At last, a voice for the latest victims of Chinese brutality
The Uyghurs need a good spin doctor.
These forgotten people of northwest China are the Tibetans the world doesn’t care about.
It might be because they’re Muslims.
Or that their name is hard to pronounce (WEE-ger).
Perhaps it’s because the history of the region, which the Chinese call Xinjiang and the Uyghurs call East Turkestan, is too goddamn complicated.
But like their Buddhist counterparts in the southwest, these gentle artistic people are the victims of cultural genocide and systematic slaughter.
It began when the People’s Liberation Army stormed into the resource-rich region in 1949.
A year later, Chinese forces invaded Tibet.
In the decades since, Han Chinese have flooded the so-called ‘autonomous regions’, precipitating widespread repression and brutality.
Dissidents are routinely tortured and executed.
Young women forced to have abortions.
Cultural treasures destroyed in Kashgar.
A thousand years ago, the northern and southern branches of the Silk Road converged at this oasis town. The historic Old City is now about to be razed.
Nightly infomercials feature happy Uyghurs dancing in front of their new concrete apartments, the voiceover intoning that citizens will “completely experience the care and warmth of the party”.
Gotta love communist propaganda.
It’s the Cultural Revolution all over again. What a great leap forward.
Last year, the world reacted with horror at the brutal Chinese crackdown on Buddhist protesters in Tibet.
Yet the death of hundreds of civilians and arrest of thousands of Uyghurs in Xinjiang early this month has been met with resounding silence from the West.
The masters of the semiotics of spin, Chinese authorities are blaming ‘separatists’.
Oh, I get it. Because they’re mussies, they must be terrorists.
Because a bunch of Uyghurs has just been released from Gitmo, they all must be mates of Osama.
(China made similar accusations prior to the Beijing Olympics, tarring the moderate Islamic Uyghurs with the brush of fundamentalism.)
The Chinese government yesterday ramped up the rhetoric, calling on the diaspora to unite around the Communist Party on the basis of “blood lineage” (the only good Chinese is a Han Chinese) and spread the “truth” about separatism in Xinjiang.
This is clearly aimed at distracting attention from reports that 20,000 Chinese troops are heading to the region to carry out mass executions.
Fearing a repeat of the citizen journalism campaign during the deadly riots in Iran, China has cut access to mobile phones and the internet.
But not before the release of footage of a lone Uyghur woman with a crutch challenging armoured personnel carriers, echoing the iconic image from Tiananmen Square in 1989.
The world is slowly waking up to the oppression of this ethnic minority.
They finally have a voice, in the form of exiled Uyghur activist Rebiya Kadeer who lives in the United States.
She’s kinda cute, like the Dalai Lama, and they share a love of quirky hats.
The ‘Mother of the Uyghurs’ spent five years in a Chinese prison, so there’s a branding opportunity as the new Aung San Suu Kyi.
Surely there’s a Hollywood celebrity with a bleeding heart and fading star who’d support this worthy, yet fledgling, cause?
So, at your next inner-city dinner party, get with the Zeitgeist and say you’re concerned about the plight of the Uyghur people.
Tibet is so last year.
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