Taiwanese NGOs voice support for Uyghurs' independence

On East Turkestan Independence Day, an event was organized outside Taiwan's Legislative Yuan, Ho Chao-Tung, who is also the president of the Taiwan East Turkestan Association.
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Representative ImageReuters

TAIPEI (Taiwan): Several Taiwanese NGOs voiced their support for Uyghurs' struggle to build a sovereign nation and called others to take a stand against China's oppression of the minority group, Focus Taiwan reported.

In an event, Secretary-general of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights Shih Yi-Hsiang said, "As human rights workers in Taiwan, the least we can do is speak out for the Uyghurs on the anniversary of the establishment of the East Turkestan Republics."

On East Turkestan Independence Day, an event was organized outside Taiwan's Legislative Yuan, Ho Chao-Tung, who is also the president of the Taiwan East Turkestan Association.

In the event, he said that the Uyghurs had been deprived of even the most basic human rights ever since they lost their sovereignty during the 1949 invasion of East Turkistan by the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Uyghurs have been struggling for years to establish an independent East Turkestan.

In 1933, Uyghurs succeeded in establishing East Turkistan Republics but it lived for a short period of time. Then, in 1944, they again established the East Turkistan Republics but this also didn't live for longer periods of time, according to Focus Taiwan.

This year, in August, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet released her report which stated that China has committed "serious human rights violations" against the Uyghur and "other predominantly Muslim communities" in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Published on Bachelet's final day of her four-year term in office, the report said that the violations have taken place in the context of the Chinese Government's assertion that it is targeting terrorists among the Uyghur minority with a counter-extremism strategy that involves the use of so-called Vocational Educational and Training Centres (VETCs), or re-education camps.

The CCP's repressive rule of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang is aimed at forcing them to conform to Han Chinese culture and has fueled the Uyghurs' distrust of the Chinese regime, Ho said.

Wu'er Kaixi, an Uyghur national who was a student leader during the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, said he continues to hope that democracy and freedom will one day prevail in China, because a democratic system would give the people there the right to self-determination, reported Focus Taiwan.

If China one day embraces democracy, perhaps the subjugated East Turkestan Republic would be able to gain independence, said Wu'er Kaixi, secretary-general of Taiwan's Parliamentary Human Rights Commission.

The commemorative event in Taipei was attended mainly by NGOs focused on human rights in Tibet and Hong Kong. It also featured the hoisting of the national flag of the East Turkestan Republics and the playing of the national anthem, according to Focus Taiwan.

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