The Uyghurs are a muslim ethnic group who live primarily in the Xinjiang province. Since 1949 the chinese regime has tried to eradicate their language, culture and religion. Many have been sent to prisons or labour camps and from 1964 to 1996, extensive nuclear weapons tests were carried out in the area, which has led to many deaths. China is the only country in the world that conducts nuclear weapons tests near populated areas
From 1944 to 1949, the region enjoyed independence under the name East Turkestan, But it became a part of the People’s Republic of China when it was formed in 1949.
Xinjiang is China’s largest province, covering 17% of its total territory. It has important natural resources like oil, and the region is also a gateway to Central Asia. This makes Xinjiang a key area in Chinese domestic politics.
Persecution in Xinjiang is mainly, but not exclusively, focused on Uyghurs, the largest ethnic group in the region.
Examples of religious persecution is the banning of Ramadan celebrations, the shutting down of mosques and religious schools. Illegal religious practice is punishable by imprisonment or even execution.
Peacefully opposing the government’s policies has resulted in imprisonment, and in some cases torture and execution. According to sources, tens of thousands of people have been punished for expressing their opinions and for joining peaceful organizations that oppose government policies.
Xinjiang is the only Chinese province where people are executed for so-called political crimes. Refugees can also testify to being brutally tortured in captivity and how demonstrators are severely beaten.
Advocates for independence are persecuted even outside of China, and have been immediately executed when the Chinese government has managed to bring them back to China. Since 2001, the Chinese government has intensified the persecution under the guise of “war on terror”.
The violent response to demonstrations in the city of Urumqi on July 5, 2009, is one of the most serious crimes against the Uyghurs. Massacres and clashes between Uyghurs and Chinese police have occurred before in Xinjiang, but not with such high casualties.
Read more at: www.uyghuramerican.org or www.uhrp.org