According to Xinhua, the Chinese official media, On July 24th, the Kazakhstan Saltana National Dance Troupe held a grandiose gala titled “Rich Hometown” in Turpan, seemingly showcasing the vibrant cultural heritage of Kazakhstan. However, the event took place against a backdrop of mounting human rights concerns in Uyghurstan, Aka Xinjiang, where the native Uyghur population continues to suffer from genocide.
While China has been actively seeking to strengthen relations with Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan, the celebration of cultural exchange through this dance performance raises eyebrows as it seemingly overlooks the ongoing atrocities faced by the Uyghur people.
Numerous reports and testimonies have shed light on the plight of the Uyghurs, revealing accusations of mass arbitrary detention, forced labor, cultural assimilation, and other severe human rights violations. Central Asian countries have been accused of supporting China in its actions against the Uyghurs, allegedly in exchange for economic benefits from China.
It was reported that China mainly targeted Uyghurs and released thousands of Kazakhs after the Kazakh government expressed the pressure it felt from the relatives of the Kazakhs detained by the Chinese government in the Uyghur region.
It remains deeply troubling that the Kazakhstan Saltana National Dance Troupe, an esteemed cultural ambassador, chose to proceed with their show in Turpan without acknowledging the grave human rights crisis unfolding in the nearby region.
Tursunjan, a Uyghur activist from Canada told Uyghur Times that: “As the international community continues to demand accountability and justice for the Uyghurs, it is crucial for nations, including Kazakhstan, to demonstrate sensitivity to human rights issues and take a stand against such alleged atrocities. While cultural exchanges can promote understanding and harmony, it must not come at the expense of ignoring the suffering of our people since we share cultural and religious ties with them.”