Uyghur solidarity with Southern Mongolians: the world must stand up before it is too late

For immediate release
September 4, 2020 5:40pm EDT
Contact: Uyghur Human Rights Project
+1 (703) 217-7266, +1 (646) 906-7722

Uyghurs around the world stand in strong solidarity with Southern Mongolians as they defend their language. Uyghurs salute and support the peaceful efforts by Mongolian students to stop the erasure of their language in their homeland of Uvur Mongol (English: Southern Mongolia), often referred to as "Inner Mongolia."  

"The nightmare of the Uyghurs is coming to life for Southern Mongolians," said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. "The world must not ignore the warning signs of cultural genocide underway in Uvur Mongol."

Uyghurs know that the step-by-step elimination of native language education is a red flag for slow-motion cultural genocide. UHRP's documentation of Chinese state policies regarding the Uyghur language over the past decade serve as a roadmap for the erasure of a language and ultimately a people. 

"Atrocity crimes on a much more horrific scale cannot be ruled out for the future," Mr. Kanat said, "including mass detention and forced labor, and other crimes against humanity."

Southern Mongolians are right to raise their voices while they still can. UHRP calls on all academic societies and universities to suspend cooperation with Chinese state-run counterparts to protest the unmistakable markers of cultural genocide. Governments must strongly condemn the Chinese government's harsh reprisals against cultural rights defenders, and mobilize an emergency response by UN human rights bodies. 

UHRP is extremely concerned by reports that  more than a hundred individuals have been listed as wanted by the local Public Security Bureau in the Municipality of Tongliao. Similar wanted postings have been issued by the Public Security authorities in a number of districts across the region. The posters denounce the “suspects” as “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and offer a 1,000-yuan bounty for information leading to apprehension. 

Severe punishment of cultural-rights defenders continues decades of harsh repression of Southern Mongolian human rights defenders, documented by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, e.g., “China: Wave of Arbitrary Detentions in Inner Mongolia” (Amnesty: 1996). UHRP fears further escalation of repression and additionalsteps by the Chinese government to criminalize Southern Mongolians' expression of their distinct identity, religious practice and beliefs, traditions, history, literature, arts, traditional livelihoods, and private family life.

UHRP calls on the international community not to ignore the warning signs of cultural genocide. The case of theUyghur language illustrates that step by step repression of linguistic rights served as a red flag for cultural erasure, and ultimately an all-out state assault on the Uyghurs as a people.

See also:

REPORT: Uyghur Language Under Attack: The Myth of “Bilingual” Education in the People’s Republic of China (2007)

UPDATE: A Visit to Tongxin Middle School (2010)

UPDATE: My beloved school’s name will be wiped out from East Turkistan history (2011)

REPORT: Uyghur Voices on Education: China’s Assimilative ‘Bilingual Education’ Policy in East Turkistan (2015)

UPDATE: UHRP Celebrates 1st International Uyghur Language Day (2015)

UPDATE: China: policies aimed at diminishing status of the Uyghur language in society and education a human rights violation (2016)

UPDATE: Zubayra Shamseden Discusses Uyghur Language Transmission at Academic Conference (2017)

UPDATE: UHRP Alarmed by Ban of Uyghur Language in Hotan Schools (2017)

UPDATE: International Uyghur Language Day 2017: Linguistic rights a cornerstone in protecting Uyghur identity (2017)

UPDATE: China: Close the ‘reeducation camps’ and explain forced Chinese language indoctrination (2018)

SPECIAL REPORT: Resisting Chinese Linguistic Imperialism: Abduweli Ayup and the Movement for Uyghur Mother Tongue-Based Education (2019)

OP-ED: A language under attack: China’s campaign to sever the Uyghur tongue (2019)

BRIEFING: Assault on the Uyghur Language in East Turkistan (2019)