The Uyghur walnuts that became China's "gold-pouring tree". The Uyghur walnuts that became China's "gold-pouring tree".

The Uyghur walnuts that became China's "gold-pouring tree".

The Uyghur walnuts that became China's "gold-pouring tree".

According to Chinese state media, Uyghur Eli has now become China's second largest walnut-growing base. FreshPlaza, an international fruit and vegetable information network, said in a March 7 news release that in 2024, Uyghur's fruit exports have doubled compared to the same period last year, including walnut exports, which set a record high.

Walnuts in the Uyghur region are mainly distributed in the orchards where Uyghurs are concentrated in the southwestern part of the Tarim Basin. Dozens of counties and hundreds of villages along the line from Kashgar to Hotan are the areas that produce the best quality walnuts. In particular, the areas centered on Yerken, Qayyaq, and Hotan are famous for their high-quality paper nuts with thin skin, thick kernels, and good taste. Nut growing has been one of the most important horticultural activities of Uyghur farmers in these areas for centuries.

However, in the following years, the walnuts of the Uyghur region began to be widely consumed in China, and the market price began to rise year by year. As a result, the Chinese government has recently scaled up Uyghur's walnut production and started exporting walnut products to international markets. So, have local Uyghur farmers benefited from the economic value and practical benefits of Uyghur nut production that has been directed domestically and internationally? How much does this have to do with the Uyghurs? What is the relationship between Uyghur forced labor and walnut production, which has scaled up so quickly and set the highest record for Uyghur fruit exports?

To answer these questions, let's look at the root of the problem!

We can clearly see from the news and information released by the Chinese state media that the economic value brought by Uyghur nut farming and nut products has not benefited the local Uyghurs, but that the Chinese fruit and vegetable export companies are reaping the benefits. If we look at the report of the Development and Planning Committee of the Uygur Autonomous Region on May 10, 2019, we can get a clear idea of ​​this. Because this news explains the nature of the problem. The title of the news is " Xinjiang Fruit Group overcomes poverty with the help of agricultural professional cooperative ". The report describes how the so-called "Xinjiang Fruit Group" developed the walnut industry in the garden village of Hotan County. That is, the company seized 58,000 acres of arable land from 15,000 Uyghur families through 44 agricultural cooperatives in Bagche County. They set up large-scale plantations of nut plantations on confiscated lands, and used the peasants from the confiscated lands as cheap labor or slave labor for the plantations.

The seizure of cultivated land by Chinese Uyghur farmers is not a recent phenomenon, but a problem that has been going on for many years. Especially after China divided the Uyghur population into 19 provinces and cities under the pretext of "rooting out poverty", the policy of dispossessing Uyghur farmers continued in a more radical form. As a result, today, many Uyghur farmers have become landless, landless wage laborers. In China's so-called "aid to Xinjiang" campaigns, it was argued that Uyghur farmers could not become as rich as Chinese farmers because they did not know agricultural techniques well; The Chinese who "came to Xinjiang to help" were portrayed as intercessors who saved the local Uyghurs from poverty. However, it is no secret that the colonialists have been using this kind of sugar-coated propaganda to cover up or justify their criminal activities throughout history, of course! However, because Chinese propaganda is supported by state power and politics, it is very difficult for Uyghurs to come to the surface of these misfortunes, both within China and internationally.

In fact, it is a clear truth that the original purpose of China's so-called "Xinjiang Aid Plan" was not to free local Uyghur farmers from poverty. It is clear that the Uyghur farmers are a hardworking people who, through their wisdom and hard work, have built beautiful orchards and created a living space in the seemingly waterless desert. Professor of German language and literature at Ankara University, Dr. M. In his article entitled "Uygurs and Uyghur Culture", Shukru Akkaya mentioned that cultivation and agriculture were very developed among Uyghurs, especially that the special irrigation system played an important role in the development of Uyghur horticulture and agriculture. He also pointed out that many documents about the trade of grain and grape juice have been found in the reserve Turpan and Tarim Basin in the archaeological excavations as proof of this.

The existence of a proverb among the Uyghurs that "no garden has no soul" is proof that the Uyghurs are a people who have paid special attention to cultivation in their life and production practices. Uyghurs used to plant flowers and various fruit trees and build gardens in the places where they lived. For this reason, any town or community inhabited by Uyghurs is surrounded by lush gardens. To sum up, the horticultural tradition created in the gardens and gardens is one of the important characteristics of the Uyghur culture.

After agriculture, horticulture is the second most important form of business in the Uyghur lifestyle. So the Uyghurs, who have been living by turning the teaching area into a garden, have also turned their land into a famous fruit-growing area.

Some Chinese documents also revealed that the fundamental factor that caused the Uyghur farmers to fall into the mire of poverty was the Chinese colony and its stronghold in the Uyghur region. Because of this, China was forced to dissolve the so-called "Xinjiang Production and Construction Base" in 1975. But a few years later, China's central government realized that if it did not restore Bingtuan, it would face the danger of losing Uyghur power. Thus, in the early 1980s, the Chinese central government, with the strong recommendation of Wang Zhen, restored Bingtuan in the Uyghur region. After the end of the Cultural Revolution, the Uyghurs, who had a chance to breathe freely under the small shadow of China's "reform" and "opening the door" policies, faced pressure and poverty again. Policies of marginalization and impoverishment eventually laid the foundation for today's genocide. As the Uighurs as a whole nation were subjected to the Chinese genocide, the agricultural and horticultural sectors of the Uighurs were naturally monopolized by the Chinese colonialists. Uyghur farmers were deprived of their farmland and turned into rural surplus labor and hired workers.

That is, the "Xinjang Fruit Group" we mentioned above not only took away the land of 15,000 Uyghur farmer families in Bagchae village of Hotan County, but also established walnut cultivation bases in many towns and cities in Aksu Prefecture, Kashigi Prefecture, and Hotan Prefecture in order to scale up the walnut industry in Uyghur Province. . The establishment of such bases naturally resulted in the confiscation of the lands of the local Uyghur farmers. Tragically, the Uyghur walnuts, harvested by the slave labor of Uyghur hired farmers in these bases and branded as "special local products of Xinjiang" by Chinese companies, became a "golden tree" that forced Uyghur farmers into forced labor but lined the pockets of Chinese colonialists.

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