The Uighur people: In defence of the minority, their identity and autonomy

Uighur People

Uighur People

I am writing to bring to the attention of the world the horrible condition of the Uighur people and to highlight the persecution and oppression that they are undergoing under the Chinese Empire.

Who are the Uighurs?

According to the BBC report of the same title, April 30, 2014:

“China’s western Xinjiang region has a long history of discord between China’s authorities and the indigenous Uighur ethnic minority.

“The Uighurs are Muslims. They regard themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.

“The region’s economy has for centuries revolved around agriculture and trade, with towns such as Kashgar thriving as hubs along the famous Silk Road.

“In the early part of the 20th Century, the Uighurs briefly declared independence. The region was brought under the complete control of communist China in 1949.

“Xinjiang is officially designated an autonomous region within China, like Tibet to its south.”

I am with China in doing everything that is necessary, within the bounds of their law, to counter and stop terrorism, but to fight terrorism with its own state-sanctioned terrorism, in my view, will not accomplish anything. Worse, it may even fuel the “terrorism” that they intend to curb in the first place.

Though I agree with the Uighur people on their struggle, quest and aim of separating from Beijing and establishing a land of their own that is independent, I am condemning some of them for resorting to senseless violence and terrorism that they are committing against innocent people and civilians in Xinjiang, Beijing and elsewhere.

In the same vein, I am also condemning to the utmost the state sponsored terrorism being committed by China against the Uighur people.

I condemn China categorically for their economic blackmail, economic bias as against the people of Xinjiang, their act of spiritually persecuting and religiously curtailing the beliefs of the Uighurs, their political and cultural repression of these minority people. All these acts are unforgivable and unpardonable!


Under the prevailing condition and present circumstances now in Xinjiang, can China blame the Uighur people who they forced to the wall, if these people will fight back using all means available at their disposal?

Who are the real and true terrorists, with regard to this issue?

Is it a country or an empire that is repressing, oppressing and persecuting their people and citizens who belong in the minority, or it is those persecuted, oppressed and marginalised people who simply wish to fight back for their identity, cultural beliefs and justice?

Who are those “terrorists” in the eyes of China?


They are the Uighur people who: either want an equal right with the Chinese (Han) majority, or who want to separate from China.

Historically, in Xinjiang, the majority of the population are the Uighur, but as reported by Nathan VandelKlippe, “In remote Xinjiang province, Uighurs are under siege,” The Globe and Mail, August 15th:

“Their home territory has, however, experienced tremendous change since the Communist Revolution in 1949. Briefly an independent state in the early 20th century, Xinjiang has in the past few decades become home to vast numbers of ethnic Chinese, many of them sent there by government settlement policies.

“They now outnumber the Uighurs, and continue to arrive, drawn by untrammelled space and the jobs that flow from a land rich in resources.

“But the wealth hasn’t necessarily benefited the Uighur population. As the region’s oil and gas flows east, local filling stations routinely run short, with lineups 150 cars long.”

“Xinjiang accounts for 28 per cent of China’s natural-gas reserves, which are being tapped at a roaring rate by a country eager to fuel its remarkable growth with its own energy. Between 2000 and 2012, gas output increased sixfold, while oil production rose by half. Some 60 per cent of Xinjiang’s gross domestic product is now derived from petroleum.

“And for all the jobs that development has brought, the region has China’s highest rate of unemployed college graduates – 80 per cent of them minorities, many of them Muslim. Job postings sometimes demand Han Chinese outright. A former manager at a large Western company in Urumqi says that, of 400 employees, only 10 were Uighur.”

The terrorist activities, in my view committed by China are the following:

Terrorist Activity 1

In July, the authorities from Beijing “banned the practice of fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan”. Adding insult to injury, they also barred the Salat prayer in mosques.

As reported by Didi Tang of the AP, “China bans Ramadan fast in Muslim northwest”, July 3rd:

“Students and civil servants in China’s Muslim northwest, where Beijing is enforcing a security crackdown following deadly unrest, have been ordered to avoid taking part in traditional fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“Statements posted in the past several days on websites of schools, government agencies and local party organisations in the Xinjiang region said the ban was aimed at protecting students’ wellbeing and preventing use of schools and government offices to promote religion. Statements on the websites of local party organisations said members of the officially atheist ruling party also should avoid fasting.”

According to the officials, their reason in placing the “laws” is “to prevent religious indoctrination by teachers in schools.”

Some of the actual text of the law is as follows:

“Students shall not participate in religious activities; they shall not study scripts or read poems at script and choir classes; they shall not wear any religious emblems; and no parent or others can force students to have religious beliefs or partake in religious activities.”

That is the “law” for the students, below is the “law” for the teachers:

“No teacher can participate in religious activities, instil religious thoughts in students or coerce students into religious activities…”


I don’t believe in the powers that be that their intention is pure and noble, far from it, their “law” is enacted not to promote a secular education system, but to curtail the rights of the Uighur people to their religious, cultural and ethnic rights.

It is my firm view and so hold that the so-called “law” issued by Beijing is not only illegal but undeniably immoral and unjust.


What is the right of the central government to impose their will upon an autonomous region which is utterly different from them?

What is the right of the central government to invade and violate the religious right of their citizens who are a minority and an autonomous administrative region?

Is China aware that that their so-called “law” is a violation of the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights?

Terrorist Activity 2

This month, Beijing banned big beards from buses.

As reported by the Telegraph, “China city bans big beards from buses,” August 6th:

“A city in China’s mainly Muslim Xinjiang region has banned people with large beards or Islamic clothing from travelling on public buses, state media said, prompting outrage from an overseas rights group Wednesday.

“Authorities in Karamay banned people wearing hijabs, niqabs, burkas, or clothing with the Islamic star and crescent symbol from taking local buses, the Karamay Daily reported.

“The ban also covers “large beards”, the paper said, adding: “Those who do not cooperate with inspection teams will be handled by police.””


What is the point?

What is China’s problem with people who sports big beards? What is their issue with those people who wear hijabs, niqabs, burkas?

What is China’s problem with those people whose clothing bears “the Islamic star and crescent symbol?”

Why can’t they ride the public bus?

What is China’s problem with their minority Uighur Muslim population?

Again, is China aware that this stupid and preposterous “law” is a grave violation of the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights?

I thought these people are citizens of China, hence why are the central government making and issuing laws that are only applicable specifically to them?


What is the difference of this law from the law of Hitler compelling the Jews to put into their clothes the Star of David?

China is not only following the discrimination done by the Nazis, but their way of marginalising an already marginalised people is comparably despotic, barbaric and incontestably absurd!

The German human rights spokesman Dilxat Raxit is correct when she says that this ordeal being suffered by the Uighurs will only “lead more conflicts if China uses coercive measures to rule and to challenge Uighur beliefs.”

If the Chinese believe that they can win against the “terrorists” by using their own brand of “terrorism”, they are dead wrong!

If China will not stop from their repression and oppression, then the conflict in Xinjiang will only escalate and it may even spill to other areas.

Terrorism would not be defeated by another kind of terrorism!

China must respect the rights and true well-being of the Uighur people!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
Philosophy and Social Science lecturer
Polytechnic University of the Philippines and Unibersidad de Manila

Categories: Human Rights & Social Issues

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. The condition in Xinjiang and of the Uighur people have been sharply improving since the fondling of the People’s Republic.

    Editor’s Note: In response to the many emails about this poster, we do suspect he’s a paid Chinese internet commentator. However, we believe that all people should be allowed to voice their opinions, not just the ones that agree with our agenda. Therefore, at this stage we will not ban him, but have deleted comments that are blatant Chinese propaganda, and totally unrelated to the article.



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