All posts by ESCAS

From the ESCAS Board: Statement of concern over the indictment and imprisonment of Professor Andrei V. Kubatin, Institute of Oriental Studies, Tashkent.

 

[Russian translation here.]

Statement of concern over the indictment and imprisonment of Professor Andrei V. Kubatin, Institute of Oriental Studies, Tashkent

10 June, 2019

The European Society for Central Asian Studies expresses its deep concern over the indictment and continued imprisonment, and alleged torture of our colleague Andrei V. Kubatin in Uzbekistan. Andrei Kubatin is a well-known scholar, who worked at the Institute of Oriental Studies in Tashkent, and who has made a significant contribution to the study of the early history of Uzbekistan.

In December 2017 Andrei Kubatin was convicted of treason and sentenced to 11 years imprisonment (later reduced to six years on appeal).[1] The prosecution alleged that he provided scanned copies of rare books to a foreign scholar. Kubatin maintains that none of the materials involved classified documents, but were copies of publicly available scholarly works from his own library. He maintains his innocence of all charges. International human rights groups and scholarly associations have repeatedly highlighted his case and urged his release.[2] They have also pointed to credible evidence that he was tortured during the initial phase of detention.[3]

The continued imprisonment of Andrei Kubatin threatens to undermine recent important advances made by the Government of Uzbekistan in expanding academic freedom and promoting international academic cooperation. We understand that Andrei Kubatin has been granted an appeal hearing which will take place once again on Wednesday, June 12.

We join others in the scholarly community in calling for Andrei Kubatin’s release.

The ESCAS Board.

 

 

[1] http://enews.fergananews.com/news.php?id=3801&mode=snews

[2] See the statement by the Central Eurasian Studies Society, at https://www.centraleurasia.org/2019/kubatin  Human Rights Watch, https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/08/beyond-samarkand

[3] Human Rights Watch World Report 2019, ‘Uzbekistan’,  https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/uzbekistan

Заявление о обеспокоенности по поводу обвинительного заключения и заключения в тюрьму профессора Андрея Кубатина, Институт востоковедения, Ташкент

Заявление о обеспокоенности по поводу обвинительного заключения и заключения в тюрьму профессора Андрея Кубатина, Институт востоковедения, Ташкент

10 июня 2019 г.

Европейское общество по изучению Центральной Азии выражает глубокую обеспокоенность по поводу обвинительного заключения и продолжающегося тюремного заключения, а также по поводу предполагаемых пыток нашего коллеги Андрея Кубатина в Узбекистане. Андрей Кубатин – известный ученый, который работал в Институте востоковедения в Ташкенте и внес значительный вклад в изучение ранней истории Узбекистана.

В декабре 2017 года Андрей Кубатин был признан виновным в государственной измене и приговорен к 11 годам лишения свободы (после апелляции срок был сокращен до шести лет). [1] Согласно обвинению, Андрей Кубатин пeредал отсканированные копии редких книг иностранному ученому. Кубатин утверждает, что ни один из указанных материалов не содержал секретных документов, все материалы были копиями общедоступных научных работ из его личной библиотеки. Он настаивает на своей невиновности в отношении всех выдвинутых против него обвинений. Международные правозащитные группы и научные ассоциации неоднократно освещали его дело и требовали его освобождения. [2] Они также указывают на наличие достоверных доказательств того, что находясь под стражей во время предварительного заключения ученый подвергался пыткам.[3]

Продолжающееся лишение свободы Андрея Кубатина ставит под сомнение важные шаги, предпринятые правительством Узбекистана в последнее время, направленные на расширение академической свободы и развитие международного академического сотрудничества.

Новое слушание по апелляции поданной Андреем Кубатиным назначено на среду, 12 июня.

Мы присоединяемся к призывам научного сообщества освободить Андрея Кубатина.

 

[1] http://enews.fergananews.com/news.php?id=3801&mode=snews

[2] See the statement by the Central Eurasian Studies Society, at https://www.centraleurasia.org/2019/kubatin  Human Rights Watch, https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/08/beyond-samarkand

[3] Human Rights Watch World Report 2019, ‘Uzbekistan’,  https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/uzbekistan

From the ESCAS Board: Statement on the detentions and deaths of Central Asian Muslims in ‘re-education centres’ in Xinjiang, China.

[For a Russian translation, see here.]

15 May 2019

The European Society for Central Asian Studies expresses its dismay over the detention of up to 1.5 million Uyghurs and others of mainly Central Asian origin in political “re-education centers” in Xinjiang, Northwest China.[1] These individuals have been interned, imprisoned, or forcibly “disappeared” since April 2017.[2] Furthermore, the wider use of surveillance and artificial intelligence technology to control the population causes us deep concern.[3] Such detention and control measures constitute major violations of human rights,[4] and, in the case of our academic colleagues, a clear disregard for academic freedom.

We are particularly dismayed at the disappearance of at least 435 Uyghur intellectuals and scholars, among whom 125 are students and 77 are university instructors from institutions including Xinjiang University, Xinjiang Normal University, Kashgar University, Xinjiang Medical University, Xinjiang Social Sciences Academy and Khotan Teachers’ College.[5] Among them is our colleague Professor Rahile Dawut, world-renowned scholar of Uyghur studies and internationally recognized expert in Uyghur folklore and traditions.[6] Meanwhile, economics professor Ilham Tohti, who was recently awarded the Freedom Award for highlighting religious and cultural persecution in Xinjiang and calling for understanding between Uyghurs and Han Chinese, is serving a life sentence for alleged ‘ethnic separatism’.[7]

Uyghurs and others of mainly Central Asian origin have been denied the freedom to use their mother tongue, to pursue Qur’anic studies, or to study and research abroad.[8] Those returning to China from periods of study or research have been recalled, detained, questioned, or caused to disappear into internment camps.[9] At least 49 deaths in custody (or occurring shortly after release) have been confirmed during this period. Of these, nine were intellectuals, including religious scholars Muhammad Salih Hajim and Abdulehed Mehsum; scholars Hamit Himit, Abdusattar Qarahajim, Erkinjan Abdukerim and Ehet Aman; and students Abdusalam Mamat, Yasinjan and Mutellip Nurmehmet.[10]

The European Society for Central Asian Studies is a non-political, non-profit international academic association comprising some 1,000 members and committed to the free and open dissemination of knowledge in and about Central Asia. We are a global community whose work thrives on active interaction between scholars and students from around the world.

We condemn these detentions in Xinjiang and strongly urge the Chinese government to ensure the safe return of our colleagues and their students.  It is the view of the board of the European Society for Central Asian Studies that the actions taking place in Xinjiang puts international academic cooperation with Chinese institutions and scholars into jeopardy and raises profound moral questions for foreign academics that wish to work with Chinese colleagues in Central Asian Studies.

The ESCAS Board.

[1] Adrian Zenz (2019) ‘“Thoroughly reforming them towards a healthy heart attitude”: China’s political re-education campaign in Xinjiang’, Central Asian Survey, 38.1, 102-128,

DOI: 10.1080/02634937.2018.1507997; ‘1.5 million Muslims could be detained in China’s Xinjiang: academic’, 13 March 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-xinjiang-rights/15-million-muslims-could-be-detained-in-chinas-xinjiang-academic-idUSKCN1QU2MQ.

[2] Joanne Smith Finley (ed.) Special Issue on Securitization, insecurity and conflict in contemporary Xinjiang, Central Asian Survey, 38.1 (2019), https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ccas20/38/1;  Sean R. Roberts (2018), ‘The biopolitics of China’s “war on terror” and the exclusion of the Uyghurs’, Critical Asian Studies, 50:2, 232-258, DOI: 10.1080/14672715.2018.1454111.

[3]James A. Millward, ‘What it’s like to live in a surveillance state’, 3 February 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/opinion/sunday/china-surveillance-state-uighurs.html; Darren Byler, ‘China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority’, 11 April 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/apr/11/china-hi-tech-war-on-muslim-minority-xinjiang-uighurs-surveillance-face-recognition; Human Rights Watch, ’China’s Algorithms of Repression: Reverse Engineering a Xinjiang Police Mass Surveillance App’, 1 May 2019, https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/05/01/chinas-algorithms-repression/reverse-engineering-xinjiang-police-mass-surveillance.

[4] Violated rights include: the right to life, liberty and security (Art.3); the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Art.5); the right to equal protection of the law without discrimination (Art.7); the right to be free from arbitrary arrest, detention or exile (Art.9); the right to a fair and public hearing in the determination of criminal charges (Art.10); the right to be free from arbitrary interference with one’s privacy, family, home or correspondence (Art.12); the right to leave and return to one’s own country (Art.13); the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Art.18); and the right to freedom of opinion and expression (Art.19), https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/.

[5] Uyghur Human Rights Project report on the disappearance and detention of Uyghur intellectuals, 25 March 2019, https://docs.uhrp.org/pdf/Detained-and-Disappeared-Intellectuals-Under-Assault-in-the-Uyghur-Homeland.pdf; ‘UPDATE – Detained and Disappeared: Intellectuals Under Assault in the Uyghur Homeland’, Uyghur Human Rights Project, https://uhrp.org/press-release/update-%E2%80%93-detained-and-disappeared-intellectuals-under-assault-uyghur-homeland.html .

[6] Scholars at Risk Network, https://www.scholarsatrisk.org/actions/rahile-dawut-china/.

[7]‘Jailed Uyghur Scholar Ilham Tohti Receives Freedom House’s “Freedom Award”’,

https://uhrp.org/news-commentary/jailed-uyghur-scholar-ilham-tohti-receives-freedom-house%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98freedom-award%E2%80%99.

[8] Darren Byler, ‘The “patriotism” of not speaking Uyghur’, Supchina, 2 Jan 2019, https://supchina.com/2019/01/02/the-patriotism-of-not-speaking-uyghur/.

[9] Special Correspondent, ‘A summer vacation in China’s Muslim gulag: How one university student was almost buried by the “people’s war on terror”’, Foreign Policy, 28 Feb 2018, https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/02/28/a-summer-vacation-in-chinas-muslim-gulag/.

[10] Xinjiang Victims Database, Deaths (2017 – ), https://shahit.biz/eng/#lists; ‘Two Uyghur students die in China’s custody following voluntary return from Egypt’, Radio Free Asia, 21 Dec 2017, https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/students-12212017141002.html; Uyghur Human Rights Project, ‘Uyghur Human Rights Project condemns death in custody of scholar Muhammad Salih Hajim’, 29 Jan 2018, https://uhrp.org/press-release/uyghur-human-rights-project-condemns-death-custody-scholar-muhammad-salih-hajim.html.

Заявление по поводу задержания и гибели мусульман Центральной Азии в «центрах перевоспитания» в Синьцзяне, Китай.

 

15 Мая, 2019

Европейское общество по изучению Центральной Азии (ESCAS) выражает глубокую обеспокоенность по поводу задержания около 1,5 миллионов уйгуров и других лиц среднезиатского происхождения в политических «центрах перевоспитания» в Синьцзяне на северо-западе Китая[1]. Эти лица были интернированы, заключены в тюрьму или насильно похищены начиная с апреля 2017 года[2]. Кроме того, у нас вызывает беспокойство более широкое использование технологий наблюдения и искусственного интеллекта для контроля над населением[3]. Подобные меры задержания и контроля представляют собой серьезные нарушения прав человека[4], а в случае наших академических коллег, явное игнорирование академической свободы.

Мы особенно встревожены исчезновением как минимум 435 уйгурских интеллектуалов и ученых, среди которых 125 студентов и 77 преподавателей, из таких университетов как Синьцзянский университет, Синьцзянский педагогический университет, Кашгарский университет, Синьцзянский медицинский университет, Синьцзянская академия социальных наук и Хотанский педагогический колледж[5]. Среди них наш коллега, профессор Рахиле Даут, всемирно известный ученый по уйгурским исследованиям и широко признанный эксперт по уйгурскому фольклору и традициям[6]. Тем временем, профессор экономики Ильхам Тохти, который недавно был награжден Премией Свободы за освещение религиозных и культурных преследований в Синьцзяне и призыв к взаимопониманию между уйгурами и ханьцами, отбывает пожизненное заключение по обвинению в «этническом сепаратизме»[7].

Уйгурам и другим лицам, в основном среднеазиатского происхождения, было отказано в праве использовать свой родной язык, заниматься изучением Корана, учиться или заниматься исследованиями за границей[8]. Те, кто вернулись в Китай после обучения или проведения исследований, были задержаны, допрошены или насильственно помещены в лагеря для интернированных[9]. За этот период было подтверждено не менее 49 смертей (или произошедших вскоре после освобождения) среди заключенных. Из них девять были интеллектуалами, включая религиозных ученых таких как Мухаммед Салих Хаджим и Абдулед Мехсум, ученых Хамита Химита, Абдусаттара Карахаджима, Эркинджана Абдукерима и Эхета Амана, а также студентов Абдусалама Мамата, Ясинджана и Мутеллипа Нурмехмет[10].

Европейское общество по изучению Центральной Азии – это неполитическая, некоммерческая международная академическая ассоциация, объединяющая около 1000 членов и приверженная свободному и открытому распространению знаний о Центральной Азии. Мы являемся глобальным сообществом, чья работа направлена на активное взаимодействие ученых и студентов со всего мира.

Мы осуждаем эти задержания в Синьцзяне и настоятельно призываем правительство КНР обеспечить безопасное возвращение наших коллег и их студентов. Правление Европейского общества по изучению Центральной Азии считает, что действия, происходящие в Синьцзяне, ставят под угрозу международное академическое сотрудничество с китайскими учреждениями и учеными и поднимают вопросы морали для иностранных ученых, которые хотят работать с китайскими коллегами по изучению Центральной Азии.

[1] Adrian Zenz (2019) ‘“Thoroughly reforming them towards a healthy heart attitude”: China’s political re-education campaign in Xinjiang’, Central Asian Survey, 38.1, 102-128,

DOI: 10.1080/02634937.2018.1507997; ‘1.5 million Muslims could be detained in China’s Xinjiang: academic’, 13 March 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-xinjiang-rights/15-million-muslims-could-be-detained-in-chinas-xinjiang-academic-idUSKCN1QU2MQ.

[2] Joanne Smith Finley (ed.) Special Issue on Securitization, insecurity and conflict in contemporary Xinjiang, Central Asian Survey, 38.1 (2019), https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ccas20/38/1;  Sean R. Roberts (2018), ‘The biopolitics of China’s “war on terror” and the exclusion of the Uyghurs’, Critical Asian Studies, 50:2, 232-258, DOI: 10.1080/14672715.2018.1454111.

[3] James A. Millward, ‘What it’s like to live in a surveillance state’, 3 February 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/opinion/sunday/china-surveillance-state-uighurs.html; Darren Byler, ‘China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority’, 11 April 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/apr/11/china-hi-tech-war-on-muslim-minority-xinjiang-uighurs-surveillance-face-recognition; Human Rights Watch, ’China’s Algorithms of Repression: Reverse Engineering a Xinjiang Police Mass Surveillance App’, 1 May 2019, https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/05/01/chinas-algorithms-repression/reverse-engineering-xinjiang-police-mass-surveillance.

[4] К нарушенным правам относятся: право на жизнь, свободу и личную неприкосновенность (ст.3); право быть свободным от пыток и жестоких, бесчеловечных или унижающих достоинство видов обращения и наказания (статья 5); право на равную защиту закона без дискриминации (ст.7); право быть свободным от произвольного ареста, задержания или ссылки (ст. 9); право на справедливое и публичное разбирательство при определении уголовных обвинений (ст.10); право быть свободным от произвольного вмешательства в частную жизнь, семью, дом или переписку (ст.12); право покидать и возвращаться в свою страну (ст.13); право на свободу мысли, совести и религии (ст.18); и право на свободу мнений и их свободное выражение (ст.19), https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/.

[5] Uyghur Human Rights Project report on the disappearance and detention of Uyghur intellectuals, 25 March 2019, https://docs.uhrp.org/pdf/Detained-and-Disappeared-Intellectuals-Under-Assault-in-the-Uyghur-Homeland.pdf; ‘UPDATE – Detained and Disappeared: Intellectuals Under Assault in the Uyghur Homeland’, Uyghur Human Rights Project, https://uhrp.org/press-release/update-%E2%80%93-detained-and-disappeared-intellectuals-under-assault-uyghur-homeland.html .

[6] Scholars at Risk Network, https://www.scholarsatrisk.org/actions/rahile-dawut-china/.

[7] ‘Jailed Uyghur Scholar Ilham Tohti Receives Freedom House’s “Freedom Award”’, https://uhrp.org/news-commentary/jailed-uyghur-scholar-ilham-tohti-receives-freedom-house%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98freedom-award%E2%80%99.

[8] Darren Byler, ‘The “patriotism” of not speaking Uyghur’, Supchina, 2 Jan 2019, https://supchina.com/2019/01/02/the-patriotism-of-not-speaking-uyghur/.

[9] Special Correspondent, ‘A summer vacation in China’s Muslim gulag: How one university student was almost buried by the “people’s war on terror”’, Foreign Policy, 28 Feb 2018, https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/02/28/a-summer-vacation-in-chinas-muslim-gulag/.

[10] Xinjiang Victims Database, Deaths (2017 – ), https://shahit.biz/eng/#lists; ‘Two Uyghur students die in China’s custody following voluntary return from Egypt’, Radio Free Asia, 21 Dec 2017, https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/students-12212017141002.html; Uyghur Human Rights Project, ‘Uyghur Human Rights Project condemns death in custody of scholar Muhammad Salih Hajim’, 29 Jan 2018, https://uhrp.org/press-release/uyghur-human-rights-project-condemns-death-custody-scholar-muhammad-salih-hajim.html.

2019 ESCAS Conference – Call for Papers

ESCAS 2019 Exeter: The Globality of Central Asia

Held at the University of Exeter (UK), the theme for the 16th conference is The Globality of Central Asia.  We invite proposals for papers, panels, roundtables and sessions in non-traditional formats covering all aspects of Central Asian Studies across the humanities and social sciences.

We particularly encourage proposals which link Central Asia to its global context, historically and contemporaneously. We encourage studies of this geography which engage both territory, space and place. These may include the studies of Central Asia’s migrations and diaspora, its ethnic minority populations, its offshore and extraterritorial spaces, and its place in global and imperial histories. This globality may be visible in archaeologies, cultural studies and pre-modern histories, as well as in modern social, economic and political patterns across borders.

Our conference will assess globalizations from below as well as those from above; we therefore invite papers addressing the interpellation of localities and globalities: How are the individuals and communities of Central Asia related to global processes?

ESCAS2019 Conference Committee

The Joint Conference Committee composed of local University of Exeter members and ESCAS are as follows:

  • Gulzat Botoeva, University of Roehampton, Department of Social Sciences
  • Juliette Cleuziou, ESCAS Board / University Lumières — Lyon 2, Department of Anthropology
  • Asel Doolotkeldieva, Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University, Kyrgyzstan, Department of International Relations
  • John Heathershaw, Chair of committee, ESCAS Board / University of Exeter, Department of Politics
  • Ablet Kamalov, ESCAS Board / Turan University, Kazakhstan, Department of History
  • David Lewis, University of Exeter, Department of Politics
  • Emma Loosely, University of Exeter, Department of Theology and Religion
  • Beatrice Penati, ESCAS Board / University of Liverpool, Department of History

The committee members can be contacted through the local Conference Administrator, Chee Wong, at escas16@exeter.ac.uk.

Submission of proposals

The online portal on this website opened on 18 July 2018 and will close on Wednesday 31 October 2018 (midnight GMT) — check the key dates further on the conference page. Each proposal will be assessed by reviewers with relevant experience, can have a variety of formats, and may be in Russian and/or English.

Guidance for the submission of proposals can be found here.

To submit a panel or paper proposal, click here.

For further practical information on the venue and accommodation, visit the conference website here.

 

ESCAS 2017 at AUCA in Bishkek, 29 June-2 July

Announcing the 15th Biennial Conference of the European Society for Central Asian Studies

The European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS) is pleased to announce that we will be holding our 15th Biennial Conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, hosted by the Central Asian Studies Institute (CASI) at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA).

The conference will be held 29 June to 2 July 2017.  Please mark your calendars and save the date.

For more information see here.

ESCAS holds its conference every other year in cooperation with one of the leading universities of Central Asia or Europe, beginning with its first conference at the University of Utrecht in 1985.  Recent conferences were held at:

  •  University of Zurich (Switzerland), 2015
  • Nazarbayev University (Astana, Kazakhstan), 2013
  • University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), 2011
  • Central European University (Budapest, Hungary), 2009

 

Board Election of New Officers

ESCAS Board Election of New Officers

The ESCAS Board is pleased to announce the results of the elections of ESCAS Officers that took place on March 1, 2016:

President:  John Schoeberlein
Vice-President:  Beatrice Penati
Secretary: Dina Sharipova

ESCAS Officers are elected by the ESCAS Board from among the Board members, for a two-year term that will be completed with the next ESCAS conference in 2017.  Elections to the ESCAS Board are held in conjunction with the biennial conference, which will be held next in 2017.

We are grateful for the continuing service of other ESCAS Board Members.  While not all Board Members have an Officer title, they all contribute to the leadership that sustains the Society.  Other members of the board are Judith Beyer, John Heathershaw, Svetlana Jacquesson, Zhanylzhan Junussova, and Qakhrahmon Yaqubov.

We also express gratitude for the continuing service of Zifa Auezova in the role of ESCAS Treasurer.  We will be looking for someone to carry this role forward as we very likely relocate the base of ESCAS after decades of being located in the Netherlands.

Finally, we express appreciation to Meruert Abusseitova for her leadership term in the ESCAS Presidency (2013-2015).