Uyghur leader gives Chinese diplomats a history lesson at UN

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Uyghur leader gives Chinese diplomats a history lesson at UN

Aziz Isa
Uyghur leader gives Chinese diplomats a history lesson at UN
The meeting at the UN in which Chinese representatives met with representatives from Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Tibet was marked by the diplomatically discourteous actions of the Chinese representatives and Rebiya Kadeer's speech.

World Bulletin/News Desk

Heated debates arose during the “Human Rights in China” meeting organized in Geneva by the UN between Uyghur representatives and Chinese diplomats. The meeting chaired by Croatian Foreign Minister Paul Seferovich was attended by representatives of the diasporas of the occupied territories of East Turkestan, Inner Mongolia and Tibet. The representatives presented examples of the oppression, persecution and human rights violations in their territories under Chinese occupation. Meanwhile a speech by World Uyghur Congress President Rebiya Kadeer marked the meeting.

A Chinese diplomat stated that no states named East Turkestan, Inner Mongolia and Tibet existed in China, and that they were historically Chinese territory. During the debates the Chinese diplomats caused a scandal by furiously throwing down the microphones placed on their table by media representatives for video and audio. The response of the Chinese diplomats was regarded as discourteous.

Following Chinese diplomat Wang Li’s claim that there was no state called East Turkestan, World Uyghur Congress President Rebiya Kadeer responded:

“Historically imperial states such as Tsarist Russia and Britain will admit that they obtained colonized territories through occupation, but the Chinese will not accept it... We came here to discuss the issue of human rights, not land…History is to be written by historians. You are diplomats, not historians. You cannot write history. The Chinese Communist Party cannot write the history of my country.”

In addressing the issue of other ethnic minorities, Kadeer said, “You kill the Tibetan people because they want you to implement the autonomy you have provided them!…You are accusing us Uyghurs and the Mongols living in Inner Mongolia of separatism since we demand our natural and human rights!”

In refuting the diplomats’ denial of East Turkestan’s statehood, Kadeer provided the historical background that “Occupied land never belongs to the occupier. Until the establishment of the People's Republic of China, the Chinese people never established a state named Cunggu (Zhongguo 中国). You did not have the strength for this. You invaded our territory in 1949.”

The heated debate and verbal exchanges that took place between the Uyghur representatives and Chinese diplomats were a first in United Nations history, and was followed with interest by the participants.

London Uyghur Ensemble