The discovery of the Uyghurs

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July 10, 2009 | openDemocracy | By Henryk Szadziewski

The unrest in China’s western province of Xinjiang – known to the Uyghurs as East Turkestan – has focused the world’s attention on a comparatively neglected people. It is long overdue, says Henryk Szadziewski of the Uyghur Human Rights Project.

Anyone working on Uyghur human-rights concerns becomes used to a degree of surprise and unpredictability. I should have been ready, then, for the descent of the world’s media on our small offices at the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) – and, despite the tragic events in Urumqi, glad of the wave of attention to matters that are routinely neglected. However, to those who closely follow Uyghur issues, it has been a time of sadness and regret as well as an chance to tell long-buried stories of repression and campaigning for justice.

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