Published:  03:52 AM, 02 February 2022

A Uyghur gets death sentence, as China bans once OK'd books

A Uyghur gets death sentence, as China bans once OK'd books

 As the Chinese government tightened its grip over its ethnic Uyghur population, it sentenced one man to death and three others to life in prison last year for textbooks drawn in part from historical resistance movements that had once been sanctioned by the ruling Communist Party.

An AP review of images and stories presented as problematic in a state media documentary, and interviews with people involved in editing the textbooks, found they were rooted in previously accepted narratives - two drawings are based on a 1940s movement praised by Mao Zedong, who founded the communist state in 1949.

Now, as the party's imperatives have changed, it has partially reinterpreted them with devastating consequences for individuals, while also depriving students of ready access to a part of their heritage. It is a less publicized chapter in a wide-ranging crackdown on Uyghurs and other largely Muslim groups, which has prompted the U.S. and others to stage a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics that open Friday.

Foreign experts, governments and media have documented the detention of an estimated 1 million or more people, the demolition of mosques and forced sterilization and abortion. The Chinese government denies human rights violations and says it has taken steps to eliminate separatism and extremism in its western Xinjiang region.

The attack on textbooks and the officials responsible for them shows how far the Communist Party is going to control and reshape the Uyghur community. It comes as President Xi Jinping, in the name of ethnic unity, pushes a more assimilations policy on Tibetans, Mongolians and other ethnic groups that scales back bilingual education. Scholars and activists fear the disappearance of Uyghur cultural history, handed down in stories of heroes and villains across generations.

---AP, Taipei, Taiwan

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