Exiled East Turkistan government condemns China's renaming of village, calls it cultural genocide

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
4 Min Read
Exiled East Turkistan government condemns China's renaming of village, calls it cultural genocide


The East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) on Thursday expressed deep concern over China's renaming of villages in East Turkistan, calling it a deliberate attack on the cultural and historical identity of the region.

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ETGE condemned these actions, saying they are part of China’s broader strategy to erase East Turkistan’s rich heritage, and stressed the urgent need for global intervention to stop this genocidal campaign.

According to the ETGE, the historically independent nation of East Turkistan was annexed by the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Since then, China has systematically renamed more than 3,600 villages in the region, replacing Uighur and other Turkic names with Chinese words.

As highlighted in a recent Human Rights Watch report, the move underscores China’s effort to suppress the cultural and religious heritage of the indigenous people of East Turkistan.

“The erasure of the names of Uyghur villages by the Chinese invaders is a well-planned attempt to erase our history and identity. These Uyghur names are not just words; they reflect our culture, our faith, and our connection to the land of East Turkistan,” commented Mamtimin Ala, chairman of the East Turkistan government-in-exile.

The ETGE has detailed China’s sweeping campaign of repression in East Turkistan, including mass internment, torture, enforced disappearances, and forced sterilization targeting Uighur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and other Turkic populations. It described these actions as genocidal and colonial, aimed at assimilating and dominating the region.

“The systematic erasure of our villages, towns, cities and even our country's name is not only an attack on our heritage, but a direct assault on our existence. China's genocidal colonial acts aim to deprive us of our identity, our history and our future,” Ala said.

Calling for international action, the ETGE urged relevant governments and the United Nations to hold China accountable for its actions in East Turkistan. It stressed the importance of preserving the cultural and religious heritage of the region, and asserted that the disappearance of village names with deep historical and religious significance has had a profound impact on the daily lives and identity of the people of East Turkistan.

“We urge the international community to take advantage of all available forums, including the upcoming UN Human Rights Council sessions, to demand an end to Beijing's long campaign of colonisation, genocide and occupation in East Turkistan,” ETGE said.

ETGE in the statement urged the international community, relevant governments and the United Nations to take concrete actions to hold the Chinese government accountable and question them for their heinous genocide and colonization of East Turkistan.

Furthermore, ETGE also said, “We urge the international community to take advantage of all available forums, including the upcoming UN Human Rights Council sessions, to demand an end to Beijing's long campaign of colonisation, genocide and occupation in East Turkistan.”

The ETGE statement also said that the only way to end this ongoing genocide and colonialism is the restoration of East Turkistan's independence.



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