Considerando l’ultimo anno delle olimpiadi, noi tutti siamo consapevoli della situazione dei diritti umani in Cina. Il trattamento riservato ai tibetani, e ad i loro leaders esiliati, ha suscitato emozioni tra la gente cosi come tra gli attori famosi. Ma una storia è evasa dai riflettori. La storia degli uyghuri  dell’Est Turkestan. Che soffrono continuamente spostamenti, rapimenti, uccisioni. Ma sopratutto sono costretti ad assistere alla distruzione della loro cultura. 
Segue l’articolo in inglese
Following last year’s Olympics, we are all experts on China’s human rights record. The treatment of Tibetans and their exiled leader has stirred emotion in people and famous actors alike. But one story has escaped the spotlight. The Uighur people of East Turkistan, now known as Xianjiang, are suffering displacement, kidnap and murder at the hands of a state seemingly bent on destroying their ancient culture.
Uighur people are Muslims of Turkish origin, with communities spread throughout Europe and Asia. But for almost a millennium the East Turkistan region of China has been their home, with an Uighur population of around ten million. The autonomy of this region has been broadly accepted by Chinese governments from the Manchurians to the commies. But since 9/11, Uighurs have been exposed to a new and venomous anti-Muslim sentiment, with the government using terror laws as a stick with which to beat them.
Dr. Enver Tohti is head of the UK Uighur Association, a body lobbying to bring attention to his people’s suffering. He spoke recently at a London based exhibition entitled Uighurs: China’s forgotten Muslims, which featured information from the Islamic Human Rights Commission and photojournalism from Per Engstrom. Tohti is in no doubt that the American agenda post 9/11 has legitimised China’s brutality. “We are sympathetic to the people who suffered, but it taught everyone a new word; ‘terrorism’. Before the government had problems with us but always denied it. Now they are making a statement; ‘I support the war on terror and I’ve got terrorists in my back yard’. It’s a license to kill”.
China’s post 9/11 terror laws ban Uighurs from practicing their religion or teaching their language in schools, while people found to have books written in Arabic are subject to interrogation. Political dissent is habitually punished with imprisonment or even the death penalty. “It (death) is not just for extreme cases,” Tohti says. “To get a death penalty you only need to say ‘we want a free country’ and that is treason. The Chinese constitution makes that a capital offence.” 1,300 Uighurs were arrested on state security charges in 2008, double the previous year’s figures. “It can happen to absolutely anyone”.
Amnesty believe the savage treatment is a way of controlling the separatist movement in East Turkistan, with the war on terror a pretext to destroy a perceived threat to state control. Their reports verify the mass closure of schools and mosques. China is also notoriously intolerant of political protest. There is a standard 30 day imprisonment for agitating, which works as an effective deterrent. Despite this, there have been flashpoints. A 1990 uprising in the village of Baren left at least seven police officers dead, leading to brutal retaliation. Although the Chinese policy of keeping death certificates a secret makes it difficult to be sure of how many were killed, most reports indicate a figure in the 100s.
In stark contrast to Tibet, international support has been hard to come by. Tohti says that Amnesty did help to bring the issues to light until their UK representative was changed and the campaign tailed off. In 2005, Condoleeza Rice’s visit to China prompted the government to release political prisoner Rebiya Kadeer, president of the Uighur world Congress.
But generally the Muslim world has not provided support for the Uighurs. “When Muslim delegates visit China they are shown well decorated mosques and the people enjoying good treatment. Lord Ahmed (the UK’s only Muslim Lord) from the UK came back with a very good report.” Part of the reason why Muslims from other countries are less supportive is a distaste for the Uighur’s moderate, Sufi form of Islam. “We drink and smoke, so they think we are not true Muslims. We are trapped – Muslim enough to be terrorists, but not enough for our people to help us.”
China has been clever enough to make friends in the Muslim world. Nineteen new trade agreements since 2004 have cemented their links with Turkey, which has led to greater co-operation. “Turkey has bad relations with their neighbour countries, so that they cannot trade for new weapons. Then last year they sign extradition treaties to send our people back to prison in China. In return China give them middle and long range missiles.” There is also the tragic case of Huseyin Celil, a Canadian Uighur arrested and imprisoned while visiting family in Uzbekistan. He now faces extradition to China, where human rights groups fear he may be tortured or killed.
Tohti believes that his own campaigns may put him at risk, despite having lived in the UK for almost a decade “They have very good informers, so whatever I do they know. The file on me was taken to my family and they say ‘look, tell your son to keep quiet.'”
But he won’t and is happy to speak about the most sinister development yet. He believes that almost a quarter of a million Uighur women have been transported to inner China since 2004. “It is a very secret campaign. In the name of employment solutions, our women are taken to cities and put to work in factories. But the main reason is for the men. For the Uighurs to legally settle, they must be married to a Chinese man”. For Tohti, this campaign, which cannot be verified by human rights groups, amounts to forced labour and prostitution. He believes this may be an insult too far and one that turns tension into outright violence. For the Chinese Government, that may be exactly the point.
posted on DossierTibet, 27 april 2009