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2019-02-19 13:20
Dear all,

I am to raise an issue on GitHub. This message is to publish my intention:

Dear Administrator,


I am a user of Tatoeba. I enjoy the website and look forward to contributing to it. I believe that the idea behind the website is to connect more people in the world.

Recently, I have noticed that the language flag for Uyghur language is ![this]( ), which seemed truly terrifying to me. This symbol was the proposed flag for 'East Turkestan', which was a terrorist proto-state that not a country on Earth had ever recognised. It is NOT the flag of Xinjiang Province where most of the Uyghur people lived, nor a globally recognisable flag for the nation/language. This would have the same implication from using the flag of ISIS for the Arabic language.

I am afraid that using this symbol would hurt the feeling of many Chinese people, as well as Uyghur people who always wish peace on their homeland.

Therefore, I strongly advice you to change the flag, and if possible, to flags like ![this]( ). It has more natural meanings and, more importantly, not biased.

Very Sincerely,

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2019-02-19 15:57
I'm back-referencing to the GitHub issue:

I'll have to ask for a little bit of patience as we are still working on fixing regressions from our code migration.

But Uyghur is not the only language in this situation. We also need to solve the flag issue for Kabyle, Tachawit and possibly other languages. Hopefully we can tackle this topic in March.
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2019-02-19 19:01
Magnifique exemple de génuflexion face à la pression de la RPC !
La définition chinoise de “terroriste” est : non approuvé par le Parti communiste chinois et la race Han, seule digne de commander les autres ethnies inférieures (selon leur définition, c’est à dire juste plus numériquement faible...) du territoire de la RPC.
C’est comme ça qu’ils ont interné toute la jeunesse ouïgour dans des camps de rééducation, comme ils font avec les Tibétains, quand ils ne frappent pas leurs moines à coups de crosse dans les lamasseries...
Le peuple ouïgour, comme le peuple tibétain, fait preuve d’un courage exemplaire face à une dictature sanguinaire, qui n’a rien à envier au nazisme. Il mérite le drapeau de son choix, pas celui imposé par son impitoyable oppresseur.
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2019-02-19 21:38 - 2019-02-20 17:11
One could easily check from [Policy paper: Proscribed terrorist groups or organisations](https://assets.publishing.servi...oscription.pdf ), page 18.

It states clearly that **'East Turkistan' is a Terrorist Organisation**. This public policy paper is a public document by UK government, available on

> TIP has been banned by the UN and is also sanctioned by the USA under the Terrorist Exclusion list.

I am not exaggerating at all. They are friends of ISIS, they kill innocent people in Xinjiang, while most of the victims were Uyghurs.

I believe it is an 'authentic' voice of English-speaking countries as well as many other sovereigns in the world.
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2019-02-21 08:56
> It states clearly that **'East Turkistan' is a Terrorist Organisation**.

Actually, it doesn't. It says "East Turkestan Islamic Party" is a terrorist organisation. East Turkestan Islamic Party ≠ East Turkistan. In this name, 'East Turkestan' used as **an adjective**.

An adjective is *not* the same thing as the main noun it represents:

* Lisbon Oceanarium ≠ Lisbon
* East Turkestan Islamic Party ≠ East Turkestan

The adjective and the main noun refer to **different things**:

* Lisbon Oceanarium is for fish, Lisbon is not,
* East Turkestan Islamic Party is terroristic, East Turkestan is not.

30 days ago
Jes ja, kaj simile uzas la vorton ĉiuj registaroj. Laŭ mi oni eĉ ne uzu la vorton 'terorismo' en seriozaj diskutoj, ĉar ĝi nur ekzistas por silentigi subprematajn popolojn.
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2019-02-19 21:48 - 2019-02-19 22:40
And, I shall tell you that I am with peaceful Uyghur people. I am learning Uzbek and Uyghur, and I am doing so to become a closer friend of them. I respect human rights, but not a racist.
2019-02-21 05:08
I am neither Uyghur nor Chinese but I have spent considerable time in the Uyghur homeland and am a speaker of Uyghur.

This is a sticky situation that has many layers and will most certainly leave no-one satisfied. It is *extremely* difficult to approach this issue without any bias, and I include myself in that judgement. Just wanted to get that out there.

The current flag for the Uyghur language is the flag of the First East Turkestan Republic - more detail here: I personally believe (NB, with my own personal biases in mind) that the original poster's conflation of the use of this flag with the principles of ISIS is wildly exaggerated. The ETR was founded in the wake of the political chaos that ensued when the governor of the region was assassinated and replaced by an incompetent official. It was formed in the wake of a populist rebellion that was highly motivated by the feeling that aggressive Sinicization policies were a threat to local Muslim identity.

To conflate today's ISIS with the ETR would be an anachronistic retconning of modern principles to the 1930s. Was there religious violence in the ETR, the imposition of Sharia law? Absolutely. But this violence truly is not very distinct when compared to other violent conflicts that were going all over in China at the time - the 1930s were pure chaos. The ETR may be better understood as simply one part of the political, cultural, and military boil that the whole area of China was undergoing.

Moreover, the logic really doesn't hold. The violence or moral indignation that a symbol may elicit in others really doesn't necessarily justify the removal of the symbol. After all, aren't their plenty of people who are morally outraged at the millions of people who died of starvation in the Great Leap Forward or were murdered in the Cultural Revolution, under the very flag that is used to represent Mandarin today? Aren't their plenty of righteously indignant Taiwanese Mandarin speakers who have claim to outrage at the PRC's flag representing Mandarin? This reasoning I'm putting forward here is deliberately flawed - an example of how outrage doesn't necessarily justify a removal.

The modern-day East Turkestan Islamic Movement is indeed a terrorist organization that uses a blue flag with the cresent and moon as well as the shahada written across the top. The first observation to make is that this flag is absolutely not the flag being used on Tatoeba. They draw from the same symbolism, but they are different. The co-opting of a symbol by a despised, despicable group does not necessarily delegitmize the symbol. After all, the ISIS flag has the shada - but so does the flag of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Should we kindly ask Saudi and Iranian embassies to remove their flag because of their offensive symbolism? Should Tatoeba change its current symbol for Persian? Going down this route really blurs the line between "evil terrorists" and "Muslims in general."

It is worth noting that the Uyghur flag, currently used by Tatoeba, has been adopted by the completely peaceful, non-terrorist Uyghur diaspora as a symbol of ethnic pride (see Its often seen at protests in the West and in Turkey against the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, which has been quite bad of late ( That being said, the flag is legitimately a *cultural*, if not political symbol of a large number of Uyghurs in the diaspora. Why the diaspora? The flag is illegal in Xinjiang. If you have one and display it, you will get in trouble, pronto. Basically, the answer to the question "does this flag legimately represent the linguistic community as far as Tatoeba is concerned" can't be answered because most Uyghurs on the planet could not even give a frank answer.

As others have pointed out, this situation is also difficult because of the use of the Tibetan flag for the Tibetan language on this site. The exact same principles apply to Tibet as to Xinjiang - an ethnic group with aspirations to nationhood that indeed was a separate nation at the time of the ETR, which eventually became a part of the PRC. The Tibetan flag is also banned in China and displaying it will get a Tibetan detained. It is used extensively in the Tibetan diaspora community and is the flag of the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala. I believe that most Chinese are less offended by the Tibetan flag because there is no "global Islamic terrorism" narrative that the Tibetans can be shoved into, and because there is this alternative Richard Gere-esque "peaceful, serene Buddhists" narrative that is easy to buy into for both Chinese and Westerners alike. As an interesting side note, there as an armed Tibetan rebellion in 1959 in which 2000 Chinese died, so if the original poster is offended by the questionable connections between the Uyghur flag and ISIS then he should be equally offended by the Tibetan flag as well.

Soliloquist, I see you made a good faith effort to get in touch with the Uyghur American Organization and the Uyghur Congress regarding the flag, motivated by the idea to get more Uyghurs into the picture. I can tell you before you even respond that two things will happen: first, both these organizations will answer affirmatively that the flag represents their community. As I said, the symbol has been adopted by the diaspora and many people in these organizations are people who deliberately fled China to escape perspecution. Second, Chinese users will not accept their answers as in China these organizations are depicted as US puppet/shadow organizations that are hell bent on the destruction of the PRC.

Okay, enough of that. I hope this information helps and contextualizes things. I believe I'm being accurate when I say that Tatoeba ultimately does not care about politics and only wants the flags to be representative of the linguistic community. What I add here is that when it comes to the Uyghurs, you can't separate politics from representativeness. There is a community of diaspora Uyghurs who will say this flag is theirs, and a much, much larger community of Uyghurs in China who have no say on the matter.

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30 days ago
Thank you very much, porfiriy. You've summed it up nicely.