Defying Erasure: CFU Marks International Mother Language Day

CFU PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 21, 10:30 AM EST

Contact: contact@campaignforuyghurs.org

+1 650-703-4523

Campaign for Uyghurs www.campaignforuyghurs.org

On the occasion of International Mother Language Day, Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) stands in solidarity with communities at risk of linguistic erasure and calls for immediate international action to protect the Uyghur language, which is under severe threat as a part of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) genocidal policies aimed at cultural assimilation and erasure. 

The CCP stringently restrains the Uyghur culture, especially the Uyghur language under the pretext that it would “harm the harmony” of China. In the first few years of the 21st century, official policy regarding language in East Turkistan drastically shifted, and the schools began teaching in Chinese instead of Uyghur. When the 2010s rolled around, every class with the exception of Uyghur literature, was taught in Chinese. Amidst the ongoing Uyghur genocide, the Uyghur language is forbidden from being spoken at schools and was removed from bookstores, street signs, and murals, labeled as “separatist.”

The editors of the textbooks on Uyghur literature were incarcerated for “inciting ethnic hatred” for including Uyghur history in the textbooks. Mr. Yalqun Rozi, an acclaimed author and literary critic, and father of our organization’s General Secretary Kamalturk Yalqun, was among those unjustly imprisoned. Yalqun Rozi and other textbook compiling committee members were asked by the CCP Education Ministry to work on the project at the time, and the ministry systematically approved all the textbooks. To eradicate the Uyghur language from the next generation, Uyghur children are banned from speaking their mother tongue and sent to state run boarding schools. Even those once fluent later found themselves unable to speak due to the trauma and indoctrination inflicted upon them.  

CFU Executive Director Rushan Abbas noted, “Linguistic diversity and all languages should be preserved as a fundamental human right. Language is integral to the identity of any ethnicity and to outlaw its usage is a blatant attempt to destroy a nation.” She added, “To honor this day, the international community must take decisive actions to halt the CCP’s genocidal assault on the language and culture of the Uyghur people.”

The Uyghur language is crucial to preserving the Uyghur people’s way of life amid the Chinese government’s ongoing genocidal campaign to eradicate Uyghur culture. Responding to cultural erasure, Representative Young Kim introduced the Uyghur Policy Act (H.R. 2766), which recently passed in the House and is awaiting Senate approval. The bill aims to preserve and promote the Uyghur language, imposing sanctions on Chinese officials accountable for these abuses. CFU calls on individuals in the United States to support this bill. 

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Campaign for Uyhgurs

We defend the human rights of uyghur people and the free world by exposing and confronting the chinese government's genocide, and empowering uyghur women and youth in the diaspora.

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