The second session of Free East Turkistan Symposium, organized by the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, took place at Zeytinburnu Culture Center. Yang Jianli, Chinese activist who lives in the United States, Assist. Prof. Erkin Emet, Prof. Dru Galadney, Fatma Bostan Ünsal, and IHH Executive Board members Gülden Sönmez and Ahmet Emin Dağ presented their papers at the second day session.
Jiangli, barred from entering China, slashed his country over its human rights violations. He noted that he was imprisoned for five years for participating in a demonstration and spent 17 months of his term in a lonely cell. “When I returned from the US in 2002, Chinese authorities arrested me at the airport and put me into jail. I was sentenced to five years in jail just for taking part in a demonstration. I spent the worst days of my life in jail and was subjected to torture. There was nothing to read or anything healthy to eat at the jail. I strove hard not to go crazy; sought help in my faith and prayed. If it was not for my friends in the US I would never get out of jail. Who knows what they are doing to other detainees?”
“Ask me about China,” he said “China violates human rights in every aspect of life. The government arbitrarily confiscates private lands and properties. And it is not accountable to anyone. Media is not independent, courts are biased. People are detained for simple reasons. One of my friends was imprisoned for 11 years. I live in the US now. The US protects basic liberties of its citizens, while China regularly violates rights of its citizens.”
Chinese activist noted that the communist regime has undergone major changes over the last 20 years and is using bribery and incentives to buy out influential figures in the country in order to consolidate its political authority. The communist regime, in this way, forms its own elites and this group put pressure on common citizens, Jiangli added.
The two-polar structure in China is bound to collapse, Jiangli asserted and Democratic China will emerge as a third alternative. This seems unlikely for the time being, but the Chinese will rise against the pressure of regime one day, he claimed.
Emet recalled Turkey showed the strongest reaction to the mass killings in Urumqi and noted that the Chinese government was distorting or preventing reports from East Turkistan to cover up what was really occurring there.
IHH member Dağ stated the significance of forming kinship ties as well as economic and political relations between Turkey and East Turkistan. “Emotional ties between Muslim Uyghur people and the Islamic world should become rational. The Islamic world should not remain indifferent to the Uyghur,” he added.