About Uyghur


Uyghurs are an ethnically, culturally, and linguistically-distinct Turkic group indigenous to East Turkistan, a region encompassing 642,000 square miles in the present-day Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China.

East Turkistan borders Russia to the north, Tibet to the south, China proper and Mongolia to the east, and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the west. In addition to Uyghurs, East Turkistan is home to other Turkic ethnic groups, including Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, and Tatars. East Turkistan is situated in what was the center of the ancient Silk Road, a network of trade routes that connected the eastern and western worlds circa 114 BCE to 1450 CE. The area has served as a significant crossroads for commercial, religious, and cultural exchange for millennia.

The Manchu Qing Dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China, formally annexed East Turkistan in 1884 after prolonged, popular resistance against occupation. The colonizing power renamed the region Xinjiang, which means new dominion/territory in Chinese. After the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, East Turkistan was occupied by Chinese warlords. Uyghurs and others fought vehemently for their freedom from Chinese rule, which they achieved in 1933 and 1944. The two, independent East Turkistan Republics of 1933 and 1944 were short lived, however, and the People’s Republic of China ultimately succeeded in forcibly annexing East Turkistan into their national territory in 1949.

Since the annexation of their native lands, the Uyghur people, and their homeland of East Turkistan, have been under assault. For decades, the Uyghur people—their language, culture, tradition, and faith—have been in constant peril. Today, the Chinese Communist Party is committing genocide against the Uyghur people.