Human Rights in Focus at Uyghur Studies Conference

Greg Fay, Manager, Uyghur Human Rights Project

Last month, the George Washington University assembled dozens of experts on the study of East Turkestan from around the world in the “First International Conference on Uyghur Studies, History, Culture, and Society. The conference addressed a range of historical, cultural, social and political issues and there was a major focus on human rights.

Speakers in the first session from left to right: Gardner Bovingdon, Kilic Kanat, Sean Roberts, Henryk Szadziewski and Michael Dillon

Speakers in the first session from left to right: Gardner Bovingdon, Kilic Kanat, Sean Roberts, Henryk Szadziewski and Michael Dillon

The life sentencing of Ilham Tohti two days prior to the conference was a specter over the event and permeated many of its proceedings. Not only is Ilham Tohti a respected peer of the academics at the table, but his work also espouses the conference’s purpose to promote and enable dialogue relating to the Uyghur people. China’s harsh sentencing of Professor Tohti signals its growing intolerance for peaceful dialogue. Continue reading

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Q&A With Student of Imprisoned Linguist Abduweli Ayup

Greg Fay, Manager, Uyghur Human Rights Project

Listen to the full interview on SoundCloud and find a transcript below.

Last month, Uyghur linguist Abduweli Ayup was sentenced to 18 months in prison as a result of his language education work. In this interview, Ayup’s former student Michael describes to UHRP Project Manager Greg Fay the threat to the Uyghur language posed by China’s bilingual education policy, the importance of language to the Uyghur people, and the ways in which Ayup successfully worked to promote Uyghur language instruction within China’s system. Michael’s name has been changed to protect his anonymity. Continue reading

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Schools in East Turkestan Suppress Doppa Festival

Greg Fay, Manager, Uyghur Human Rights Project

Listen: UHRP interviews a Uyghur student about suppression of the Doppa festival

May 5, 2014 marked the fifth celebration of the annual Doppa festival, a day to celebrate Uyghur culture on which Uyghurs wear their doppa, a four-cornered hat that is an essential part of Uyghurs’ traditional ethnic clothing. UHRP interviewed a young Uyghur student about his experience of the Doppa festival and its suppression in recent years, which can be heard by hitting play on the SoundCloud link above. Continue reading

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