political autonomy for the peoples of Eas Turkestan, it has, nevertheless, guaranteed certain rights on the public use of their languages. For the past fifty years, the University of Xinjiang in Urumchi has always taught in the Uyghur language, as well as in Chinese. According to the new regulation within three years, teaching, especially in the natural science classes, is to be done completely in Chinese (Mandarin). Merely a few lessons concerning the language and literature of the Uyghurs can be continued to be taught as they have been.
The reasoning for the new regulation announced by the official news agency Xinhua in early June is not only absurd, but above all cynical. Thus a lack of Uyghur teaching materials and the overall consensus that the Uyghur language would not be suitable for the prerequisites of modern development were the main reasons given. The truth is, the Uyghur language which could be traced back to a long history of civilisation, serves scholars as much as any other languages. The Chinese authorities are simply not willing to produce enough textbooks in the language and deliberately preventing its the development.
For many years, the Chinese-teaching schools in Eastern Turkestan have been extremely favoured in comparison to Uyghur-teaching schools. Nowadays, it is almost impossible for Uyghur children to attend secondary education or to receive training for challenging and demanding careers unless they can speak fluent Chinese. The discrimination of Uyghurs in the education as well as in the employement sector will duely serve the policy of systematic resettlement of millions of ethnic Chinese (Hans) in East Turkestan and heavy handed supression of peaceful activities of Uyghurs struggling for their rights.
We are also deeply concerned about the report that the state "Uyghur Publishing House" in Kashgar ordered the burning of 128 copies of "Short History of the Huns" and books about ancient Uyghur literature, as well as 32,320 copies of a book on ancient Uyghur arts and crafts in May of this year. The Chinese communist authorities claim that this books had contained and spread separatist ideas. The same publishing house censored or refused to print a further 330 publications due to similar motives. This burning of books brings back barbaric memories of the practices ordered by Mao Zedong during the "Cultural Revolution" as well as ugly memories of the national-socialists in Germany.
Also ethnocide is a crime against humanity and is often the beginning of infringement of the physical existence of an ethnic or religious group. The aggressive policy of Sinisation is driving the Uyghurs of East Turkestan into a state of helplessness and desperation, which could ultimately lead to a dangerous destabilisation of the current situation in Central Asia. Thus we urgently plead to you, to use all political means to move the regime in Beijing to respect the human and collective rights of the Uyghur nation and to urge Chine leaders to repel its decision to discontineu teachings in the Uyyghur language.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Enver Can President East Turkestan (Uyghuristan) National Congress
East Turkestan (Uighuristan) National Congress
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Dello stesso autore
10/10/2002 Turkestan Orientale Sulla restrizione dei diritti religiosi del Popolo Uyghuro <br>Audizione del Comitato sui Diritti Umani della Commissione Affari Esteri del Senato della Repubblica italiana<br>Intervento di Enver Can, Presidente del Congresso Nazionale del Turkestan Orien