Written evidence submitted by East Turkistan Government in Exile (XIN0078)
East Turkistan Government in Exile
The East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) is the democratically elected official body representing East Turkistan and its people. On September 14, 2004, the government in exile was established in Washington, DC by a coalition of Uyghur and other East Turkistani organizations. The East Turkistan Government in Exile is a democratic body with a representative Parliament. The primary leaders — President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Speaker (Chair) of Parliament, and Deputy Speaker (Chair) of Parliament — are democratically elected by the Parliament members from all over the East Turkistani diaspora in the General Assembly which takes place every four years.
The East Turkistan Government in Exile is submitting this evidence and recommendation to the UK Parliament and the UK Government as it is the leading body representing the interests of not only Uyghurs but all peoples of East Turkistan including Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and Tatars. More importantly, the ETGE has submitted the first ever legal complaint to the International Criminal Court against China and its officials for genocide and other crimes against humanity. We would like the UK Government to assist our community using all available means to seek justice and end to decades of prolonged colonization, genocide, and occupation in East Turkistan.
Brief History of East Turkistan and the Uyghurs
With a history of over 6000 years, according to Uyghur historians like Turghun Almas, the Uyghurs are the natives of East Turkistan. Throughout the millennia, the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples have established and maintained numerous independent kingdoms, states, and even empires. In 1759, the Manchu Qing Dynasty invaded East Turkistan and exercised in-direct control via military outposts, like many great powers at the time, turning East Turkistan into a quasi-military colony with a vassal like relationship. Between 1759-1863, the people of East Turkistan rebelled 42 times against the Qing Dynasty. Some of these rebellions were supported by the British Government in India.
In 1863, Yaqub Beg liberated East Turkistan from Manchu rule and setup the State of East Turkistan/Kashgaria and entered into talks, and even a treaty with the British in 1874. As part of the Great Game, in 1876, the British HSBC financed the Manchu Qing Dynasty’s campaign to conquer East Turkistan in an attempt to prevent Russian conquest. In 1884, the Manchu Qing Dynasty formally incorporated East Turkistan into the Manchu Empire as “Xinjiang” meaning “ the New Territory,” resulting in the colonization and oppression of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples which continues to this day. With the fall of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in 1911, parts of East Turkistan was ruled quasi-independently by Chinese warlords, Uyghur begs (rulers), and other Turkic peoples. By the 1920s, nationalism began to take shape in East Turkistan as a result of intense Chinese persecution against Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples leading to a large rebellion in 1931.
On November 12, 1933, Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and other Turkic peoples declared Independence as the East Turkistan Republic. They sought British support and sent emissaries to London, and New Delhi. (See UK MP William Nunn’s 1934 Memorandum to UK Foreign Office). On April 16, 1934, the East Turkistan Republic was overthrown following Soviet Intervention and Chinese Nationalist (KMT) invasion. For a decade East Turkistan was governed by Chinese warlord Sheng Shicai who initially aligned himself with the Soviets before switching sides to the KMT. It is estimated that some 200,000 Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples were killed under his reign, the present “XUAR” Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo’s reign is compared to that of Sheng.
On November 7, 1944, Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and Tatars rebelled against Chinese rule in Ghulja and declared independence as the East Turkistan Republic on November 12, 1944. The second ETR was initially supported by the Soviets and ultimately used as bargaining chip to secure China’s recognition of Outer Mongolia’s independence. In June 27, 1949, Stalin advised to the CCP to invade East Turkistan to prevent “British involvement.” A month later in August 27, 1949, the core leadership of the ETR was killed in a “plane crash” while around 30 ETR leaders died mysteriously by the end of September 1949. In October 13, 1949, the People’s Liberation Army invaded East Turkistan and officially overthrew the East Turkistan Republic on December 22, 1949. In 1954, Mao established the Bingtuan (Xinjiang Construction and Production Corps) to colonize East Turkistan and in 1955, East Turkistan was renamed to the “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
Since 1949, for over 71 years, China has been engaging in colonization, genocide and occupation in East Turkistan. Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples made up more than 90% of East Turkistan’s population, whereas the Chinese made up up less than 5% of the population at the time of Chinese occupation of East Turkistan in 1949. Today, Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples number around 55% with Chinese making up close to 40% of East Turkistan’s population. Over the past decade, China has made it one of its top national defense goals to “prevent East Turkistan’s independence.”
We recommend that that the UK Parliament / Government reach out directly to us or our lawyer Rodney Dixon, QC for a copy of our filing to the International Criminal Court which has concrete and detailed evidence.
The UK Government being a member of the UN Security Council can play a crucial role in utilizing the UN Human Rights Council and the Genocide Convention to influence China towards better human rights practices by doing the following:
• Supporting the East Turkistan Government in Exile’s complaint to the International Criminal Court and urging other members states to follow suit.
• Formally recognize China’s atrocities against Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples (Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and Tatars) as a genocide as defined under the UN Genocide Convention
• Use its unique position as a member of the UN Security Council to put the East Turkistan/Uyghur Issue on the UN Security Council’s immediate agenda while also filing a complaint, parallel to the ICC complaint, at the International Court of Justice.
• Highlight the clear fact that China is violating the very Charter of the United Nations (Article 1) and apply pressure to expel China from the UN for violating the UN Charter as made clear in Article 6 and for violating the following international agreements:
- UN Charter
- Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
- International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
- International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment
- Convention of the Rights of the Child
The UK can use its influence on countries other than China who are complicit in the persecution of Uyghurs by doing the following:
• Engaging in direct dialogue with said countries
• Issuing official diplomatic de-marches, publicly “shaming” such countries
• Restricting access to UK support (financial or other means), enacting sanctions
UK linked businesses with operations in East Turkistan (“Xinjiang”) or within in China as a whole can be held accountable through:
• Banning of goods Made in China until they can prove otherwise that said goods are not made with the forced / slave labor of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples.
• Chinese-state owned companies and companies run by the Bingtuan (Xinjiang Construction and Production Corp paramilitary) must be sanctioned, barring UK-linked companies from engaging in business dealings with such companies. See the recent U.S. Sanctions of XPCC which has over 800,000 holdings worldwide.
• Encourage UK-linked companies to divest from China and move operations into countries like India, and the Central Asian states (thereby minimizing Chinese influence in Central Asia and expanding British influence).
The UK Government can support Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in the diaspora by doing the following:
• Offering asylum and citizenship to those who fled Chinese persecution
• Provide grants to Uyghur organizations involved in advocacy work like the ETGE, ETNAM, and countless others
• Provide scholarships to educate young Uyghur and other Turkic peoples from East Turkistan in universities within the UK in the fields of political science, diplomacy, international relations, international development, economics, and law
• Help strengthen the Uyghur / Turkic peoples’ democracy in exile, like the East Turkistan Government in Exile, by developing and expanding democratic institutions
• Investigate and counter Chinese intelligence operations to coerce, infiltrate, intimidate, and influence East Turkistani diaspora communities and its organizations
The UK can support the promotion of knowledge and transparency about this issue, both within China and internationally by:
• Setting up a BBC Service specifically in the Uyghur language to highlight their issues and the activities of Uyghur organizations like the ETGE and others while also having a specific section that works with BBC World (English and others) to highlight the issue
• Hold regular events and conferences with the participation of UK Government and its allies to highlight the issue
• Provide funding and expert support to Uyghur organizations like the ETGE and others
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has recently began to play an active role in highlighting the atrocities faced by Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples. However ,the FCDO needs to re-visit its archives and look at the history of the issue in order to truly resolve it. First and foremost, the FCDO must acknowledge the reason why the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan are facing genocide. The UK Government must publicly acknowledge and condemn China’s colonization and occupation of East Turkistan and its must recognize the atrocities as a genocide and treat East Turkistan on par with Tibet. Like the United States, the UK must delist the non-existent “East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM)” from its terrorist list. The “ETIM” was fabricated and first mentioned by China on November 11, 2001, since then China has been using the pre-text of “counter-terrorism” to advance its campaign of colonization, genocide, and occupation in East Turkistan.
Using the correct terminology is important to push back against the oppression. In other words, the UK FCDO and the UK Government must acknowledge and respect the fact that Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples refer to their homeland as East Turkistan and not as “Xinjiang” which is a Chinese colonial term meaning “the New Territory.”
The persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan is nothing new, in fact it's been ongoing for decades. In July 1934, Mr. William Nunn, an MP from Whitehaven sent a memorandum to the UK Foreign Office regarding the situation in East Turkistan and urged the UK Government to consider recognizing and supporting the East Turkistan Republic which had been established on November 12, 1933.
The UK Government needs to assess the issue strategically not just in terms of human rights but also the political rights that are necessary to ensure the human rights, freedoms, and ultimately the very survival of the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan. The UK Government along with allies like the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and India need to address the issue as a coalition. UN Resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960: Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples must be invoked in regards to East Turkistan and Tibet.
The UK and its allies must work to counter China’s neo-imperialist Belt and Road Initiative, which poses a strategic threat the national interests of the UK and its allies, by empowering Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples, pushing back against Chinese influence in Central Asia, and increasing foreign (friendly) investments by UK and its allies in Central Asia.