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Post Tagged with: "Uyghur PEN Centre"

 
  • 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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  • China: Free Ilham Tohti

    PEN International 21 February 2018 Ilham Tohti, a Uyghur scholar sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of of separatism, in 2010 was focus PEN case for Mother Language Day in 2015. On International Mother Language Day, PEN International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the imprisoned Uyghur writer Ilham Tohti. 21 February 2018 – Tohti is a public intellectual from China’s Uyghur minority and one the world’s foremost scholars on Uyghur issues. Arrested in January 2014, charged with ‘Splittism’ (advocating separatism) in July 2014, and convicted following an unfair trial on 23 September 2014, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and confiscation of all his property. Tohti’s appeal against his conviction and sentence was rejected in November 2014. Tohti has never promoted violence or separatism. In 2006, he co-founded the website Uyghur Online, aimed at promoting understanding between Uyghurs and Han Chinese. But his criticism of the Chinese authorities for their heavy-handed treatment of the Uyghur minority made him the target of frequent harassment. Following his initial arrest, the Bureau of Public Security for Urumqi alleged that Tohti had been using the website as a platform to recruit followers. PEN International first began working on Tohti’s case in 2009, following his detention for speaking out about ethnic unrest that broke out in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), on 5 July 2009. Initially placed under house arrest, he was later transferred to an unknown location where he was kept incommunicado before being released six weeks later. Further harassment followed, including periods spent under house arrest. Tohti is a member of Uyghur PEN and received the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award in 2014. He was an honorary Empty Chair at PEN International’s world congress in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in 2014. Take Action: Write to the Chinese government: Calling for the […]

     
  • Let’s write for freedom, let the “Wild pigeon” go free!

    Aziz Isa ElkunSecretary of PEN International Uyghur Centrewww.azizisa.org/en ئەركىنلىك ئۈچۈن يازايلى، «ياۋا كەپتەر» ئەركىن پەرۋاز قىلسۇن * Presentation at “The First International Conference of Four-PEN Platform” held in Malmö City hall in Sweden on 28 August 2017. Dear ladies and gentlemen, friends and colleagues of the PEN, I am honoured to be here to speak on behalf of the Uyghur PEN Center and for the Uyghur people who are almost entirely denied freedom of expression by China in this digital era of the 21st century ! As we are writers, translators and intellectuals in many artistic and cultural fields gathered here to find common ground – the slogan ‘no enemies, no hatred’ is easily said, but in the current reality for Uyghurs in their homeland of East Turkestan (also known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region), who are now suffering from unprecedented oppression and lack of rights, this is a hard goal to achieve. But the hate that separates us from each other – which may be based on race, religion or gender or other types of discrimination – will fail, because that hate is artificially bred by governments or other power holders to achieve their aims. The history of humanity always reminds us that tolerance and forgiveness are the only remedies that can achieve peace and prosperity for all of us in the global village. The author of the “Wild Pigeon” – Numuhammet Yasin – is still kept in a Chinese prison since 2004. I recently found an old newspaper dating back to 1992, in which our poems were published in the same column. But I am free and my colleague is in prison. I was at university in the same year as Ilham Tohti, and until few months before his arrest, we kept email exchange. Now he is sentenced […]

     
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