Press Release – For Immediate Release
5 April 2023
+1 202 599 2244, Ext: 1
Dozens of Uyghurs and American supporters, led by the East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) and East Turkistan National Movement (ETNM) gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol Building to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the 1990 East Turkistan Uprising earlier today. In addition, they demanded that the United States Congress introduce and pass legislation recognizing East Turkistan as an Occupied County.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army violently suppressed Baren township’s April 5, 1990 protests against China’s genocidal colonial policies led by Zeydin Yusup. In response many East Turkistanis took up arms and fought against Chinese military forces in an effort to regain East Turkistan’s independence. Over several days, thousands of unarmed Uyghurs and other Turkic people were brutally massacred and over 7,600 East Turkistanis were arrested, many of whom were tortured, sentenced to long prison terms, and executed.
“The heroic martyrs of Baren demonstrated that the people of East Turkistan were more than willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to liberate their homeland and ensure their independence and existence,” said Haider Jan, the Advocacy Coordinator for the East Turkistan National Movement.
In the three decades since the 1990 Baren Massacre, the China has intensified its colonization, genocide, and occupation efforts in East Turkistan with the clear aim of “preventing East Turkistan’s independence.” Millions of East Turkistanis, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and others have been sent to concentration camps and prisons, where they were subjected to forced labor, forced starvation, forced medication, organ harvesting, rape, sterilization, and even execution.
“What is happening in East Turkistan in 2023 even at this very moment is a “Never Again” situation that the international community is failing to prevent and stop,” said Amannissa Mukhlis, the Women and Family Director for ETNM. “To be clear, what the Chinese government is currently doing in East Turkistan is a 21st century Holocaust-like genocide which almost everyone is aware of but shamelessly ignores,” she added.
The demonstrators called on the international community, particularly the U.S., to uphold its promise of “Never Again” by introducing and passing new legislation and taking concrete action to truly end China ongoing campaign of colonization, genocide, and occupation in East Turkistan.
“Similar to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the conflict between East Turkistan and China is an international conflict between an occupied nation and an occupying nation,” said Prime Minister Salih Hudayar of the East Turkistan Government in Exile. “As such, we call on the U.S. Congress to introduce and pass legislation recognizing East Turkistan as an Occupied Country, similar to Tibet,” he added.
“It is in our common international interest for free nations to assist the people of East Turkistan in crossing over to freedom,” said Mr. Ben Lowsen, a former US Army Attache in Beijing.
The East Turkistan Government in Exile recently conducted a poll on Facebook and Twitter asking Uyghur and other East Turkistani netizens whether they preferred ‘greater autonomy’ under China or ‘an independent state’ as a solution to the ongoing conflict between East Turkistan and China.
Approximately 99 percent of the more than 2400 respondents favored a “independent state” as a solution to the ongoing conflict between East Turkistan and China. This demonstrates that the vast majority of East Turkistan’s people support independence and oppose Chinese occupation.
In light of these facts, the East Turkistan Government in Exile again calls on the U.S. Congress and government to recognize, respect, and support the East Turkistani people’s right to external self-determination and their efforts to restore East Turkistan’s independence.