DECLARATION OF THE FORMATION OF
THE GOVERNMENT-IN-EXILE OF THE
REPUBLIC OF EAST TURKISTAN
September 14, 2004, Capitol Hill, Washington
Fifty years ago (August 27, 1949), a plane carrying the leaders of the Republic of East Turkistan crashed under mysterious circumstances. When the news reached Beijing, Mao Zedong sent in the Communist military, and the occupation of East Turkistan began.
Throughout the intervening years, many have come to the aid and comfort the oppressed, and tried to spread their message of pain and anguish, salved by the hope of freedom and independence for what was once a flourishing civilization. However, the Communists continually, and brutally, snuffed out every candle, silenced every voice, and killed any flower of hope they could find. For years, the people of East Turkistan have wondered: does anyone hear them? Is there a voice abroad for East Turkistan? Is there any entity, a government, an authority that speaks for them?
That wondering: that longing has ended. East Turkistan has found its voice one again.
So that the international community, particularly the United States, can help us in establishing and amplifying that voice, we, the East Turkistani community in exile have established a government of the Republic of East Turkistan in exile. We strongly believe that we can bring hope again to, and be a voice for, the Uyghurs, Kazaks, Kyrghiz, and all other oppressed people of East Turkistan suffering under Communist occupation.
Communist China calls my country Xinjiang province. That fact alone explains much of our purpose. Certain assumptions come from calling this region “Xinjiang.” The most basic is that it is part of China. And from that flow the assumptions that its natives speak Chinese, that they look like East Asians, that they come out of a Confucian tradition, and so on.
All of these assumptions are wrong. As the name “Eastern Turkistan” implies, this vast region has for centuries been the land of the Eastern Turks, who are Muslim by faith, Caucasian by race, and whose native language is not remotely related to Chinese.
Eastern Turkistan, which had remained an independent state for many centuries, was invaded and conquered by the Qing Empire in 1759. During the years which followed, the native people rebelled on numerous occasions against their distant rulers. In 1864, the Turkic people successfully chased the Manchus from their motherland. Their independent state, which they preserved for most of two decades, established diplomatic relations with the Ottoman Empire, Russia, and Great Britain.
The Manchu Empire again gained control of Eastern Turkistan in the early 1880s, declaring on November 18, 1884, that Eastern Turkistan was China's nineteenth province. It was at this time that the imperial viceroy, Tso Tsung-t'ang, officially gave the land its Chinese name: “Sinkiang,” pronounced today as Xinjiang. This new name means “the new territory” or “the new dominion” in Chinese.
The struggle of the Eastern Turkistani people for control of their land has continued in the 20th century. The 1933 Qumul Rebellion led to the resurrection of an independent Eastern Turkistan. A second major uprising in 1944 led to independence again. This was maintained until 1949 when Soviet and Chinese forces combined to crush it. Since this most recent takeover, Beijing has strengthened its occupation of my homeland.
Since then, Eastern Turkistan has become a dungeon for its people. Communist China has been constantly violating the human rights of the East Turkistanis – arresting, torturing, and killing the innocent. Hundreds of thousands of East Turkistanis who have bravely challenged Communist authority have been executed. Many have fled to neighboring countries. Hundreds of thousands have been sent to labor camps. The control of East Turkistan is enforced ruthlessly: many, many thousands of families have suffered from forced sterilizations, forced abortions, and economic penalties.
Beijing's policy toward my country has moved beyond control toward complete assimilation. In recent years China has moved millions of ethnic Chinese into Eastern Turkistan, seeking to dilute the true native populations. Those who arrive from China are given the best jobs and the best pay and the best housing -- all at the expense of the millions of East Turkistanis. Meanwhile, Beijing has attempted to eliminate all aspects of East Turkistani culture, including our religion.
Turkistanis are forced to speak, read and write Chinese, and to dress, eat, sing, dance, and behave as if they are Chinese. Beijing claims to respect “its minorities,” but we who have lived under their rule known that their real policy is one of genocide. Their goal is clear: one day there must be only Chinese in “Xinjiang.”
Communist China's lack of respect for the people of my country has been equaled by its disregard for the very land of Eastern Turkistan. We have become a dumping ground for China's environmental waste. Lop Nor, a region known well by your government, is far more than a research center; it has become a profoundly toxic site of nuclear waste. We will never know how many lives have been prematurely ended by nuclear radiation, how many cancers have been spawned, how many children have been born with deformities. The count of my own people is that there have been half million deaths from radiation alone.
As the diplomats and journalists of the free world tell you, Beijing does not want the world to know of its treatment of the East Turkistani people. They prefer to carry on their repression out of site of the world. Even when natural disaster strikes, Communist China seeks to withhold the information, fearing that aid workers will convey to Americans and others the ongoing horrors of the Communist occupation.
Today, as America fights terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Communists are using the brave struggle that began on 9/11 to justify their repression. They claim to be fighting terrorists and supporters of Osama bin Laden, but it is they – the Communists, not the East Turkestani people, who have laundered bin Laden’s drug money, bought from him unexploded cruise missiles, signed economic agreements with the Taliban, sold missile technology to Syria and Libya, enabled Iran’s nuclear weapons program, integrated Saddam Hussein’s air defenses, and protected North Korea even as it violated promises not to become a nuclear-armed regime.
Communist China would like America to believe East Turkestan is her enemy. To the contrary, it is Communist China who supports terror, and East Turkestanis who oppose it. It is Communist China who tried to stop American troops from defeating the evil forces and behind 9/11, and East Turkestanis who supported the U.S.
Eastern Turkistanis seek to determine their own future. Distinct in every way as a people, they seek the right to select their leaders and control their fate as do other nations around the world. And, we turn to the United States as the most important of those nations.
The people of Eastern Turkistan turn to the United States as so many others seeking freedom and self determination have done over the years. We ask that the United States raise its voice on behalf of the millions of East Turkistanis whose voices are silenced. We ask that you make clear to Beijing that human rights – including the human rights of Eastern Turkistanis – matter to the U.S.
We ask that the United States press the United Nations to investigate the just cause of the East Turkistani people, working directly with their true representatives, the East Turkistani Government In Exile, not the puppets appointed by Beijing.
We ask the United States to continue its pressure that China truly end its nuclear tests, and end its use of our region as a dumping ground for nuclear waste.
We ask that the United States seek the right to visit the prisons and labor camps scattered throughout my homeland. The United States already has laws preventing the import of goods made by prison labor; much of that labor is to be found in my homeland.
The East Turkistani people ask to control their own fate. We seek to join the international community of nations in openness and peace. We seek to share our plentiful natural resources with the peoples of the world: they must not be seen as the private preserve of Beijing.
We turn to the United States of America, as the leader of liberty, justice, and wisdom, hoping that the United States of America will recognize the just cause of freedom and independence of millions of East Turkistanis. We turn to the United States of America and free world for compassion and leadership to put an end to the misery of so many innocent people.
Many Americans do not know East Turkestan, but millions of East Turkestanis know and love America. We hope americans will accept our hand of friendship, and help us achieve the freedom to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the very things Communist China continues to deny to the people of occupied East Turkestan.
Anwar Yusuf Turani
Founder and Prime Minister, East Turkistan Government In Exile