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Uyghur PEN Centre Conference in Crimea 19 July 2012.
 

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  • Keeping the Uyghur Culture Alive in Exile

    03/03/2021. RUTH INGRAM BITTER WINTER MAGAZINE Non-Chinese culture is repressed or reduced to a tourist attraction in Xinjiang. But exile and sorrow have produced a flurry of poetry and creativity among the diaspora. by Ruth Ingram A #MeTooUyghur campaign organized by the anonymous @SuluArtco activist collective, set up to raise awareness about disappearing Uyghur intellectuals. Strange bedfellows; tear gas and poets, tasers and writers, electric cattle prods, handcuffs and artists; folklorists and pepper spray. But when orders come down from the top to break Uyghur lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins, and CCP procurement figures for a secret network of transformation through education camps include instruments of torture, the pieces of the puzzle start to make sense. No one willingly walks into the annihilation of their culture. Unreasonable force will be part of the deal. Not content with rounding up so-called “holy warriors,” “splittists” and “the politically dangerous” for Beijing’s euphemistically named “vocational training” program, more than 400 academics have also been dragged into the black hole of internment and the disappeared since the start of a program of cultural annihilation, which began in 2017. Unlike most Uyghurs who were corralled into 24/7 Chinese language classes and political indoctrination, these university professors, writers, poets, singers, and dancers are fluent Mandarin speakers and often loyal Party members. Accused of being two-faced traitors and half-hearted supporters of the regime, these intellectuals’ only crime is their love for Uyghur history and culture, and their desire to see their nation flourish. They have all without exception vanished, and with them a vital bridge to the intangible cultural heritage they embody. Uyghur writers, poets, and academics gathered online last week to commemorate UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day and the 100-year anniversary of PEN International, a worldwide association of writers, founded in London in 1921 to promote literature and defend […]

     
  • Qurban Mamut, a retired Uyghur editor held incommunicado in China

    Published by Uyghur PEN on 15th February 2021 Qurban Mamut, a 70 years old poet, prominent journalist, and retired editor for an Uyghur language magazine the “Xinjiang Civilization”, was held in incommunicado by Chinese authority since February 2018, according to his son Bahram Qurban, who said the arrest is being used as leverage against him because he is living in exile in the U.S.  Bahram said to the Radio Free Asia on 18 October 2018 “My father never committed any crime, but the authorities regularly arrest people who have relatives living abroad [to gain leverage over them]. I believe that is why he was arrested. While it isn’t my fault, I feel that I am the reason for his arrest.”[1] After Qurban Mamut stayed incommunicado at the “Re-education Camp’ for more than three years, his son’s tirelessly campaigned and searched about his father. Finally, one Han Chinese staffer at the Xinjiang Hall of Public Culture told Bahram that she knew his father’s detainment.[2] He worked as a reporter and editor at Xinjiang Radio Station from 1976 to 1984, and Vice Editor-in-Chief at one of the most well-known magazines, Xinjiang Civilization, from 1985 to 2011. He was never a member of the Chinese Communist Party. In 2011, he retired at age 61. After he retired, he worked part-time as a requested Editor-in-Chief at Xinjiang Science Publishing house. In his more than 40 year career, he made tremendous contributions to Uyghur journalism and culture. Qurban Mamut ((库尔班 ·⻢木提), he visited his son Bahram Qurban[3] in the US in February 2017. His son, a U.S. citizen, believes that having relatives outside China is the reason behind his father’s detention. A source told him in September 2018 that Qurban Mamut had been sent to a “transformation-through-education” facility. Given his age and lack of information about his condition, there are severe concerns for […]

     
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  • ‘Our souls are dead’: how I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs

    After 10 years living in France, I returned to China to sign some papers and I was locked up. For the next two years, I was systematically dehumanised, humiliated and brainwashedby Gulbahar Haitiwaji with Rozenn Morgat The man on the phone said he worked for the oil company, “In accounting, actually”. His voice was unfamiliar to me. At first, I couldn’t make sense of what he was calling about. It was November 2016, and I had been on unpaid leave from the company since I left China and moved to France 10 years earlier. There was static on the line; I had a hard time hearing him. “You must come back to Karamay to sign documents concerning your forthcoming retirement, Madame Haitiwaji,” he said. Karamay was the city in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang where I’d worked for the oil company for more than 20 years. “In that case, I’d like to grant power of attorney,” I said. “A friend of mine in Karamay takes care of my administrative affairs. Why should I come back for some paperwork? Why go all that way for such a trifle? Why now?” The man had no answers for me. He simply said he would call me back in two days after looking into the possibility of letting my friend act on my behalf. My husband, Kerim, had left Xinjiang in 2002 to look for work. He tried first in Kazakhstan, but came back disillusioned after a year. Then in Norway. Then France, where he had applied for asylum. Once he was settled there, our two girls and I would join him. Kerim had always known he would leave Xinjiang. The idea had taken root even before we were hired by the oil company. We had met as students in Urumqi, the largest city in Xinjiang province, and, as new […]

     
  • Free Yalqun Rozi

    Uyghur PEN Centre 10 August 2020 A public figure, journalist, writer and literary critic, born in Atush in 1966, and graduated from Xinjiang University in 1987. He worked as a journalist for Urumchi People’s Radio Broadcasting. From 1991, he worked as an editor for “Xinjiang Education” newspaper, and from 2005, he worked as an editor for Xinjiang Education Publishing. He is author of many of books and articles about Uyghur education, literary criticism, modern history and various Uyghur historical and social issues. He was detained in October 2017 soon after he returned from a trip abroad. Since then we have learned that he has been sentenced to a 15 year prison term, but we are unable to get official confirmation.  On 14th July 2018, Uyghur PEN Centre submitted Yalqun Rozi’s case to the PEN International Writers in Prison Committee along with other five prominent Uyghur writers whom arbitrarily locked inside the interment camps or arrested in the Uyghur Autonomous region of China. These Uyghur writers’ cases were debated taking concern the general worsening Uyghur situation during the 84th PEN International Congress held in Pune, India from 25-29 September 2018. In 2019, PEN International Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) officially accepted these Uyghur writers cases and started campaigning for their release with 146 PEN Centres globally including the Uyghur PEN Centre and other relevant international organizations. Tumaris wants to see her father, Yalqun Rozi. A leading intellectual who was detained in late 2016 and later sentenced to 15 years. She demands his immediate release. Relevant source:https://www.rfa.org/uyghur/xewerler/siyaset/radiyomizgha-mektup-09242018150730.html

     
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