Congressman James McGovern of Massachusetts recently introduced Resolution 953, which calls for the US to raise the issue of Uighur rights with Chinese officials, for an independent investigation in the July crackdown on Uighur protesters, as well as for the establishment of a US consulate in Urumqi and the opening of a meaningful dialogue with China’s government. We support all of these goals.
In the past, the Committee of Concerned Scientists has protested China’s treatment of an Uighur historian, sentenced to eleven years for researching Uighur history, and prevented from leaving China after his release. The report quoted in the July 6, 2010 Washington Post by Carl Gershman in “China’s Invisible Atrocity” shows that China’s action was part of a wide-ranging pattern of violation of the Uighur minority’s human rights. According to the report, Uighur language is not taught in schools and hundreds of books on history and culture have been banned and even burned. Such attacks on minority culture violate Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which China is a signatory. Destruction of a minority’s culture is often the first step in other oppressive measures such as are mentioned in the cited report: forcible repatriation, police brutality, etc., all in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.