Sunday, March 9, 2014

Voice of the Uighurs’ heart

A recent mass stabbing incident in the Chinese city of Kunming has highlighted the tensions between the Uighur people of the ‘autonomous’ region of Xinjiang and the central Chinese Government. These recently led Amnesty International to publish a report which, amongst other concerns, highlighted suppression of "peaceful expressions of cultural identity".

A while has passed since I visited the city of Urumchi in Xinjiang, and – although I will withhold many of the details, to protect the people involved – I do want to share what was for me an important incident.

In circumstances that I think should remain private, I was passed a brief letter, entitled “voice of uyghurs heart” (sic) by a member of the Uighur community.
It is, I think, self-explanatory:

Voice of Uyghurs heart

Voice of Uyghurs heart
I am a Uyghur.
I am proud of myself being Uyghur.
I have no right to speak for freedom truth.
The Chinese Communist terriest party dehumize the Uyghurs very hard and we are living worse (struck-through text).
Even without we cannot look at the Chinese people. If we look at them they kill us as a animal.
I hope you could carry on this letter in England, please.
I am so interest in you free country.

On returning to the UK, I did bring this to the attention of Amnesty International (and I am not, of course surprised that they were unable to respond in any way). But my correspondent, at very considerable risk to himself, wanted this brief letter to come to the west… and I think now is an appropriate time to make it public.

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