Uyghur rights and China

Open Democracy Logo

January 15, 2014 | openDemocracy | By Henryk Szadziewski

In the first few days of the new year, I had a conversation with a refugee from the era of Polish communism. A former teacher, my friend described how the Soviets had set about undermining Polish culture: “The communists tried to stop us from speaking Polish and told the staff at my school that we couldn’t be Catholics. It’s very difficult to describe how terrifying it is to lose control over something as fragile as your identity.”

To anyone who follows the issue of the Uyghur people living in the north-west of the People’s Republic of China (or what the Uyghurs themselves regard as East Turkestan), concerns over cultural loss through government restrictions placed on language use and religious practice are familiar. In specific reference to the Uyghurs, the scholar Arienne Dwyer identified these two aspects of identity as cornerstones of Uyghur distinctiveness.

Read the full op-ed here: