Reports on lectures in Osaka
Amnesty International Speaking Tour 2007
We are not 'terrorists' - 'Anti-terrorism' war and Human-rights in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
This is the reprint of the article dated on 22 November from the blog "Chinese females・gender news"by Mr.Hideya Toyama
Lecture by Ms. Rabiye Kardeer, the Uyghur human rights activist, in Osaka bookmark
I attended the lecture of Uyghur human rights activist Rabiye Kadeer in Osaka.
The hall was full of people and there were more than 50 people and there were people without chair as the number of people were more than the hall's capacity.
Ms. Rabiye lectured with loud and energetic voice and it was very dynamic. When she spoke about her children in prison, she shed tears.
I'll briefly introduce the lecture but as I follow my notes, please note there may be some incorrect information.
Primary name of my homeland is East Turkistan. Turkistan was devided into two by Soviet Union and China in 1949 and we have been living under the invasion of Chinese Communist Country for 50 years since. We are neighbouring Tibet and we both share the destiny. West Turkistan became independent when the Soviet Union collapsed, but East Turkistan is still a part of China.
We have our history, language and culture. We have no connection with China. We are supposed to be able to have our nation, culture and the language.
When China invaded, the Hans in our land were the servicemen and their family and they consisted only 2% of the population and they established "Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region".
Rich Uyghurs were arrested as they were "Westernized" in 1954. Intellectuals and religious people were arrested as "nationalists" in 1957. Uyghur with certain positions became under control in 1966 and 1968.
I talk about my family now. I was born to a marchant family in Altay and I had a happy and peaceful life. But the life was getting harder.
They took the policy to disperse the concentrated Uyghur residential zone. Cargo truck came to our neighbourhood every day and took our neighbourw away. One day the cargo truck stopped at my house and without letting us know where we were going or why we had to go, we were taken. This is how we were relocated in a deserted city of Aksu in Taklamakan Desert.
I was 13 and I lost a place to study, my neighbours and my homeland.
I went through a lot of things after that, but anyway, Economic reform in the Peopole's Republic of China was carried out in 1978 and I started business. As the result of being invaded by the Chinese Communist Party, the Uyghurs lost economic power, education, our own culture and the religious aspects.
I succeded in the business and became the 7th richiest person in China. I used the money to establish schools and give scholarships to support the education and culture of Uyghurs.
Then I joined the political activities. I became the member of Chinese People's Political Consulative Conference and I even made speech in front of Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin to appeal the equal rights of education, economy and culture for the ethnic minorityies. I thought the problem was that Beijing didn't know the situation of Uyghurs.
But when the relative people of Uyghurs declared independence following the Soviet Union's collapse, China was alerted and tighten the system.
More than 10,000 people participated in demonstration in Gulja in 1997. Though there was no armed participant and the demonstration was peaceful, China broke them down with the armed forces. 407 people were killed instantly and more than 60,000 people were arrested (they arrested friends and families of the participants as well) and there are more than 8,000 people missing.
After a while the arrested people were taken around the city and executed publicly.
The international society didn't make any action that time.
Uyghurs were banned to use Uyghur language at the educational organizations in 2003.
Thousands of children aged between 7 and 16 are taken into inland China every year to have education there. Why can't we have the education in our language and in our land?
By the family planning policy, our population has been decreasing since 1987. On the other hand, there are a numbers of Hans are migrating in. It is the policy to eliminate our people.
A daughter from each Uyghur family has been forced to relocate in inland China to work since June 2006. The pretext is to "get them work" but there are several millions of Hans migranted in our land and working. Why is that? In the begining they wanted "pretty girls aged between 16 and 25" but as we run out of 'pretty' girls, now they want 'girls' not specifically pretty. According to the report of the government, they've sent 240,000 girls from Kashgar in one year. If you don't let your daughter go, you'll be charged.
There has been more than 45 nuclear tests in Uyghur. As they set the test just beside the residential area, there are many people died and new born babies with disabilities are numerous. Domestic record of the government shows more than 700,000 people died of the nuclear tests.
Uyghur autonomous region is the only region in China where the political criminals are executed. On 14 September in 2004, Wang Lequan, the head of the local government announced "We've executed 55 political criminals from 22 different groups during January to July in 2004".
Now we are labeled as "terrorists".
I was arrested and imprisoned for 6 years. I stayed in a room with total darkness for 2 years. That time I believed that there was no democracy in this world but being released from international organizations including Amnesty, I've changed my mind.
But 2 out of my children remaining in China are sentenced 9 years and the another one is sentenced 7 years of imprisonment. Other children and grandchildren are under the supervision.
Passports of Uyghurs are retrieved since May this year to avoid the Uyghurs to abroad probably because China is afraid of the world to know the Uyghur situation before they hold the Olympic.
Uyghur is rich with natural resouces like gas and oil. But the natural resources of our land are deprived. Our farm land is also deprived by the people migrated from inland China.
I will keep appealing to make the international society to take action.
Why did I come to Japan? I feel close to Japan and Japan is the only Asian country with developped democracy. I want you to put pressure on government. I want Japan to lead the activities for the human rights and democray in Asia.
21st century is the century that value the human rights. US and Europe are taking actions and I want you here to put pressure on the government.
The above is the brief content of the lecture by Ms. Rabiye Kadeer and for the demonstration in Gulja and the nuclear test, it is explained in detail in the book that Ms. Mizutani Naoko has written.
World Uyghur Congress Japanese website has the article from Japanese news papers on the young females taken away to work.
"Accoding to Ms. Kadeer, the local government has been sending single Uyghur females to Shandong and other region to employ them. Those females work in a factory, night club and so on are not allowed to go out and they get only a quarter of salarey promised back in their land. It is said that parents of the females made demonstration asking for the daughters back in July this year.
Uyghur population in China is approximately 8,400,000. Ms. Kadeer pinted out the possibility of the females sent to inland marrying Hans and she criticized the policy as "It aims for the assimilation in order to eliminate the people. The suppression pursued one step more".
(9 November 2007, Asahi newspaper)
"It is said that 240,000 Uyghur females are forced to move to Beijing, Tianjin, Qingdao and other regions and work in grinding circumstance with little pay. It is considered as the cruel
policy to reduce Uyghur population and fix the shortage of females in China and relocate 400,000 Uyghur female into inland China."
(11 November 2007, Sankei newspaper)
I feel that the activities for domestic and international human rights issues in Japan is not carried out much.
As you can tell from the lecture by Ms. Rabiye, it is a serious matter. It is nearly impossible to make humarn rights activities in China, so the only way is putting pressure on China by the international opinion. External aid that Japan has been engaged should include the ethnic minority issue as well as the demos and gender issues.
I'll keep paying attention on those issues and I hope to do whatever I can do for the issue.