Reports on lectures in Tokyo
|Amnesty International Speaking Tour 2007|
|We are not 'terrorists'|
|-'Anti-terrorism' war and Human-rights in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region|
|Ms.Rabiye Kadeer lectures in Tokyo|
|10 November 2007|
|At Harmonic Hall|
|15:30 Opening session|
|15:40 Briefing of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region|
|15:50 Lecture by Ms.Rabiye Kadeer|
|16:50 Break * Invitation for questions|
|17:00 Debates between Ms.Rabiye Kadeer and Mr.Makoto Teranaka,|
|Secretary General of Amnesty International Japan|
|18:00 Appeal by Amnesty International|
Amnesty International Speaking Tour 2007
We are not 'terrorists' - 'Anti-terrorism' war and Human-rights in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
1. Opening session bookmark
Since the September 11 attacks, human rights abuse is carried out all over the world under the pretense of 'fight against terrorism'. Human rights in East Turkistan is also abused and Amnesty, that has been dealing with human rights issue, would like to focus on that matter today.
2. Briefing of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (by Ms.Naoko Mizutani) bookmark
I will briefly go through the given out documents on East Turkistan now and please read the documents later fr more information.
- Background of East Turkistan issue.
- Amnesty's summary of Uyghurs deported after taking political asylum.
- The suppression conducted under the pretext of 'fight against terrorism'
- Abridged translation of Uyghur Human Rights project, the subordinate organization of Uyghur American Association that Ms.Rabiye Kadeer serves as a President.
I would like to introduce Uyghur organizations that are not mentioned in the handouts.
During 1930s and 1940s, defectors from Turkish Islamic Republic of East Turkistan established a few organizations in countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Uyghurs inspired the the independence of Central Asian nations in 1990's started to establish organizations. The organizations that had individual activities gathered together and World Uyghur Congress was established in 2000s.
Currently the World Uyghur Congress has 49 subordinate organizations and they are focusing on the human rights issue more than the independence movement. There are Uyghur organizations that do not agree with the idea and they are having activities individually.
Mr.Sidiq Haji, the husband of Ms.Rabiye Kadeer was introduced. He visited Japan together with her and helped her making manuscript and so on.
3. Lecture by Ms.Rabiye Kadeer bookmark
I came to Japan to deliver the voices of the ethnos who are suffering in the world of darkness. I would like to thank everyone here to listen to the voices of the ethnos who cannot deliver their voices though they want to. My name is Rabiye Kadeer and I am an Uyghur.
East Turkistan, being a part of China since 1949, is named Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and ruled by China. East Turkistan is neighbouring Tibet, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
I am a mother of 11, but I would like to talk as a representative of Uyghurs, not as a mother. I was born in to a merchant family and lived happily until I became 13. Later I got married and after giving birth to my 6th child, I started my business to support Uyghurs and all the successes made me the 7th richest person in China. I had believed that economic resources would help the ethnos but I realized it would not help by seeing the realities in variant regions. With the success of the business, I supported schools, orphans and the poor and that made my social reputation higher. In the end, I was chosen to be a member of the Autonomous Council and one of the representative of the Autonomous Region by the Chinese Communist Party. I reached the highest point as a politician and entrepreneur. Being in that position, I could understand the situation of the Uyghurs better. I started to see things from a global perspective and I got to know about democracy.
When China set up the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, they remarked that they will make the Uyghur happy, free and they promised the preservation of ethnic culture, national self-determination, respect for the religion and security for job and education. They said they would just help us to utilize the nature and natural resources. The fact when the governance of Chinese Communist Party started in 1949, the population of Han living in East Turkistan was only 2% with the help of Soviet Union made China possible to set up the Autonomous Region. The promise that they would not enlarge the Han migrants also helped.
But all the promises were violated and Uyghur has been going through the worst experience. Economy is stagnated, population is controlled, liberty of speech, _expression and movement of individual is constrictive and now there are constraints on language and religion. Right after the governance, Chinese Communist Party regarded Uyghur as 'kind, hospitalable and good-hearted ethnos'. But what has happened to the wonderful ethnos? They turned to be an ethnos that are called terrorists, separatists, anti-revolutionists, criminals and barbarians in overnight. While the world is developing, Uyghurs have been receding.
Bourgeoisies and intellectuals have been imprisoned and a few dozens of thousands of people have been executed since 1954. In 1957 intellectuals started to be imprisoned, suppressed and executed. Uyghur government officials and religious leaders have been following the same fate, the former since 1967 and the latter since 1987. All the occupation in East Turkistan was given to Han Chinese immigrants, rich natural resources were taken to China and Uyghurs were not even work for the development of the nation or conveyance.
People asked for the improvement of the treatment of Uyghurs were imprisoned. Peasants were not able to have enough food and family of 10 had to share a same bed as they could afford one only. The 'kind, hospitalable and good-hearted ethnos' has been changed in to an ethnos that do as told with timid heart.
I decided to step forward hoping to change the terrible situation. I wanted children to be educated and poor to be supported but I could not do much as there were various blockades. I could no longer stand the social estate given knowing that my position was standing on the sacrifice of Uyghurs. Then I reported the Uyghurs' situation and appealed for the improvement at National People's Congress. I warned the Chinese government that if it failed to improve the ethnic minorities situation, disaffectedness would increase and that may cause a serious incident.
There was a demonstration with 10,000 to 15,000 people in Ili in winter 1997. The demonstration was to show the objection against the ban on Mashrap (neighborhood gathering in Uyghur culture). Though it was a peaceful demonstration totally free of violence, Chinese government dealt the unarmed crowd with armed police. 407 were shot on site and more than 1,000 were gathered in a football field and hit by water cannons. Chinese government suppressed the youngsters just asked for the humanlike life with liberty, their own language and culture.
Political Consultative Congress required the members of the Chinese People's Politician Consultative Conference, including myself, to propagandize that what Chinese Communist Party had done was right. There were Uyghurs accepted the request to maintain their positions. 8,000 people were caught and pulled through the city to the execution ground. There were families whose members were executed the same day.
I directly protested the Beijing government for the awful deal. "Uyghurs are deprived of the land, natural resources and even occupations. Because of the migration of the Han people, the land has become like other provinces of China. Uyghurs need peace and stability but Chinese government has been catching and imprisoning a number of young people." Though Chinese government officers had listened to my appeal and promised the improvement of the situation, I realized that I was dismissed from all my political position when I reached Urumqi. From that time I came under scrutiny. Chinese government said "You acted stupidly. It was China who gave you the economic power and the social positions and if you want to regain the social status, you have to follow the government." But I gained economic force by myself and it was not given by Chinese government.
Uyghur's circumstances got worse from those days. The greeting words of the elders 'Hello' was replaced by 'How is your son?' and 'Isn't he arrested yet?'. Historians and scholars of literature were started to get arrested.
Realizing it was impossible to change the situation of Uyghurs within the country, I tried to pass a report summarizing the circumstances of Uyghurs to US legislative officers. I got arrested on November 1999 for that. I went from riches to a criminal.
I lived in a room as dark as pitch for the first 2 years. Apart from the once in 40 days outgo, I was to sit in the dark without saying a word, writing sentences and moving my body. The reason why I could maintain my mentality under such circumstance was the conviction to help Uyghurs. Though I expected to be executed, the pressure from the International human rights organizations made them move me to a room with some light.
One day, a detention officer took me to a room saying 'I'll show you the ethnos that you are trying to save'. I heard people's voice being tortured but I could not believe that was humans voice, it was more like beast growling. The voice became louder and lower and I was taken out from the room. A guy aged 20 to 25 who was tortured in the next door was brought covered in blood. The detention officer said 'The destiny of the people that you are trying to save is this. Save them if you can.' It would have been much easier if I was tortured like they were than just stood there and watch them suffer.
During the imprisonment for 6 years, I never laughed, talked or read, I just sat there. I was not abused physically, but they were trying to assault me mentally. One warder pointed at the floor in front of the door and said 'You will be dead and buried here and I will be stepping on your body every time I go through this door.' They cut my hair weirdly. Chinese guards always treated me in dehumanizing way. They used to say to me 'What are you going to do with ugly and inhumane look?', 'How can you save others while you can't even save yourself?' and 'How beautiful the Mother of Uyghurs is!'.
I was released in March 2005 by the support of international human rights organizations like Amnesty International and the US government and I could stand up in the Chicago Airport in US. A reporter from RFA picked me up there helped spread my voice to the world for the first time. Uyghur language is banned in schools from 2003 and now Mandarin is used from kindergarten to university. A number of children were dragged out from East Turkistan under the pretense of education.
I have 11 children and 5 of them remain in China. Chinese government started to harrass me with my maternal love. All my children in China were arrested when I accepted to be the President of World Uyghur Congress. I heard my son screaming in agony through an international phone call. My daughter was put on the telephone and she said "Now my brothers are being beaten. They pulled them down. They might be dead". When I heard the loud scream of my son, the line was cut off. 2 of my sons were found guilty on the day I became the President of World Uyghur Congress. The children and grandchildren of mine who are not yet arrested are under supervision of China. I don't know what is happening to my own children at this moment. But I'm not going to stop my activities. When I was released from the prison, China threatened me by saying "5 of your children are in our hands. Don't do anything stupid". One son was found guilty of inciting national disunity and the other was found guilty of tax avoidance. The sons who took over my business must have been under strict observation of China. Before they took over the business, one was a medical doctor and the other was a computer engineer. I heard that they told my sons that they got arrested because I, their mother, evaded paying taxes but I had been awarded as an exemplary tax payer for 18 times. And now I'm called a terrorist. Uyghurs are also bruited as terrorists to the world. But all I am doing is appealing for the resolution peacefully by pen and mouth. I am working for the peace and liberty for the Uyghurs. I want the improvement of Uyghurs' human rights, freedom to speak Uyghur language and hundreds of thousands of political criminals in the prisons to be released.
Hans are tried by reasonable trials but Uyghur political criminals are tried by the secret court and the trials are not fair at all in China. Wang Lequan, the secretary of the Communist Party of China of the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region announced with a big smile that they have executed 55 political criminals from 22 different groups in 8 months in 2004. The number counted the people executed officially and the number of unofficially executed would be much more, beyond my imagination. Though political activists of East Turkistan exile themselves to foreign countries, SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) made the Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and other Uyghurs' brotherhood countries to support China to deport the Uyghurs in exile to China. Chinese government imprison all the Uyghurs who escaped from China whether they are political criminals or not.
Our people is under such miserable situation. I would love to talk about more like the young girls forced to migrant to other areas but I'll leave it to next opportunity. I ask you to sympathize and support the people in East Turkistan as yourself and your family.
4. Dialogue of Ms.Rabiye Kadeer/ Mr.Makoto Teranaka, Secretary General of Amnesty International Japan (together with Ms. Mizutani) bookmark
Mr. Teranaka: I will pick some of the questionaries and make it a disscussion. The book Ms.Mizutani has written explains a lot and I believe reading the book will answer your questions. Amnesty has been taking actions on human rights of Uyghurs. The arrest of Mr.Tohti Tunyaz, the graduate student of Tokyo University, on his trip back to China for the search for the documents is a big issue for us. This incident tells us that the human rights problems in China is not a distant problem but an immediate problem for us.
Q. Data of Uyghur population
A. Ms. Mizutani: Official data of China reports that there are approximately 9,000,000 Uyghurs in Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region. Since the establishment in 1995, the population of Han that was about 300,000 in 1950s increased to 6,870,000 in 1999 by the migrant policy of China. I do not have the population data later than 2000 but I suppose the population of Hans have been increasing by the policies like China Western Development.
Q. About the employment bureau for Uyghur females
A. Ms. Rabiye: Chinese government has been suppressing Uyghurs for 58 years yet they haven't succeeded to eliminate the people and the culture. So they have started to force aged 16-25, single and pretty Uyghur females move into Inland China saying that they will get them employed as part of the assimilation policy since 2006. From June 2006, they have built employment agencies in each region and the agencies offered jobs in inland China for young and beautiful Uyghur females aged between 16 and 25. As the relevant females there reduced they changed the condition and started to relocate Uyghur females whether they are under 16 or not pretty. In 2006, 240,000 females were relocated from Kashgar region alone. Each family had to send one relevant female to the employment agency to fulfill the quota. Why do they have to work in other region in China though Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous Region is rich in natural resources and there should be plenty job opportunities? The parents who did not let the daughters go to the employment agencies are punished by being chased away from homeland, getting fined or detained for 2 weeks. This forced relocation is considered to be the assimilation policy that aims to make the Uyghurs marry Han by reducing the opposite sex Uyghurs from one another. We have been appealing this to the world and the this issue has been taken in the US diet.
Q. What kind of assimilation and religious policies are carried out?
A. Ms. Rabiye: Chinese government has been taking children aged between 7 and 15 to inland China and created "Xinjiang group" which aims to brainwash the children by the Chinese education to assimilate them. There are 10,000 students in 58 classes in inland China currently and yet Chinese government is planning to increase the students number to 50,000. It is considered that this is the policy is aiming for the paralinguistic assimilation and brainwashing children to believe that they are Chinese. Children were educated in Chinese and Uyghur in Xinjiang before but now children are educated in Chinese from elementary school to university. The professors lecturing at university for decades are displaced from their profession only because they don't speak Chinese and work as cleaners or security guards at the university. Whether Uyghur students understand or not, the classes and lectures are held in Chinese. Uyghur is not a barbaric people but cultural people with own letters, culture, history and we even established our own nation before. However our culture, letters and literature are demolishing and cultural assimilation is in the process.
Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and all other religions are precious thing that give human the faith. However Muslims under 18 are not allowed into the mosque in Xinjiang. If it is found out that parents send their children to religious school, the parents will be arrested and clergies can be executed according to the circumstances. During the Ramadan (fasting month), China prepares food and drink at the entrance of the schools and offices and no one is allowed to enter without taking food. Religious leaders in the mosque used preach the children "Be good, listen to your parents and contribute to the society" but those leaders were labeled as national separatists and terrorists and imprisoned. Instead we received religious leaders educated by Chinese Communist party and guided Muslims to work for communist party.
Q. What kind of activities World Uyghur Congress is engaged to?
A. Ms. Rabiye: We are appealing the solidarity of Uyghurs all over the world and improvement of Uyghur's circumstances. World Uyghur Congress was established by 49 different Uyghur organizations uniting together. Its aim is to appeal the world for human rights and liberty of Uyghurs and to fight peacefully. The headquarter is in Munich.
Ms. Mizutani: There were groups did not hesitate for the armed struggle in Xinjinang in 1990s as there were supports from the Uyghurs living in Central Asia. However the SCO and the risk of the Uyghur race disappearing before the independence by the armed struggle changed the situation. By those reasons the number of groups giving up on the armed struggle and appealing the world to know the situation of Uyghurs in peaceful way. There are groups that are willing to fight if necessary but at this stage all the groups choose the peaceful way and it is comprehended that there is no group that is bringing the armed struggle as the first choice.
Q. How does US react to the issue?
A. Ms. Rabiye: Activities of World Uyghur Congress are built on the support from Europe and US. There has been 6 hearing of Uyghur human rights issue in US diet. There is a resolution proposal in parliament to request on release of my children and Mr. Husein Dzhelil from Canada. US has shown the annoyance on the human rights issues in China. Europe takes same stance and supports us actively. I would like to expect the same from Japan. Japan is a leading democratic state and I want the Japanese government to take the Uyghur issue as state policy and put pressure on China for the improvement of Uyghur human rights. I also want Japan to encourage the autocratic states in Central Asia to stay out from the Uyghur human rights issue.
Q Why the Uyghurs were detained in Guantanamo?
A. Ms. Rabiye: China tried to set Uyghur organization in Central Asia as the terrorists. For that reason 22 Uyghurs exiled themselves to Pakistan were turned over from Pakistani government to US and US relocated them in Guantanamo. It was a sad thing that innocent people got detained for 6 years but at the same time they were lucky as they were turned over to US, not China. If they were handed over to China, they must have been executed. There is no fair trial for Uyghurs in China. I was surprised to know that there was such clean trial when I sat in on the trial in US. I shed tears when I heard the attorney questioning the government "Why did you detain the innocent people for years unfairly?" The fact that Uyghur entered Guantanamo let China label the Uyghur organizations as terrorists. After found innocent, 5 Uyghurs moved to Albania but other innocent people don't have countries that accept them because of the pressure from China. I went to Geneva in Switzerland and we are taking action to find some countries that accept those innocent people together with US.
Mr. Terauchi: Most of the Uyghurs detained in Guantanamo haven't even attended the trials yet. Once the trial starts, there are proper access to justice but remaining few hundreds haven't reached the trial point yet. I want you to understand Ms. Rabiye's lecture together with this situation.
Ms.Mizutani: I interviewed the 5 Uyghurs moved from Guantanamo to Albania. 2 of them took political asylum as they were related to the demonstration in Ili in 1997, other 2 were the economic refugees and the last one was a student. I don't know about the other 17 people.
Mr. Terauchi: The 3 English people got caught in Afghanistan is the similar case. Those cases make me think about the double standards of US.
Q. There are improvements of human rights in China relating to the Olympic and does that bring influence on Uyghurs?
A. Ms.Rabiye: There was a strict crackdown on Uyghurs for 100 days just a year before the Olympic. They laid out a campaign on autonomous bodies, schools, regional community and families to monitor and make accusations for each other. This made brothers, friends and neighborings unable to talk sincerely. Since May this year the passports of Uyghurs are being retrieved. I don't believe that there is a people who is suppressed more than the Uyghurs in 21st century. If China cared about the improvement of human rights of Uyghurs, they would not do such things. If China holds Olympic successfully, we, the minorities will be suppressed even harsher. Forced migration of the Uyghur females is one of the policies China is preparing for the Olympic.
Mr. Terauchi: Amnesty is also appealing the resolution of the human rights issues on China holding Beijing Olympic.
Q. What supported Ms.Rabiye to overcome the terrifying experience in the prison?
A. Ms.Rabiye: Uyghurs' expectation for me. It was the sense of responsibility that I had to be alive and get out from the prison to save our people.
Mr.Terauchi: There are more questions but as the time is running out I couldn't pick them. As childrens of Ms.Rabiye and a number of Uyghurs are imprisoned and the suppression against Uyghurs are carried out, Amnesty will take some actions and I would like the people gathered here today to respond to our activities and raise awareness on East Turkistan issues.
5. Appeal from Amnesty bookmark
We distribute post cards to request Chinese government to improve human rights of Uyghurs and request countries where Uyghur refugees live not to deport them back to China and we would love your support.
There will be more lecture presentations in some other region and they will be organized by donations. Amnesty is taking action on all the human rights issues all over the world, not only the Uyghurs.
There are 9 lectures by Ms.Rabiye in different prefectures planned by Amnesty International. The first lecture was held on 10 November in Shinjuku Harmonic Hall. Yet the hall capacity was 154, there were people who could not find seats and stood and listened to lectures. I saw a number of youngsters and that showed the awareness of the East Turkistan issues among them.
I suppose the dynamic lecture by Ms. Rabiye explained the situation of the Uyghurs in depth.
Video recording, audio recording and photographing were prohibited as the participants of the lectures may be endangered by being filmed. I wanted to video record the lecture for my Uyghur friend who was unable to attend it and applied for the permission but because of the reason above, my request was rejected. I appreciate the considerable rejection reason that they are afraid of the situation being out of control if they allow someone to film and I do understand them.
I was expecting a number of people for the lecture in Tokyo but I was surprised to see people, especially young people, more than I expected. I am hoping more people will participate in the lectures in other places.