The dramatically worsening situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (known to Uyghurs as East Turkistan — a place name, not necessarily a country) is described as a life-or-death-struggle in a new report from the Uyghur Human Rights Project. The post-Olympic shakedown is reaching the point of undeclared martial law, writes Louisa Greve, the National Endowment for Democracy‘s Director for East Asia, as evidenced by:
- sweeping round-ups of all Uyghurs not in the place where they have official residence registration, including in one city not just repatriation to their “home” town, but detention throughout the period of the Olympics;
- confiscation of passports of ethnic Uyghurs all over Xinjiang and major cities elsewhere in China in 2007;
- coercive labor transshipment of young Uyghur women against their own and their families’ wishes to factories 3,000 miles from home (policies specifically order local government officials to fulfill labor quotas, specifically and only targeting young women in late teens and early twenties, who are told they have no choice but to go);
- all this on top of heavy-handed assimilation policies, such as the elimination, 3 years ago, of Uyghur as a medium of instruction in universities (with high schools next), complete with a huge book-burning ceremony when the authorities publicly burned all the Uyghur books in the library of the University of Xinjiang.
Is it any wonder many Uyghurs feel they are being targeted for elimination as a culture and a people?
For more, see updates from the Uyghur Human Rights Project.