UAA commemorates 9/11
  • Mon, 09/09/2013 - 20:19

2013-09-10

On the twelfth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks on the United States, the Uyghur American Association (UAA) mourns the loss of innocent lives at hands of terrorism. UAA stands united with Americans of all backgrounds who are rebuilding their lives after September 11 and who have maintained an unwavering commitment to the democratic ideals the United States was founded upon.   

“The people of the United States have shown the world how to stand firm against terrorism. The principled approach the United States has shown in ridding the world of terror stands in stark contrast to those who seek to destroy our liberty and democracy,” said UAA president Alim Seytoff. “The Chinese government, on the other hand, has used the tragedy of 9/11 to justify its wholesale attack on the Uyghur people and their Islamic faith, and it continues to use the rhetoric of 9/11 to harden its repressive policies.”

The Chinese government often conflates Islam with terrorism in order to justify repression of the Uyghur people. A survey undertaken by AP, cited in an AP article dated September 4, 2011, highlighted an increase in terror arrests worldwide in the decade after 9/11. Of the 66 countries surveyed, accounting for 70% of the world’s population, China was one of two countries accounting for half of the 35,117 terror related convictions recorded. The AP article concluded “dozens of countries are using the fight against terrorism to curb political dissent.”

In 2013, Chinese security forces have conducted several alleged terror raids that have resulted in a large number of extra-judicial killings of Uyghurs. The most recent in Yilkiqi in August killed 22 Uyghurs and was preceded by state killings in Maralbeshi in April, Lukchun in June, Hanerik also in June and Akyol in August. 

In the era of the “war on terror,” the Chinese government has attempted to link Uyghur dissidents and groups to international terrorism. Without any independent and open investigation into their claims, Chinese authorities continue to defend their crackdowns in East Turkestan in the name of fighting the “three evil forces of separatism, terrorism, and extremism.” The victims of this brutal campaign carried out under the global war on terror have been the Uyghur people.

Chinese leaders have increasingly used the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a vehicle to target peaceful Uyghur dissent in East Turkestan and Central Asia, enlisting the support of Central Asian governments in their attacks on Uyghurs. Chinese officials view the large Uyghur population living in formerly Soviet Central Asian nations as a threat, and have used bilateral agreements against “terrorism,” joint military exercises and trade relationships under the auspices of the SCO to ensure that Uyghurs find no refuge from China’s long reach in Central Asia.

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