(To mark the 28th anniversary of the “12 December Student Protest” in 1985, Urumchi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China)
Rozinisa (independent scholar)
Translated into English by Ayshemgul Nuremet
The clock always ticks ahead in busy times, and it can never be turned back. The past time or what we call history, always takes this busy time and adds us to its great caravan, embracing us, and carrying us across the desert among all the others towards the endless life journey which is located on the far horizon. We are all a sort of traveller and we travel towards our goals, we all have to go on that journey and no one is exceptional.
Although 28 years have already passed since the protest happened, its memory is still fresh and alive. If you have made history in your lifetime and if its aim was to realise your people’s desire for freedom and liberation, that true history will live among your people’s hearts forever and it will become an unforgettable memory for future generations because no-one can deny that every page of the history of humankind is made by the life and death struggle to live in this world.
Inequality, racial discrimination and injustice were become widespread issues, and the state abused its power at this critical moment, on 12 December, 1985, when several thousand Uyghur students in Urumchi and other cities marched to demand from the Chinese authorities an end to their unequal policies in East Turkistan (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China). The protest, which happened for the very first time 10 years after the Chinese Cultural Revolution, gathered ideological momentum for a democratic Uyghur student movement in the region. Although this protest movement was gradually suppressed, it inspired many Uyghur youths to dedicate their youth to the movement, and they become Uyghur rights campaigners. This is the true story of Aziz Isa, one of the followers of that student protest movement. It tells us how he become victimised, and his subsequent life story as a refugee. The example of Aziz Isa’s early troubled life experience which is connected to the “12 December Student Protest” in East Turkistan (Xinjiang) should lead us to reflect on what happened there at that time and what is happening there now.