Press Release – For Immediate Release
28 November 2022
+1 202 599 2244, Ext: 1
On Monday, November 28, 2022, a group of several dozen Uyghurs gathered in front of the U.S. State Department in Washington, DC to protest the deaths of up to 44 Uyghurs in a tragic apartment fire in East Turkistan last week, and called on the international community to intervene to end China’s ongoing genocide in East Turkistan.
The East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) and the East Turkistan National Movement (ETNM) organized the rally.
A fire broke out on the 15th floor of a Uyghur apartment complex in Urumchi’s Tengri Tagh district on Thursday, November 24, 2022. The fire quickly extended to the 19th level, killing and injuring dozens of Uyghurs, including children.
The Chinese authorities recorded 10 deaths, but social media reports from individuals who lost loved ones indicate that the number of Uyghurs killed was much higher. The Urumchi fire killed 44 people, according to hospital personnel’ remarks on Chinese social media.
“Hundreds of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan have died as a result of forced hunger and intentional medical neglect after being imprisoned in their homes by the Chinese government for “covid lockdowns” since August 2022,” ETGE Acting Foreign Minister Dr. Aziz Suleyman said. “Uyghurs both inside and outside of East Turkistan are shocked and indignant after hearing the tragic news of nearly four dozen Uyghurs dying in the Urumchi fire,” he continued.
The fatal Urumchi fire triggered protests across China against “zero-covid” lockdowns, but Uyghurs in East Turkistan were unable to demonstrate or even hold a memorial to pray for the victims of the deadly fire, which killed up to 44 Uyghurs. This is because, while the Chinese government allows the Chinese to demonstrate and even respond to some of their requests, it routinely massacres peaceful Uyghur protestors and brands them “terrorists.”
“The Chinese government’s deliberate failure to put out the fire in time, as well as its subsequent censoring of Uyghur deaths, show that it is using its so-called “zero covid” lockdowns to conceal its genocide in East Turkistan,” ETGE Prime Minister Salih Hudayar said.
As the Chinese government continues its systematic campaign in Occupied East Turkistan to implement the fascist, racist Chauvinistic fallacy of “Zhonghua Minzu” or “the Chinese nation,” millions of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and other Turkic peoples remain interned in prisons, concentration camps, and enslaved in forced labor camps.
“We implore the United States government and the international community to take stronger measures to hold China accountable and put an end to its ongoing genocide in East Turkistan, such as urging the International Criminal Court to investigate China’s ongoing genocide in East Turkistan,” ETGE Prime Minister Salih Hudayar said. “We also ask the United States and other countries to address East Turkistan in the same way that they treat Tibet, by naming a Special Coordinator for East Turkistani Issues and recognizing East Turkistan as an Occupied Country,” he added.
The People’s Republic of China invaded East Turkistan on October 12, 1949, and toppled the independent East Turkistan Republic on December 22, 1949. Since then, the Chinese government has falsely claimed that East Turkistan is “a part of China” and that Uyghurs are “members of the Chinese family.” Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples have consistently worked to reclaim their freedom and independence over the last 73 years.
The ETGE has long called on the international world to recognize East Turkistan’s right to external self-determination and to assist East Turkistan’s struggle for independence, so that Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples can maintain their freedoms and human rights and continue to exist.