Restoring Freedom and Independence to East Turkistan and its People

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 14: Supporters and members of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement rally outside the White House to urge the United States to end trade deals with China and take action to stop the oppression of the Uyghur and other Turkic peoples August 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. The ETNAM and East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) groups submitted evidence to the international criminal court, calling for an investigation into senior Chinese officials, including Xi Jinping, for genocide and crimes against humanity. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Taiwan Exclusive: TTT Speaks To Prime Minister Salih Hudayar Of East Turkistan in Exile

In an exclusive for the Taiwanese media, The Taiwan Times has spoken to Salih Hudayar, Prime Minister of the Washington DC based East Turkistan Government in Exile – the democratically-elected official body representing East Turkistan (what China calls “Xinjiang”) and its People.

Supporters and members of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement rally outside the White House to urge the United States to end trade deals with China and take action to stop the oppression of the Uyghur and other Turkic peoples on Aug 14, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In your own words, what is going on in East Turkistan (Xinjiang) now?

What is happening in East Turkistan right now is nothing less than a brutal campaign of prolonged colonization, occupation, and genocide. Millions of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Turkic peoples have been sent to concentration camps, prisons, and forced labor camps where they are subject to forced indoctrination, torture, forced starvation, organ harvesting, sterilization, rape and other sexual abuses, and even execution. Over half a million Uyghur and other Turkic children have been forcibly separated from their families and sent to state run orphanages and boarding schools where they are forcibly indoctrinated and assimilated to become “loyal Chinese citizens.”

How has this “colonization, occupation, and genocide” come about?

The People’s Republic of China was declared shortly after the Communists defeated the Nationalists in the Chinese Civil War in October 1949, subsequently the PRC invaded East Turkistan and overthrew the independent East Turkistan Republic on December 22, 1949. (Former Chairman) Mao initiated policies to colonize and occupy East Turkistan, setting up the Xinjiang Construction and Production Corp (XPCC ) paramilitary force in 1953/1954. Over the decades, China has been slowly colonizing East Turkistan and implementing genocidal policies such as forced abortions, sterilizations, massacres.

Over 46 nuclear tests were conducted in East Turkistan between 1964 and 1996 killing around 750,000 people, mostly Uyghurs, and leaving millions with cancerous diseases as a result of nuclear radiation.

Following the September 11 Terror Attacks, China began to use the false pretext of “counter terrorism” to further initiate its genocidal policies, but it wasn’t until 2014 however, when the current campaign of genocide began to really take shape with the mass interment of millions as result of Xi Jinping’s efforts to achieve “the Chinese dream” and “national rejuvenation.”

From your own point of view has the world responded in an appropriate manner?

Evil triumphs because good men do nothing. The international community has long turned a blind eye, and largely continues to turn a blind, to China’s decades long campaign of colonization, occupation, and genocide in East Turkistan.

It is clear by the definition set by the UN Genocide Convention of 1948, that China is engaging in genocide in East Turkistan.

Salih Hudayar – Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile

Despite world leaders vowing “Never Again” and speaking about the promotion of “human rights and freedom,” they have largely ignored East Turkistan, choosing economic relations and profits over humanity. While countries like the United States, Canada, the UK, and other western nations are raising the issue, it’s not enough. Actions speak louder than words. We urge the international community to act and uphold their moral and legal obligations to end this 21st century Holocaust-like genocide.

There has been criticism of Muslim nations in particular having failed to respond – is this criticism fair?

Absolutely, the majority of East Turkistan’s people are adherents of the Islamic faith, yet Muslim countries across the world have not only been silent on the genocide but many of them have defended China’s actions. Some countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and even Turkey have even forcibly deported Uyghurs fleeing persecution. What’s most ironic is that these countries claim to be “on the side of the oppressed” and the “defenders of Muslims,” yet they are complicit in China’s genocide of Turkic peoples, mostly Muslims, in East Turkistan.

President Biden (last) week seemed to brush off his own government’s confirmation of the genocide as a “different norm” – how has this been taken by your government, and yourself in particular?

His outrageous statements have distressed our government and the whole of our diaspora community. We are afraid that he might be backtracking on the hard work and progress we have made over the past few years. Most importantly, we feel his statements will only further encourage the Chinese government to continue and even intensity its campaign of genocide in East Turkistan.

During the elections Joe Biden promised to recognize China’s atrocities against Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan as genocide.

Now that he is president, he must show the world that he is a man of his word by taking strong actions to end the ongoing genocide. His failure to act against the genocide in a timely manner will strengthen assertions, that he is “pro China” or “under the influence of Beijing,” made by his critics and serve to discredit him.

Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet are other nations being targeted by China. Have you seen any ‘solidarity’ from the leaders of these countries?

Many people in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet have shown solidarity to our plight, in many ways we all face a common threat, the threat of China, however we need to coordinate our efforts and cooperate in a more active manner to counter the existential threat we face.

Taiwan has a more unique role given that is an independent nation with different resources that are not yet available to those of us in East Turkistan, Hong Kong, and Tibet, thus it should pool its resources and assist us in any ways it can.

Salih Hudayar – Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile

What would you like to see happen from now? From any and all of the nations or individuals mentioned above?

Governments across the globe, especially western and democratic nations, need to uphold their legal and moral commitments under international law – such as the UN Genocide Convention, the UN’s Responsibility to Protect Commitment, and their own national laws on human rights and genocide.

A coordinated effort to push back against China’s genocide should be made at both a national and international level.

Maximum political and economic pressure must be applied on China. All countries need to recognize the genocide and the status of East Turkistan as an occupied country; they need to support East Turkistan and its people politically, financially, and diplomatically. Every country can do their part accordingly based on the available resources and political capital that they possess. Ultimately, the only way that we can truly end this ongoing genocide is by restoring East Turkistan’s independence as a democratic, pluralistic Republic guaranteeing human rights and freedom for all of its people.

The international community should support our case against China at the International Criminal Court and apply pressure on the International Olympics Committee to relocate the upcoming Winter 2022 Olympics from China to a country that is not engaging in genocide and other crimes against humanity.

Salih Hudayar – Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile

In addition on the back of a recent decision in Canada, we thank Canada’s Parliament for officially recognizing China’s atrocities against the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan as genocide But, we call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian Cabinet who abstained from this vote to also recognize the genocide and urgently act to end it!

Will the day ever come when these goals are achieved?

History often repeats itself, and just like the lack of international action made this genocide ultimately inevitable, the growing threat that China poses to humanity will make it inevitable that the international community responds and act against the greatest evil it has been faced with since the Holocaust. We are hopeful that the international community will act sooner than later.

For every moment that we lose, the greater the loss of lives in East Turkistan and the greater the threat of China will be for the international community as a whole.

Salih Hudayar – Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile

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