UHRP Calls for Accountability for the 2014 Mass Killing of Uyghurs in Elishqu, Yarkand

UHRP logo

For immediate release
July 27, 2023, 12:00 p.m. EDT
Contact: Omer Kanat, +1 (202) 790-1795, Peter Irwin, +1 (646) 906-7722

On July 28, 2014, according to witnesses, Chinese security forces opened fire on peaceful Uyghur demonstrators, killing dozens and injuring hundreds more, in Elishqu Township, Yarkand, in southern East Turkistan. Nine years later, the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) calls for accountability.

“The perpetrators of the Yarkand killings must be held accountable,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. “Numerous cases of state violence, carried out in plain view in 2013 and 2014, demonstrated the government’s increasing repression and disregard of human life. Within a few years, the government had already built the machinery of today’s genocide.”

State violence against Uyghurs during the 2013–2014 period, such as those in Luchkun, Hanerik, and Elishqu, should have been a wake-up call to the international community. 

In 2014, UHRP reported that Elishqu residents were protesting restrictions on religious activity during Ramadan, and the extrajudicial killing of a Uyghur family on July 18, in nearby Bashkent Township.

According to Chinese state media, 96 individuals were killed during the July 28 Elishqu incident, including 59 “terrorists,” shot by Chinese security forces. Citing local sources, exiled Uyghurs questioned the official account and gave much larger estimates of those gunned down by security forces.

The Elishqu incident illustrated the increasing militarization of repression and control in East Turkistan, as well as tighter state controls on information emerging from the region through internet shutdowns and arrests of Uyghur netizens.

Read more:

UHRP remembers the 2014 mass killing of Uyghurs in Elishqu, East Turkistan (UHRP, July 27, 2020)

Legitimizing Repression: China’s “War on Terror” Under Xi Jinping and State Policy in East Turkestan (UHRP, March 3, 2015)

Violence ‘kills or injures dozens’ (BBC, July 30, 2014)

China Says Violent Xinjiang Uprising Left Almost 100 Dead (The Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2014)

Chinese police shoot dozens of attackers dead in Xinjiang region (The Guardian, July 29, 2014)

Dozens of Uyghurs Shot Dead in Riots in Xinjiang’s Yarkand County (Radio Free Asia, July 29, 2014)