China-Xinjiang Cemeteries/Truth

Western narratives of cemeteries in Xinjiang contradicts with truth

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Shotlist


Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China - Recent (CGTN - No access Chinese mainland)
1. Country road
2. Uygur poet Aziz Isa Elkun's family home
3. Aziz's mother, sister
4. Various of Aziz's mother, sister visiting father's tomb in cemetery
5. SOUNDBITE (Uygur) Hepizem Nizamidin, Aziz's mother (partially overlaid with shot 6):
"Aziz came back in February 2017 to take care of his father who was seriously ill back then. He left after over 10 days. His father passed away on November 4 of 2017. He called in December of 2017, mainly asking about how things are at home. He reminded me to take care of myself, stay healthy, and we are fine."
++SHOTS OVERLAYING SOUNDBITE++
6. Various of Aziz's mother, sister visiting father's tomb
++SHOTS OVERLAYING SOUNDBITE++
7. Photo of cultural relic site sign at ancient tomb
8. Burial ground
9. SOUNDBITE (Uygur) Hepizem Nizamidin, Aziz's mother (starting with shot/partially overlaid with shot 10):
"That's where Aziz's father's tomb used to be. There's weed everywhere. Old tombs are all dirt mounds that get damaged every time there's wind or rain. There's even stray cats and dogs digging holes there. So we had to constantly repair it."
++SHOTS OVERLAYING SOUNDBITE++
10. Various of burial ground
++SHOTS OVERLAYING SOUNDBITE++
11. Various of condition in burial ground
12. Satellite images of burial ground, new cemeteries
13. Various of new cemetery
14. SOUNDBITE (Uygur) Hepizem Nizamidin, Aziz's mother:
"We moved our family member's tomb at our own will. The new tombs are all made of bricks, they are nice, and can stand the impact of wind and rain. There's flowers and trees everywhere around the cemetery, which looks very nice in the summer. Our minds are at peace and we are very satisfied."
15. Various of new cemetery



Storyline


After a recent report from CNN stating that China has been "destroying" traditional Uygur cemeteries for several years citing Uygur poet Aziz Isa Elkun's father as an example, a crew from China Global Television Network (CGTN) went to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to investigate and spoke to Aziz's family to find out a completely different truth to that implication.

The city of Aksu in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has undergone tremendous changes these past decades. Once a barren region lying on the edge of the country's largest desert – the Taklamakan, Aksu and its outlying areas have seen rapid urban development and greening. This pace of change, however, is often brought up in certain Western narratives as grating against age-old customs, one that touches on an intensely personal and religious subject for locals – cemeteries.

A cemetery in Xayar County of Aksu Prefecture has recently become the focus of international controversy. CNN reported that graveyards in the region were being demolished by authorities, highlighting stories such as that of Aziz Isa Elkun, now residing in London, who had said he couldn't find his father's grave on Google Maps. The article implies that the "destruction" of these Uygur cemeteries, a central part of local communities, was part of a systematic effort to erase Uygur culture.

A roughly four-hour drive from Aksu's city center lies the village of Yegiqiman, a place of charming antiquity, where Elkun's family resides.

According to CNN, Aziz knows exactly where his father's tomb is, but due to his status, he couldn't come home to visit, or call his mother.

However during an interview with Aziz's mother Hepizem Nizamidin, she painted a totally different picture.

"Aziz came back in February 2017 to take care of his father who was seriously ill back then. He left after over 10 days. His father passed away on November 4 of 2017," said Hepizem, "He called in December of 2017, mainly asking about how things are at home. He reminded me to take care of myself, stay healthy, and we are fine."

The 78-year-old Uygur woman slowly walked to her husband's grave, which lies next to those of his parents and brother.

The No. 47 grave sits in a cemetery that houses thousands of graves. On December 15, 2018, Hepizem moved the remains of her husband Eysa Abdula here from a site less than 100 meters away – once an old, dilapidated land filled with unmarked grave mounds.

CNN also showed a picture of the type of tombs where Aziz's father was buried in, which was inaccurate, as the picture was an ancient tomb that is now a cultural relic site.

The old grave site where Aziz's father's tomb was once at – dusty and unkempt – had been battered by the scathing sun, seasonal floods, and dry, dusty winters for decades. After Eysa died from a heart attack in November 2017, his family laid him to rest in this burial ground according to Uygur Muslim funerary rites.

"That's where Aziz's father's tomb used to be. There's weed everywhere. Old tombs are all dirt mounds that get damaged every time there's wind or rain. There's even stray cats and dogs digging holes there. So we had to constantly repair it," said Hepizem.

Hepizem and her family had been afraid that one day they could not find Eysa's grave amid deluges of rain and dust.

Their concern was alleviated the following April when they heard the news that a standard, concrete cemetery would be built near these old grave mounds. They applied for relocation back then and moved Eysa's grave to the new cemetery in December 2018.

Hepizem is not alone in Xinjiang's grave "disappearance" myth perpetrated by CNN and other Western media outlets.

Some villagers are not able to find the graves of their departed families, due to little or no maintenance, and no gravestones in many of these old burial grounds.

Since the early 2000s, local civil affairs bureaus have received complaints from residents about the decrepit environment regarding the old graveyards and the difficulty in finding the graves of their deceased relatives. Local governments spent over a decade seeking public opinions and building new environmentally-friendly cemeteries.

There are now 821 eco-friendly cemeteries in Aksu Prefecture, the majority of which were built near their corresponding old graveyards, and can satisfy demand for the next 20 years. The old graveyards, estimated at 2,787, were either turned into farmland to help generate more income for poor households or maintained as empty land for those who can't locate their families' graves for visits.

"We moved our family member's tomb at our own will. The new tombs are all made of bricks, they are nice, and can stand the impact of wind and rain. There's flowers and trees everywhere around the cemetery, which looks very nice in the summer. Our minds are at peace and we are very satisfied," said Hepizem.


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  • ID : 8132601
  • Published : 2020-01-14 08:19
  • Last Modified : 2020-01-15 14:57:23
  • Location : China
  • Category : society
  • Duration : 2'38
  • Audio Language : Uygur/Part Mute
  • Source : China Global Television Network (CGTN)
  • Restrictions : No access Chinese mainland
  • Version : 1
  • ID : 8132601
  • Published : 2020-01-14 16:17
  • Last Modified : 2020-01-15 14:57:23
  • Location : China
  • Category : society
  • Duration : 2'38
  • Audio Language : Uigur/Part Mute
  • Source : China Global Television Network (CGTN)
  • Restrictions : No acceso a la parte continental de China
  • Version : 1
  • ID : 8132601
  • Published : 2020-01-14 19:06
  • Last Modified : 2020-01-15 14:57:23
  • Category : society
  • Duration : 2'38
  • Audio Language : ウイグル語/一部音声なし
  • Source : China Central Television (CCTV)
  • Restrictions : 中国大陸での使用は不可
  • Version : 1
  • ID : 8132601
  • Published : 2020-01-15 14:41
  • Last Modified : 2020-01-15 14:57:23
  • Category : society
  • Duration : 2'38
  • Audio Language : Uigurisch / Teilweise ohne Ton
  • Source : China Global Television Network (CGTN)
  • Restrictions : Für das chinesische Festland nicht verfügbar
  • Version : 1

China-Xinjiang Cemeteries/Truth

Western narratives of cemeteries in Xinjiang contradicts with truth

Dateline : Recent

Location : China

Duration : 2'38

  • English
  • Español
  • 日本語
  • Deutsch


Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China - Recent (CGTN - No access Chinese mainland)
1. Country road
2. Uygur poet Aziz Isa Elkun's family home
3. Aziz's mother, sister
4. Various of Aziz's mother, sister visiting father's tomb in cemetery
5. SOUNDBITE (Uygur) Hepizem Nizamidin, Aziz's mother (partially overlaid with shot 6):
"Aziz came back in February 2017 to take care of his father who was seriously ill back then. He left after over 10 days. His father passed away on November 4 of 2017. He called in December of 2017, mainly asking about how things are at home. He reminded me to take care of myself, stay healthy, and we are fine."
++SHOTS OVERLAYING SOUNDBITE++
6. Various of Aziz's mother, sister visiting father's tomb
++SHOTS OVERLAYING SOUNDBITE++
7. Photo of cultural relic site sign at ancient tomb
8. Burial ground
9. SOUNDBITE (Uygur) Hepizem Nizamidin, Aziz's mother (starting with shot/partially overlaid with shot 10):
"That's where Aziz's father's tomb used to be. There's weed everywhere. Old tombs are all dirt mounds that get damaged every time there's wind or rain. There's even stray cats and dogs digging holes there. So we had to constantly repair it."
++SHOTS OVERLAYING SOUNDBITE++
10. Various of burial ground
++SHOTS OVERLAYING SOUNDBITE++
11. Various of condition in burial ground
12. Satellite images of burial ground, new cemeteries
13. Various of new cemetery
14. SOUNDBITE (Uygur) Hepizem Nizamidin, Aziz's mother:
"We moved our family member's tomb at our own will. The new tombs are all made of bricks, they are nice, and can stand the impact of wind and rain. There's flowers and trees everywhere around the cemetery, which looks very nice in the summer. Our minds are at peace and we are very satisfied."
15. Various of new cemetery




After a recent report from CNN stating that China has been "destroying" traditional Uygur cemeteries for several years citing Uygur poet Aziz Isa Elkun's father as an example, a crew from China Global Television Network (CGTN) went to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to investigate and spoke to Aziz's family to find out a completely different truth to that implication.

The city of Aksu in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has undergone tremendous changes these past decades. Once a barren region lying on the edge of the country's largest desert – the Taklamakan, Aksu and its outlying areas have seen rapid urban development and greening. This pace of change, however, is often brought up in certain Western narratives as grating against age-old customs, one that touches on an intensely personal and religious subject for locals – cemeteries.

A cemetery in Xayar County of Aksu Prefecture has recently become the focus of international controversy. CNN reported that graveyards in the region were being demolished by authorities, highlighting stories such as that of Aziz Isa Elkun, now residing in London, who had said he couldn't find his father's grave on Google Maps. The article implies that the "destruction" of these Uygur cemeteries, a central part of local communities, was part of a systematic effort to erase Uygur culture.

A roughly four-hour drive from Aksu's city center lies the village of Yegiqiman, a place of charming antiquity, where Elkun's family resides.

According to CNN, Aziz knows exactly where his father's tomb is, but due to his status, he couldn't come home to visit, or call his mother.

However during an interview with Aziz's mother Hepizem Nizamidin, she painted a totally different picture.

"Aziz came back in February 2017 to take care of his father who was seriously ill back then. He left after over 10 days. His father passed away on November 4 of 2017," said Hepizem, "He called in December of 2017, mainly asking about how things are at home. He reminded me to take care of myself, stay healthy, and we are fine."

The 78-year-old Uygur woman slowly walked to her husband's grave, which lies next to those of his parents and brother.

The No. 47 grave sits in a cemetery that houses thousands of graves. On December 15, 2018, Hepizem moved the remains of her husband Eysa Abdula here from a site less than 100 meters away – once an old, dilapidated land filled with unmarked grave mounds.

CNN also showed a picture of the type of tombs where Aziz's father was buried in, which was inaccurate, as the picture was an ancient tomb that is now a cultural relic site.

The old grave site where Aziz's father's tomb was once at – dusty and unkempt – had been battered by the scathing sun, seasonal floods, and dry, dusty winters for decades. After Eysa died from a heart attack in November 2017, his family laid him to rest in this burial ground according to Uygur Muslim funerary rites.

"That's where Aziz's father's tomb used to be. There's weed everywhere. Old tombs are all dirt mounds that get damaged every time there's wind or rain. There's even stray cats and dogs digging holes there. So we had to constantly repair it," said Hepizem.

Hepizem and her family had been afraid that one day they could not find Eysa's grave amid deluges of rain and dust.

Their concern was alleviated the following April when they heard the news that a standard, concrete cemetery would be built near these old grave mounds. They applied for relocation back then and moved Eysa's grave to the new cemetery in December 2018.

Hepizem is not alone in Xinjiang's grave "disappearance" myth perpetrated by CNN and other Western media outlets.

Some villagers are not able to find the graves of their departed families, due to little or no maintenance, and no gravestones in many of these old burial grounds.

Since the early 2000s, local civil affairs bureaus have received complaints from residents about the decrepit environment regarding the old graveyards and the difficulty in finding the graves of their deceased relatives. Local governments spent over a decade seeking public opinions and building new environmentally-friendly cemeteries.

There are now 821 eco-friendly cemeteries in Aksu Prefecture, the majority of which were built near their corresponding old graveyards, and can satisfy demand for the next 20 years. The old graveyards, estimated at 2,787, were either turned into farmland to help generate more income for poor households or maintained as empty land for those who can't locate their families' graves for visits.

"We moved our family member's tomb at our own will. The new tombs are all made of bricks, they are nice, and can stand the impact of wind and rain. There's flowers and trees everywhere around the cemetery, which looks very nice in the summer. Our minds are at peace and we are very satisfied," said Hepizem.


ID : 8132601

Published : 2020-01-14 08:19

Last Modified : 2020-01-15 14:57:23

Source : China Global Television Network (CGTN)

Restrictions : No access Chinese mainland

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