Authorities to Destroy Uyghur Cemetery in Xinjiang Capital

Sandra Loyd

Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Self-governing Area (XUAR) have actually revealed strategies to destroy a Uyghur cemetery in the capital Urumqi, marking the most recent of lots taken down in current years as part of a campaign professionals have actually stated is targeted at managing members of the ethnic group.

On Might 22, a file bearing stamps from the bureaus of public affairs, structure affairs, and land management was posted notifying homeowners that the cemetery in Urumqi’s Bulaqtagh (in Chinese, Shuimogou) district would be collected and carried on June 10.

According to the file, which was distributed extensively on Chinese social media platforms, those with family members buried in the cemetery should sign up for the elimination of the remains of their enjoyed ones.

RFA’s Uyghur Service just recently talked with a Han Chinese lady at the Urumqi Ethnic Affairs Office who verified that the registration duration for the cemetery was “already underway,” although the exhumation of remains had yet to start.

” We have actually not begun moving [remains],” she stated, speaking on condition of privacy for worry of reprisal.

“The announcement was published by the Urumqi Municipal Government. We are registering the families with tombs.”

The lady stated her office had actually made arrangements for family members of the deceased who are based outside of the capital to designate an agent to register for the moving on their behalf.

Nevertheless, when asked what the factor for the moving was, she hung up the phone.

RFA likewise talked with a Uyghur official from the Bulaqtagh Muslim Burial Affairs Office who stated that people had till completion of May to register for the relocation by utilizing an image of the tomb’s headstone and the number designated to the plot.

“We’re registering people—it’s been about a week already,” stated the official, who likewise declined to be called.

“You’ll take a photo of the number and bring it in, and we’ll get you registered. We’ll let you know about everything else after you come in.”

According to the official, employees will be designated to move the remains, however she was not able to offer information about how the procedure would happen or where they would be moved.

She likewise declared that it was “a government decision” to move the cemetery, however did not understand whether there were any strategies to construct something in its present area.

“We’re only taking care of registration, so there are a lot of things we don’t know” she stated.

Current taking down

Strategies to transfer the cemetery come one month after reports that a graveyard thought about spiritual by Uyghurs that was taken down by authorities in 2015 in the XUAR’s Hotan (Hetian) city has actually been paved over and became a car park.

Rian Thum, a teacher of history at the University of Nottingham in Britain, had posted a time lapse view of the Sultanim Cemetery to Twitter based upon satellite images from Google Earth, which shows serious plots being slowly being raked over with dirt start in 2019 and a car park being set up in the western part of the website.

At the time, he stated damaging graveyards belongs to a quote by authorities to manage the broader Uyghur population, which sees the websites as “a part of the historical landscape of the Uyghur region,” no matter their spiritual significance.

It likewise follows an examination by Agence France-Presse which in October exposed that a minimum of 45 cemeteries in the XUAR had actually been ruined considering that 2014–30 of which were taken down considering that 2017.

A number of the websites were changed into parks or parking area, while others had actually stayed empty lots, AFP stated. Press reporters stated they had actually seen human remains left at a number of websites.

Speaking to RFA, a Uyghur in exile who matured in Urumqi’s Bulaqtagh district and lived there with their family till 2015 called the cemetery marked for a June 10 moving “particularly important” for Uyghurs from the location.

” This is a spiritual Muslim cemetery for Uyghurs from Bulaqtagh, [and neighboring] Tikquduq and Ayotkel to bury their dead,” the source stated.

The city government had actually closed the cemetery to brand-new burials in 2014, they stated, based upon the claim that it had actually grown so big it was trespassing on land significant for official usage.

Reported by Mihray Abdilim for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Equated by Elise Anderson and Alim Seytoff. Composed in English by Joshua Lipes.

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