On 19 September 2006, the Declaration of Independence of the Nations of High Asia: Tibet, East Turkistan and Inner Mongolia was read out in a conference room at the Capitol Building of the US Congress in Washington D.C.
The occasion was a two-day conference of the Asian Freedom Coalition attended by Temtsiltu Shobtsood, Chairman, Inner Mongolian People's Party; Sonam Wangdu, Chairman, US Tibet Committee; Wei Jingsheng, Chairman, Overseas Chinese Democracy Foundation; Dr. Wen-Yen Chen, Executive Director, Formosa Association for Public Affairs; Jamyang Norbu, spokesperson, Rangzen Alliance; Alim Seytoff, General Secretary, Uyghur American Association; Huang Ciping, Secretary-General, Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition; Ye Ning, Chairman, Free China Movement Foundation; Dr. Quan Q. Nguyen, Chairman, International Committee For Freedom and Human Rights in Vietnam, and a number of other delegates. Member of the US Congress, Congressional staffers and media representatives attended the conference in its concluding session on the afternoon of the 19th.
Dolkun Isa, Secretary General, World Uyghur Congress, who flew into Washington DC, from Germany was unable to attend the conference. It is believed that because of his courageous struggle for Uyghur independence, Beijing had pressured the US government to view him as undesirable. Nevertheless the conference successfully took place and after two days of deliberation the delegates unanimously agreed to form the Asian Democracy Alliance, to promote freedom, democracy and human right in Asian nations presently under repressive and non-democratic rule.
The conference was addressed by Congressman Frank Wolf who spoke at length on the problems faced by Mongolia, East Turkistan and Tibet. He spoke of his visit to Tibet and how Chinese immigration was threatening the very existence of the Tibetan people. The Congressman said it was good that all the various groups were now working together. He said the Tibetans had kept up a unified front but others should forgo ego and internal differences to work together to defeat the common enemy, Communist China, which he said he was confident would fall in the next few years.
The declaration of independence was signed by the representatives of Inner Mongolia, Tibet and East Turkistan, and was also signed by the Taiwan representative since the declaration made a major reference to the threat that independent and democratic Taiwan was facing from China. All other delegates, including the Chinese, unanimously supported the declaration and the aspirations of the people of these nations for freedom and independence.
After the conference the various leaders and delegates spoke to the media. Leading Chinese dissident, and “Father of Chinese Democracy”, Wei Jingsheng, said that the Declaration of Independence was timely and important now since Beijing had clearly demonstrated by its hard-line rejection of the Dalai Lama’s call for dialogue that it was not open to any compromise solution to the Tibet issue, or even a genuine discussion on the matter.
Declaration of Independence of the Nations of High Asia
Inner Mongolia, East Turkistan and Tibet
There is a rare and defining moment in human history when a crushing and seemingly permanent tyranny reveals on the surface of its implacable structure the first tiny cracks of impending collapse — allowing the first stirrings of hope among long oppressed peoples and subjugated nations. Such a transition was heralded in Eastern and Central Europe and parts of Central Asia by the fall of the Berlin Wall.
For the people of Inner Mongolia, East Turkistan and Tibet such a moment may be at hand. China’s economic boom has created enormous and irresolvable problems and conflicts that threaten to tear Chinese society apart. Endemic official corruption, desperate peasant uprisings, large-scale labour unrest, harsh religious repression, ever-widening economic disparity, ecological devastation, absence of legal recourse to justice and the almost non-existence of civil society, have been the cause, according to official Chinese reports, of over 45,000 demonstrations and riots, many violent, all over China in the last year.
The Tibetans, the Uyghur people of East Turkistan and Mongols have traditionally desired only to live in freedom in their own independent homelands, but this desire has been thwarted and crushed by Communist China for over fifty years. It is a matter of history that Communist China invaded Tibet in 1949-50 overpowering and smashing a small Tibetan army defending its homeland. It is also the case that East Turkistan and Inner Mongolia were forcibly occupied by Communist troops in 1949. In no case did Communist China’s rule in these countries come about through the consent of the people or even through an accident of history.
Since then China has systematically undermined the ancient way of life of these peoples, first doing away with their legitimate governments, and then imprisoning, torturing and executing many of their traditional rulers, chieftains and spiritual leaders. When the people of these nations refused to accept these injustices and depredations, the Chinese Communist army and State Security organs crushed all such resistance with overwhelming violence. Millions of Tibetans, Uyghurs and Mongols were killed. Millions more were imprisoned or deported to forced labour camps (laogai). The people in these lands had, in the past, enjoyed a sufficiency in basic needs, but now the policies of the Communist government caused widespread crop failure, recurring famines and mass starvation where millions of people especially women, children and the elderly perished.
Under the slogan of revolutionary “struggle” (douzheng), the Communist administration in these regions coerced and forced the people to spy on and inform on each other, often employing even children to report on their parents and participate in public denunciations and “struggles”. All customary, in fact universal, human values of friendship, hospitality, trust, respect, tolerance, peace and compassion were regarded by the Communist authorities as “feudal” and “counter-revolutionary”.
During the years of the “Cultural Revolution”, people were compelled to destroy their own temples, monasteries, and mosques. Nearly all buildings and monuments of historical, cultural and religious importance in these countries were demolished and their treasures and art objects looted and shipped to China for their precious metals or for sale on the Asian art market. The mineral wealth, forests, water and other natural resources of these lands have, especially in the last couple of decades, not only been systematically exploited to benefit China, but have also been thoughtlessly wasted and the environment devastated because of the extreme policies of China’s leadership.
Right now China’s population transfer policy has flooded Inner Mongolia, East Turkistan and Tibet with Chinese migrants, completely marginalizing the indigenous population and making them a minority in their own homelands. Native craftsmen, small businessmen, workers and even labourers have been near completely displaced by Chinese immigrants, causing tremendous social problems, and psychological distress among the native population.
All the while, the informers, the various organs of State Security (gongan), the State Psychiatric Units (ankang) and the “People’s Liberation Army” are relentlessly going about their task of spreading terror throughout these lands and forcing the submission of their peoples.
We individuals and our organisations assembled here today are firmly behind all the Tibetans, Uyghurs and Mongols who in their homelands are standing up and demanding independence, and we mutually pledge to fully support those inside who risk everything, including their lives, in the quest for a free and democratic homeland. We appeal to the global community of nations as to the rectitude of our intentions and do thus declare that Tibet, East Turkistan and Inner Mongolia are absolved of all political connections to the People’s Republic of China, or any future Chinese state and government, and shall henceforth be free and independent nations, each irrevocably committed to a democratic system of government, established by the free will of the people, and based on the rule of law and the primacy of individual freedom.
In the case of Taiwan we have a travesty of international justice where a fully independent, prosperous and democratic nation, is not recognized as such by other nations, primarily out of concern for displeasing Communist China. Taiwan may have once been a part of China, but most member states of the United Nations Organization were at one point or another in their history a part of another nation or empire. Taiwan was only a province of China briefly for eight years between 1887 and 1895. Taiwan was, by the treaty of Shimonoseki (1895), ceded, in perpetuity, to Japan. Whatever the ramifications of its varied history the people of Taiwan have the right, as do all peoples in the world, to self-determination; and furthermore through their successful efforts in creating a progressive and prosperous democratic state have more than earned the right to nationhood. China’s numerous and increasingly belligerent threats to invade Taiwan must be condemned by the international community and Taiwan’s right to independence recognized.
We call upon individual nations of the world and the United Nations Organization to support the inalienable right of Uyghurs, Mongols, Tibetans and Taiwanese to independent homelands. We appeal to the United States of America, the first liberal democratic nation in the world, to give due recognition to the rightful cause of these peoples and aid them in their noble quest for independence, freedom and democracy.
19th September 2006, Conference Room HC-9, U.S. Congress, Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.