East Turkistan (Sherqiy Türkistan in Uyghur, Doğu Türkistan in Turkish) was the name of two shortlived states in Central Asia; the first one existed from 1932 to 1934, while the second one existed from 1944 to 1949. It is a region bordering Tibet, China proper, Mongolia, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kashmir and India. The region is now occupied and controlled by the Peoples Republic of China, and it is a province-level entity known as "Xinjiang Autonomous Region".
The Chinese name for the area, Xinjiang (新疆), means "new territory" in Chinese, so it is considered to be offensive to the Uyghurs, who want to regain their independence. In addition, the name East Türkistan emphasizes that the area is part of a larger Turkic region. Conversely, most Chinese consider the name East Türkistan to be offensive.
The "East Turkestan Islamic Movement" is a militant Islamist group which seeks to separate the region from China. It is considered by both the governments of China and the United States to be a terrorist group. Its designation as such by the United States has been controversial, with critics arguing that the designation is unfair and intended mainly to improve U.S.-China relations.
China has taken advantage of the War on Terrorism to crack down on the Uyghur people in Eastern Türkistan. Many innocent people may have, and are been put to death, and tortured, without a trial. (according to various Uygur victims, as well as Amnesty International)
See also: Xabib Yunic.
- East Turkistan Information Center (http://www.uygur.org)
- East Turkestan Discussion list (http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/eastern_turkestan)
- Uyghur American Association (http://uyghuramerican.org)
- East Turkestan: Amnesty International report 2004 (http://www.unpo.org/news_detail.php?arg=21&par=673)
- Swedish Uygur Commitee (http://www.uygurie.com)
- Uyghur Human Rights Project (http://uhrp.org)