Culture & ArtsNEWS

On World Poetry Day, Uyghurs continue to compose poetry to preserve their culture, language

The UK-based “Stop Uyghur Genocide” campaign has said that Uyghur Muslims in occupied Xinjiang region continue to write poetry in their original language, challenging cultural erosion under the Chinese Communist Party regime.

The campaign’s statement came following the World Poetry Day, which was celebrated on Thursday, March 21, to recognize poetry as a form of creative expression and a manifestation of linguistic and cultural identity.

Writing poetry is considered an essential part of daily life for many Uyghurs, known for its beauty and flexibility. However, Uyghur literature has become a target for the Chinese government, with their continuous persecution escalating to the level of genocide.

Uyghur literature is heavily censored under the Chinese Communist Party regime, and their language is suppressed in schools. Some Uyghurs in Chinese detention camps have chosen poetry as a means to communicate with the outside world, becoming beacons of unity and hope during difficult times.

However, the arrest of poets is among the prominent forms of persecution faced by Uyghurs. For example, in 2018, the renowned Uyghur literature teacher and poet Gulnisa Amin was sent to re-education camps in China.

A year later, she was sentenced to 17 years in prison on charges of alleged separatism through her poetry. Before her arrest, she had published nearly 350 poems.

Since 2017, China has detained over a million Uyghurs and members of other Muslim-majority ethnic minorities.

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