Within the Uyghur homeland, a disquieting trend persists as authorities exclude the Uyghur language from signs displayed on Uyghur-owned shops. Timothy Grose, Associate Professor of China Studies at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, has drawn attention to this matter, sharing photos on his Twitter account and remarking: “Yes, official signage in the XUAR is bilingual. But, notice what’s missing from the signs on these newly-opened, Uyghur-owned shops? (thanks again to the anonymous sender)”
This departure from established norms and regional practices within the so-called autonomous region underscores a broader concern. Reports widely suggest that the Chinese government, in its endeavor to assimilate and erase Uyghur identity and culture, has implemented measures including the prohibition of Uyghur language in education, the confiscation and burning of Uyghur books, and the apprehension of Uyghur language, history, and culture educators such as Rahila Dawut, Abdukadir Jalalidin, Yalqun Rozi, and others.
The absence of the Uyghur language on these shop signs unveils a gradual and disconcerting reality: symbols, signs, and characters that encapsulate the identity and culture of the Uyghur people are undergoing a deliberate process of eradication.