The below article was published by the Daily Monitor, photo credit: ETNAM
On Saturday, September 10, about a hundred Uyghurs rallied at the White House in Washington, DC to protest China’s ongoing genocide and forced starvation, under the guise of “covid lockdowns,” of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan.
The demonstration was organized by the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM), a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization advocating for the political and human rights of East Turkistan and its people.
In late July 2022, the Chinese government announced “covid lockdowns” across East Turkistan as part of China’s “Zero Covid policy.” In the subsequent weeks, many reports have emerged from East Turkistan that the Chinese government is locking Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in their homes and leaving them to starve. Hundreds of appalling videos and messages shared on social showed Uyghur families across East Turkistan suffering starvation.
The videos show Uyghurs reaching out to the Chinese government, pleading with them to let them out and to bring food to feed their starving children. However, their cries have been ignored. Other videos show trucks full of Uyghur nan bread being thrown away as waste and fruits and vegetables being left to rot in warehouses while Uyghurs are left to starve in their homes.
Many videos pleading for help and shedding light on the ongoing starvation of Uyghurs in East Turkistan have brought to light that countless people have starved to death across East Turkistan. On September 9, 2022, Radio Free Asia published a news report confirming that at least 12 people starved to death under covid lockdowns in Ghulja county alone.
News of Uyghurs starving to death has spread across the global East Turkistani diaspora prompting Uyghurs to protest and call on world governments to act.
“In light of the ongoing genocide and forced starvation of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples, we call on the international community, especially the U.S. Government, to swiftly intervene and prevention China from starving millions of innocent East Turkistanis,” said Salih Hudayar, the Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile and Founder of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement.
During the demonstration at the White House, Uyghurs chanted and called on the U.S. to help East Turkistanis obtain justice by calling on the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice to launch investigations into China’s ongoing genocide and other crimes against humanity in East Turkistan. In July 2021, the East Turkistan Government in Exile and the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement filed a legal complaint against China urging the International Criminal Court to investigate genocide and other crimes in East Turkistan.
“We call on governments to uphold their treaty obligations under the UN Genocide Convention by acting swiftly to end China’s genocide in East Turkistan and punish the perpetrators through humanitarian intervention,” said Dr. Aziz Sulayman, the Acting Foreign Minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile.
The East Turkistan Government in Exile believes that the only way to ensure the freedoms, human rights, and existence of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples is by restoring East Turkistan’s independence.
The East Turkistan National Awakening Movement and the East Turkistan Government in Exile have long been calling on world governments to formally recognize East Turkistan as an Occupied Country, like Tibet, and support East Turkistan’s efforts to regain its independence.