The Ghulja Massacre of 1997 and the Face of Uyghur Genocide Today
By: Zubayra Shamseden
February 5, 2021
Every time I see the deep, round scars on her wrists and arms, I think of the blood flowing out of the holes that made them, dripping onto the floor of that grim torture room in the Ghulja city police station, as she is tortured to confess to crimes that do not exist. She is Saliha, my sister, one of thousands of youths in Ghulja whose lives turned into a nightmare after the Ghulja massacre.
On February 5, 1997, now 24 years ago, Uyghur demonstrators in Ghulja took part in a non-violent protest calling for an end to religious repression and ethnic discrimination in the city. After violently suppressing the demonstration, Chinese authorities arbitrarily detained large numbers of Uyghurs. Human rights organizations documented a pattern of torture in detention and unfair trials of detained Uyghurs. For their alleged role in the events, several Uyghur participants were executed.