Today, February 5th, 2021, marks 24 years since the Chinese government’s brutal crackdown on Uyghur protestors in Ghulja City. Today remains in our memory as a day to salute the bravery of many Uyghur youth against the tyrannical Chinese Communist Party, and remember their tragic loss. Though the Chinese government tries hard to deny its ongoing genocide of the Uyghur people, it is impossible for them clean the blood of the Ghulja massacre and many other tragedies from their hands and away from our memories.
On January 27th, 1997, 30 Uyghur youths praying in a mosque were arrested and later executed by Chinese officials for no reason other than their religious beliefs. These officials forcibly entered into mosques, study circles, and homes and arrested more than 200 people. The next day, Uyghurs consisting of mostly youths and students swept into the streets of Ghulja City to peacefully protest the injustices committed against them. In response, the Chinese government sent the fully-armed paramilitary People’s Armed Police to crack down on the protests, and on February 5th, 1997, what is now known as the Ghulja Massacre began. The People’s Armed Police fired into crowds of protestors, stopping demonstrations while killing and wounding nearly 600 Uyghurs in the process. The Chinese police chased down fleeing protestors and forced them into military trucks en route to Ghulja detention facilities for further interrogation. When all such facilities could no longer accommodate more people, hundreds more protestors were sent to a sports stadium where they were soaked with cold water from fire hoses. In the freezing winter conditions of Ghulja City, many of these protestors developed frostbite and consequently had to amputate hands, feet, and entire limbs. As people returned home in the following days, the violence of the People’s Armed Police continued. Many more protestors were arrested, a curfew was enacted, and Ghulja City was isolated from the outside world for two weeks. Large scale police sweeps took place across all of East Turkestan, and thousands more Uyghurs were arbitrarily detained and given long prison sentences or condemned to death. In the Ghulja Massacre, the efforts of the people of East Turkestan to peacefully protest for the rights that were owed to them as human beings were disregarded. Instead, these human rights were ruthlessly crushed by the Chinese government.
Click the video link below to watch footage of the events that took place 24 years ago today (Limited graphic imagery featuring brief pictures of moderate frostbite injuries, no blood or gore shown).
The “Ghulja Uprising” In East Turkestan.” Saveuyghur, https://saveuyghur.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/the-ghulja-uprising-in-east-turkestan/
“Protest Marks Xinjiang ‘Massacre.'” Aljazeera, 6 Feb. 2007, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2007/2/6/protest-marks-xinjiang-massacre