Echoes of the last massacre in East Turkestan

Hamit Gokturk

The echoes continue of the latest massacre on April 23 against Muslims in Bachu county, Kashgar in Chinese-occupied East Turkestan which claimed the lives of 21 people.

After the spokesperson of the so-called Autonomous Regional government confirmed the massacre, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Cung Ying made a statement in Pekin in which he claimed that the incident arose due to “Islamist terrorists” seeking to establish a separate state in the area, but he avoided giving details about the event.

A resident of the region who reached U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Asia reported that the incidents arose when three people connected to paramilitary forces called ‘Social Workers’ and the local government tried to forcefully remove the veil of a female member of the household while searching the house. The massacre occurred when the dispute between the members of the household and the militia turned into a confrontation, and the troops tied to the Chinese occupation forces fired rounds at the home and later set it on fire.


Upon hearing news of the massacre, President of the US-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC) Rebiya Kadeer made statements to the Turkish and international media condemning the events. Kadeer emphasized that China is solely responsible for the management of the incidents, explaining that the Chinese strategies such as continuously transferring Chinese immigrants in the country, intensifying day by day genocide, forcibly removing Uyghur people from their homes and lands in order to grant them to Chinese immigrants, and ethnic discrimination in employment and the economy were triggers for this kind of violence.

Kadeer stated that the Chinese government uses the provoked violence as an excuse for the massacre of the Uyghur Turks who are the historic owners and residents of the region. WUC President Rebiya Kadeer called on the Turkish government to undertake serious initiatives so that the Chinese government will end human rights abuses and repressive policies in East Turkestan.

In a statement about the April 25 events in Bachu county, U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Wintrill demanded that the necessary measures be taken for the protection of the human rights of the Uighurs under Chinese administration, and said that transparent, satisfactory explanation of events were expected.

The massacre in Bachu was covered extensively by the press in Turkey and around the world. All national agencies, particularly the Anadolu Agency and İHA, broadcast the news to their subscribers and secured media coverage of the event.

National and local press organizations, especially World Bulletin, Hurriyet, Turkiye, Milliyet, Yeni Safak, and Star, all TV channels disseminated the news and provided informative broadcasts abour East Turkestan and the Uyghur Turks.

International news agencies such as the BBC, API, and AFP provided news on the subject through their interpretations.
Japan's newspaper with the highest circulation, Ashai Shimbo, announced the events on the first page and supplied information on the historical ties between Turkey and East Turkestan. It explained the Chinese government’s persistent method of using fabricated documents and information to accuse Uighurs of terrorism and to constantly oppress them.

The most striking interpretation of the events in East Turkestan came from a German faculty member at the University of Kagashima in Japan, Dr. W. Balmoo.

In regards to the events in East Turkestan, Prof. Balmoo expressed that the freedom of religion is an right belonging to all individuals, and that the conviction toward holy books such as the Bible and the Qur’an are a relationship between God and individuals.

He said that no matter what the regime, those encroaching on people’s religious beliefs and and seeking to destroy them would themselves disappear sooner or later, and that this was a fiexed destiny throughout history. Professor Balmoo, who closely examined the Uighurs, stated that the Uighurs, who have made many contributions to universal culture and civilization, are a people who would risk their lives for their beliefs.


While the latest massacre resulting from the Chinese occupation forces received wide media coverage, it is noteworthy that as of yet no reaction of condemnation of the incident has been announced by human rights organizations operating in Turkey, especially Turkish NGOs.
The lack of any announcement or expression of opinion from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs express an opinion has created disappointment and grief among the diaspora of East Turkistan.

No explanation can be supplied as to why the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which was closely engaged with the events following the Urumqi massacre on July 5, 2009, has remained silent regarding this latest massacre.