Xinjiang’s Hotian Education Department Issues Directive Limiting Use of Uyghur in Schools

According to a July 28, 2017 report by Radio Free Asia (Uyhgur Language):

In late June, the Education Department in Xinjiang’s Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture issued a five-point directive outlawing the use of Uyghur at schools in favor of Mandarin Chinese “in order to strengthen elementary and middle/high school bilingual education.”

Under the directive — a copy of which was obtained by RFA’s Uyghur Service — schools must “insist on fully popularizing the national common language and writing system according to law, and add the education of ethnic language under the bilingual education basic principle.”

Beginning in the fall semester this year, Mandarin Chinese “must be resolutely and fully implemented” for the three years of preschool, and “promoted” from the first years of elementary and middle school “in order to realize the full coverage of the common language and writing system education.”

The directive instructs schools to “resolutely correct the flawed method of providing Uyghur language training to Chinese language teachers” and “prohibit the use of Uyghur language, writing, signs and pictures in the educational system and on campuses.”

Additionally, the order bans the use of Uyghur language in “collective activities, public activities and management work of the education system.”

For Chinese report, see: 維吾爾語

穆拉特詹·萨本主: “我的父亲与新闻自由正在土耳其受审”

— 欧洲,别撇开眼睛!

12 名《共和国报》受押采编人员法庭受审,警醒各方:


原文发表于 英国 《卫报》2017 年 7 月 24 日 (英文全文在此
Muratcan Sabuncu(穆拉特詹·萨本主)撰文 (Muratcan Sabuncu 为土耳其《共和国报》总编 Murat Sabuncu 的儿子,以及法国的索邦人权协会会长)


家父,Murat Sabuncu(穆拉特·萨本主),直言勿讳,担任 Cumhuriyet (《共和国报》) 日报总编,持异见之声,却广受赞誉,在土耳其媒体中,实属罕见。他与11名 Cumhuriyet 同僚,九个月羁押期刚满,将于周一 [7 月 31 日]在伊斯坦布尔接受法庭审理。

在押仅满五个月,Cumhuriyet 新闻工作者及该报社其他从业人员才获悉他们所面临的指控。罪名是与恐怖组织有关联,有可能被判处7.5到43年监禁。然而,翻开起诉书,内容仅仅是报刊标题、消息、报道、专栏和推文。由此可见,新闻业和新闻自由才是此案真正的受审者。

Cumhuriyet 自 1924 年在土耳其创刊以来一直坚持倡导民主共和、世俗主义等价值观念。该报新闻工作者坚称其批评文章,旨在对抗危机,维护秩序,为效忠祖国之根本。连同家父在内,他们让公众认识到,诚实准确与公平是如何被颠倒的。他们深信消息通畅可以开阔公民视野,使其三思而后做决断。显然,从家父及同僚们笔尖流露出的是他们的报国精神与爱国情怀。

我父一贯执笔支持民主,正义与良知。他曾反对1997年土耳其军方利用 “备忘录” 逼迫亲伊斯兰政府下台的;反对头巾禁令;不支持以反对世俗主义为借口解散执政的 “正义与发展党”的企图;以及反对 2016 年 7 月 15 日未遂政变的图谋。小时候,我记得父亲密切关注过刺杀赫兰特·丁克(Hrant Dink)编辑的事件以及随之而来的谋杀审案,并去锡利夫里 (Silivri) 监狱探望朋友,记者纳迪姆·塞内尔(Nedim Şener),他在额尔古纳昆(Ergenekon)案中被捕并遭到指控。我父亲深知异见记者要冒失业,入狱和死亡的危险,他曾经向我调侃道,从 Cumhuriyet 总社的总编办公室,坟场和法院,他都看得到。

为了坚持信念,父亲经历过短暂的失业,随后他在 Cumhuriyet 又操起了一番事业。如今,他正被拘禁在Silivri监狱。有一点我须要强调,我说的拘禁是指彻底隔离:每周分配一小时给家属和律师探望,每两周打一次电话,通话时长为十分钟,每两个月一次敞开式探视。 此类事件要是发生在《泰晤士报》、《电讯报》或《卫报》总编身上,您会有什么反应?


我在全欧洲举办的活动中,让更多人认识到 Cumhuriyet 审判和土耳其新闻自由,有一个问题我被频频问到:“您对欧洲有什么期待?”我期望欧洲不仅要关注下周的审判,并要继续聚焦土耳其人争取权利的受审案。

至于民主和人权到处遭受困境之际,我们全球的公民,每时每刻都应捍卫这些价值。让我们起来倡导新闻自由,鉴于它是其他权利的保证,在攻克难关和做出良策方面发挥关键作用。争取土耳其新闻自由是大家共同的斗争。 Cumhuriyet 敢怒敢言的新闻工作者,确实向我们展示了一个赤裸裸的皇帝。就让我们团结起来义无反顾地力挺他们。 [终]

“The Sultan Has No Clothes”: Press Freedom on Trial in Turkey

We all know the story of the small child who piped up “the emperor has no clothes” while everybody was pretending to admire the despot parading through the streets. This child is analogous to those who, in the same spirit of honesty, have come out to tell the truth in today’s Turkey. The truth-tellers are in fact the real patriots, and they succeeded in becoming the conscience of a country by dispelling the fog clouding our perceptions to show us reality.

My father, Murat Sabuncu, is a truth-teller. He is the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet daily newspaper, which is one of the very few remaining critical but respected voices in the Turkish media. He and 11 of his colleagues from Cumhuriyet have been detained for the past nine months. Their trial will start in Istanbul on Monday. 

For the full essay in The Guardian, click here.

Event: Bayburt Turkey July 14-16, Dede Korkut Festival

Event:              23rd International Bayburt Dede Korkut Culture and Art Festival

Date:               July 14-16, 2017

Venue:             Bayburt, Bayburt Province, Turkey (various sites)

Notes:             The Book of Dede Korkut (Dede Korkut Hikâyeleri) is the most famous among the epic stories — dastan — of the Oghuz Turks. The character Dede Korkut, i.e. “Grandfather Korkut”, was a widely renowned soothsayer and bard. The stories carry morals and values significant to the social lifestyle of the nomadic Turkic peoples and their pre-Islamic beliefs. The book’s mythic narrative is part of the cultural heritage of Turkic countries, including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

The latest version of Dede Kurkut in World Languages, compiled by Dr. Metin Yurtbaşı, now includes an excerpt in Chinese translated by Professor Liang Zhenhui of Xi’an International Studies University.

Turkey’s Purge: Kurdish Suffer along with Suspected Gülenists

In Amid Turkey’s Purge, a Renewed Attack on Kurdish Culture, Patrick Kingsley reports from Diyarbakir:

Across southeast Turkey, where most people are Kurdish, Mr. Erdogan’s government fired over 80 elected mayors and replaced them with state-appointed trustees. Here in Diyarbakir, the spiritual capital of Turkish Kurdistan, the trustee not only fired most of the city’s municipally employed actors, but also 80 percent of the staff of the municipal department that promoted the teaching of Kurdish and other minority languages.

In towns across the region, trustees have changed the names of streets previously named for prominent Kurdish figures, or removed statues of Kurdish heroes. More than a dozen lawmakers from the main pro-Kurdish party have been arrested in recent months. A Kurdish artist was jailed for doing a painting of the ruins of Nusaybin, one of several Kurdish towns partly destroyed in 2015 during fighting between the Turkish army and Kurdish militants.

Kurdish or pro-Kurdish journalists are some of the principal victims of the post-coup crackdown on free speech. According to the Free Journalist Society, a now-banned, pro-Kurdish news media watchdog, 173 journalists are now in Turkish prisons; of those, 50 worked for Kurdish or pro-Kurdish news outlets.

June 30-July 2 London Event: Africa Writes Festival

Event: Africa Writes Festival

Date: June 30-July 2

Venue: British Museum, London

Highlights: Alain Mabanckou in Conversation . . . Translation Roundtable: Translating into and between African Languages . . . The Chibok Girls: Ascent of Boko Haram in Nigeria, Stories of Survivors and Bereaved in northern Nigeria . . . Dreams & Deceptions: A Night of Storytelling

Feminist: A Dirty Word in Xi Jinping’s China?

Chimamanda Adichie is hot. Not just in her homeland Nigeria, and the US where she spends much of her time nowadays, but in China too.

Witness the fact that four of her works have been translated into Chinese, including her moving portrayal of the Biafran war,  Half of a Yellow Sun  (半轮黄日), The Thing Around Your Neck (绕颈之物), and two just this year, Purple Hibiscus  (紫木槿), and We Should All Be Feminists (女性的权利). African literature is notoriously little translated into Chinese, and four books puts her in the illustrious company of just a handful of oft-translated black African writers such as Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka, also Nigerians (see my mini-database of African lit in Chinese).

We Should All Be Feminists, just out this month (June 2017) in Chinese, is a personal essay adapted from the writer’s TEDx talk of the same name. Writes Shelley Diaz (School Library Journal), as cited in the blurb for the English version of the essay:

Drawing on anecdotes from her adolescence and adult life, Adichie attempts to strike down stereotypes and unpack the baggage usually associated with the term [feminism]. She argues that an emphasis on feminism is necessary because to focus only on the general ‘human rights’ is ‘to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded’.

I wonder if Ms. Adichie knows what has become of her essay in the Chinese? I have not read it, but I do know this: The very word “feminist”— and the bold call for all of us, irregardless of our gender,  to be “feminists”— have been removed from the title.  The Chinese title,  女性的权利 (nǚxìng de quánlì), is a rather flat Women’s Rights. No feminist (女权主义者) or feminism (女权主义), no call to take action, just five words, which lack even a verb.

Word has it that the sticking point was the “ism” (the Chinese term for “feminist” is literally “feminism” + “person”). Apparently there’s only one “ism” around today that is considered politically correct; it has “Chinese characteristics,” and it ain’t “feminism.” I don’t know if the decision to tone down the title was made by the higher-ups at People’s Literature Publishing House or someone in the Ministry of Truth, but this is arguably yet another telltale sign of the sensitivity regarding feminist activism that has become increasingly evident since the mid-2015 arrest of “China’s Feminist Five.”

According to The Guardian, the women – Wei Tingting, Li Tingting (Li Maizi), Wu Rongrong, Wang Man and Zheng Churan (Datu) – were detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” (寻衅滋事罪) after planning a multi-city protest aimed at bringing an end to sexual harassment on public transport.

It’s obvious that the marketeers over at People’s Literature Publishing House, censorship or no, fully understand that the original We Should All Be Feminists is much more likely to drive sales. Just look at the cover (top of article): The lame Chinese title definitely didn’t get top billing.

Altaic Storytelling Quote of the Week: Musa Anter

“If my mother tongue is shaking the foundations of your state, it probably means that you built your state on my land.”

(Musa Anter, Kurdish writer, assassinated in 1992)

The Xinjiang Gold Rush, Uyghur Scavengers and a Kind of Freedom

In a discussion of Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World — about Southeast Asian refugee immigrants and white Vietnam War vets picking mushrooms in Oregon — Darren Byler is struck by the way the mushroom pickers speak of freedom. He writes:

In a corner of China, several thousand kilometers from the Yunnan forests Tsing writes about in the second half of her book, I have lived with another group of pickers. They are Uyghurs who scavenge the dry river valleys near Yaken and Hotan on the border with Afghanistan for jade. Armed with hoes, these young Muslim men sort through rocks for months, avoiding the thousands of Han settlers and state-owned corporations that have come in the Jade Rush that has overtaken their homeland. After filling a fanny pack with stones they go to the city, dodging the many police checkpoints that stand between them and the regional capital Ürümchi. If they are seen by the police, they will be sent back or arrested. They will be caught up in the so-called People’s War on Terror, which targets young Uyghur men and thrives on indefinite detention and labor camps. Yet if these young men do manage to arrive in the city, they too, like the mushroom pickers, speak of a kind of freedom.

Read Byler’s full essay, Salvage Freedomhere.

Altaic Storytelling Quote of the Week: Elif Şafak on Bilingual Road Signs

The next day I am on my way to the Hay Festival. This year I am prepared for the rain – boots, scarves and raincoats. I remember the first time I went to Hay as a young novelist. I stopped by a road sign just because it was written in Welsh and English. I had never seen anything similar in Turkey. It was unthinkable: a simple road sign written in Turkish and Kurdish.

(From the online diary of Elif Şafak, Turkey’s best-known novelist)