by M.H Uyghur
I am Halmurat, it is great honer for me to stand in front of you to testify my witness about Urumqi massacre, which has happened 2009 July 5th in Urumqi, the capital city of the Uyghur autonomous region (Uyghurs prefer to call their homeland East Turkestan). On July 10, nearly a week after the violence in Urumqi, the Chinese Government publicly announced the death toll of the violence. They said that out of the 184 that were killed, 46 were Uyghur and the rest was Han Chinese.
July 5th, the Chinese police were present on the People’s Square in Urumqi before the Uyghur protesters arrived and that they started kicking, beating and arresting the protesters at their arrival. A well-prepared and initially peaceful protest turned violent within a few hours.
The fact that the Uyghur demonstrators carried Chinese flags shows that they did not intend for the protest to turn violent. Chinese authorities knew about the upcoming protest by its announcement on the Internet. They had an opportunity to make arrangements on how to deal with it. The protest started as reported around 5:00pm local time (7:00pm Beijing time). The police’s beating, chasing and arrests started immediately and lasted for many hours. By 8:30pm local time, the police chased Uyghur protesters into three alleyways (Old Malbazar alleyway near Sanshihangzi, Haba alleyway near No. 28 Elementary School, and the one near the Border Hotel) and cut off the electricity of the city of Urumqi for 90 minutes. In these 90 minutes, the police, fully armed with armored vehicles and machine guns, surrounded the crowds and fired with full military power. The sound of gunshots can be heard in many YouTube videos made that night. Adam Grode, an English teacher living in the neighborhood where the crackdown took place, said that by midnight, when some of the armored vehicles had already left, the gunfire could still be heard. According to witness reports, an estimated 1000 or more people, most of them ethnic Uyghurs, were shot dead during that one and a half hour period of time. The Turkish Prime Minister has compared this violence to genocide.
I personally know two Uyghur victim, who were disappeared after the Urumqi Massacre. Mahmutjan Memet and his brother Erkin Memet. They are from Shah village (Xiaxiang) of Toqsun(Tukesun). They were brothers from a same family, their mother was widowed after their father passed away on a traffic accident on Toksun-Urumqi highway. Mahmutjan was a senior student of Xinjiang University, Erkin was a freshman student in Xinjiang Normal University. Autumn 2016, during my last visit to Uyghur region, I learned that their mother passed away, their house sold to someone. Regret to say that, they are one of many more Uyghur families were victim of the massacre.
According to Uyghur community in Finland, majority of Uyghur migrants to Finland are moved away from the Uyghur region to Finland after the Urumqi massacre. Many of us are direct or indirect victims of the tragedy. Some of our family members were disappeared, some are jailed or punished by capital penalty. Those Uyghur Finnish are keep in silent, because of afraid it will cause more problems to their family members, who are still live in the Uyghur region.
Since Urumqi Massacre, situation in the Uyghur region getting worse year after year, In 2017, Chinese authorities initiated a network of ‘re-education’ camps targeting a number of categories of ‘suspicious’ Uyghurs for political indoctrination. Based on media reports, the estimated number of Uyghurs detained in the camps stands around one million in April 2018 in facilities across the region. Including my parents, there are many of Uyghur’s family members are in detention in the camps. Since April 2017, my mother Göherhan Tömur are arbitrarily detained in to the re-education camp in Turpan, my father too arrested in to the camps since January 2018.
We believe in humanity, my parents always teach me to love, I believe good will win over the evil, I wish all the sufferings will be end. I don’t seek revenge, but the justice have to be return to the Uyghur people.