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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Millions of Muslims occupied for six decades - where?

From Eugene Kontorovich at Opinio Juris back in 2009:
In 1949, a land that had for hundreds of years been home to Muslim peoples was forcibly seized by outsiders. They implemented a policy of ethnic dislocation and colonization. While some of the Muslims, chafing under the occupation, turned to terrorism,  the recalcitrant state refused to budge even until today.
And the occupied country is — the Second East Turkestan Republic, home of the Uighurs.
The extensive media coverage of and diplomatic reaction to the recent and perhaps ongoing ethnic violence between Han and Uighurs in Xinjiang seems to have missed an important detail.
The Uighurs are not simply a minority group in China that may not be getting the fairest deal. Rather, they are arguably an occupied people – and the massive Han Chinese population in the area almost entirely settlers.
China conquered the independent Second East Turkestan Republic in 1949, in an open land grab. This was news to me — the illegal conquest of Tibet the subsequent year is well known, but apparently without a Dalai Lama, the Uighurs’ national aspirations are paid even less lip service than Tibetans’.
How could there be such silence about an ongoing illegal occupation? I briefly looked at the media coverage and reports of international human rights organizations (Amensty, HRW), and I can find none that discussed the situation as an occupation or the Han as illegally “transferred” people under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Nor does this appear to be the position of any nation, though again I don’t claim to have done meticulous inquiry and would be happy to be corrected.
Is there some reason this issue is not on the international law radar? Or have I missed something? Naturally I don’t expect anyone to rush to liberate East Turkestan – I’m a realist. But what about “soft power”? And the role of NGOs? If this is an occupation, it is probably one of the worst ongoing ones — something like 10 million people occupied, which I think is more than West Bank, Western Sahara, Northern Cyrus, Tibet, Abkazia/Ossetia, etc. combined.

Let's start an NGO to free the millions of Uighurs. Millions of dollars can easily be raised when Muslims are living under horrendous occupation, right? Perhaps an overland flotilla of aid to get the ball rolling.

Leftists should be falling over each other to volunteer to help.

(h/t Zach N)