He stated that “the doors of Xinjiang are always open, and the doors of truth are always open.” I wrote to him that he cannot be believed.
by Gulfiye Y
Vice-Chairman Kaiser Abdukerim, of the government of the “Xinjiang” Uyghur Autonomous Region recently issued a public invitation to foreigners to visit “Xinjiang.” I decided to answer, and to make my “letter of acceptance” public.
I am writing in response to the public invitation extended by you to visit ‘Xinjiang.’
I listened and watched with bated breath and disbelief your presentation on the ‘Xinjiang’ region’s achievements and future goals, hosted by CGTN on March 2nd, 2023, and broadcast repeatedly ever since.
What gobsmacked me was your assertion: ‘What I want to say is that the doors of Xinjiang are always open, and the doors of truth are always open. An old saying is that: Seeing is believing. We hope that more people will come to beautiful Xinjiang, get closer to our more than 25 million people in Xinjiang, visit our bazaars, villages, see our way of life, hear our voices, and feel and share the real Xinjiang.’
In contrast with your ‘always open’ depiction I have to say that my experience has been anything but open, beautiful or happy. I have had no contact with my family or friends in ‘Xinjiang’ for five years. I am not alone in this as multiple testimonials and factual evidence lay waste your assertions of openness, transparency, contentment, and happiness—happiness as the foundation of all ‘human rights with Chinese characteristics.’ It’s very difficult for me to hear your white-washing of past events, and of many events still on-going, as if everything would be beautiful and normal. (‘Normal’ needs to be defined, and for you it must have a meaning with ‘Chinese characteristics’). Bitter Winter daily bears testimony to the ‘real Xinjiang’ and the Uyghur Human Rights Project contains over two-thousand pages of web links. Some personal testimonies are here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, …
In 2016, I was denied a visa to visit my family. I was at the Chinese consulate with all the required documents, publicly posted online, and when asked for my ‘ethnicity’ (Uyghur) I was directed to a ‘special’ window. After a significant amount of time waiting at an empty window, I was presented with a blank paper and pen and instructed to list more than ten additional items of personal information and to submit it with supporting documents.
A consulate employee eventually approached me and quietly informed me that there was no point in waiting or complying because there would be no chance the visa would be granted. Note that this happened within a Chinese Consulate; that is, in China. It was shortly after that in what was to be my last communication with my family I was told not to call them ever again. It was an uncomfortably short conversation, as there was a Han ‘family boarder’ present who actually answered the phone and had me identify myself. That was five years ago. Just before my communication to ‘Xinjiang’ was terminated, my relatives, aunts, sisters and nieces were refused permission to leave ‘Xinjiang’ to visit me; all their passports had been seized.
Your status as a senior ‘Xinjiang’ official was supposed to carry an immense amount of weight and influence, and being Uyghur was to add credibility and ‘truth’ to your pronouncements. Within the short interview, you were able to seamlessly cover most of the required talking points, including the required invocation of the name of Xi and the reference to ‘deeply implement Xi Jinping’s Thought on the Rule of Law.’ With that, you publicly proclaimed your faith, belief, and reason-for-being.
Maybe the more truthful phrase should be: ‘The doors of Xinjiang are now open, and the doors of the new truth are now open—but only to acceptable and compliant visitors, and the new truth will be proclaimed with the approval of the relevant authorities according to the rule of law with Chinese characteristics.’
Your participation in the recent history of white-washing and gas-lighting is the execution of the 10th stage of the genocide by genocide scholar Gregory H. Stanton. The denial stage is where you are at now.
The ‘rule of law’ and the ‘according to the law’ principle are so pervasive that should I visit I could not but be ensnared by something as innocuous (to me) as talking to a stranger (to me) that happens to be under surveillance (and perhaps has a low social credit score). Police involvement would surely follow. Need I say that this example does not even scratch the innumerable, vague and unknown possible ‘violations of Chinese relevant law’? My personal safety, security, and safe passage, let alone my freedom, would be at the whim of some political cadre implementing his interpretation of ‘Xi Jinping’s Thought on the Rule of Law.’ The real environment I would have to be aware of entering is the ongoing Communist ‘war on terror,’ where Uyghurs are deemed potential terrorists if not actual terrorists, a ubiquitous ‘security threat’ environment, and where ‘extremist combatants’ are (allegedly) active. ‘Xinjiang’ is the most surveilled territory on Earth, with cameras even installed in some living rooms of Uyghur homes. Happily (if happily is the right term to use), at least the cameras are not in the bedrooms or washrooms. At least I think not.
My purpose in considering your invite is to visit family and friends and reconnect. I was born and raised in Xinjiang. But—I am afraid that your public invitation is hollow and without substance. Although you made a public offer, it is not within your authority to grant it—and I believe you know that this power lies with the real government: the Chinese authorities, bureaucracy, and Communist Party.
As I am of Uyghur heritage your public invitation may not be applicable to me as it would violate the ‘4 breaks’ order. You know—the order to ‘Break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins.’ Earlier I said that my purpose would be to visit family and friends and reconnect. Just with that statement, I confessed to the crime of connection. I believe the ‘4 breaks’ order is active and you are obliged to enforce it—under instructions to ‘show no mercy.’ Correct me if I am mistaken.
I hope that my correspondence does not place you in any sort of trouble. We have witnessed the dire consequences suffered by those who dared to express the ‘wrong thought’ or deviate from the approved narrative. Many have been removed, prosecuted, and punished for ‘not doing enough’ to apply the policies of the Communist Party and ‘Xi Jinping’s Thought on the Rule of Law.’ Being labeled ‘two-faced’ is a definite career-ender.
Thank you for your understanding and prompt attention to this matter.