Bern to consult Jura before Uighur decision

Originally Published by World Radio Switzerland, 14 January 2010

The Swiss government says it won’t make a final decision on whether to take in two Uighur brothers who’ve been held at Guantanamo Bay until it’s heard from the canton of Jura, where the two men would ultimately be heading.

The Cabinet’s comments come amid deep divisions in parliament over the issue.

Some MPs have warned that accepting the two men would threaten national security and relations with China.

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China Nearly Doubles Security Budget for Xinjiang

Originally Published by New York Times, 13 January 2010

BEIJING — The government of the vast western region of Xinjiang, which last July was rocked by China’s deadliest ethnic violence in decades, is almost doubling its security budget this year compared with 2009, according to a report on Wednesday in China Daily, an official English-language newspaper.

The move is an indication of how deeply worried Chinese officials are that members of the Uighur and Han ethnic groups could clash again in the cities and desert oasis towns of the oil-rich region, and of the extraordinary measures the officials are taking to clamp down on the area.

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Parliament divided over Uighur situation

Originally Published by World Radio Switzerland, 13 January 2010

There are continuing divisions this morning in parliament over whether Switzerland should take in two Guantanamo detainees, minority Uighurs from China.

Two parliamentary committees have issued opposing appeals to influence the cabinet on the matter.

Members of parliament’s committee on human rights published a letter earlier this week, urging the federal cabinet to stick to their decision to house the two men. They also criticize China for what they describe as a ‘campaign to denigrate’ the Guantanamo detainees.

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Ethical Conflicts for Firms in China

Originally Published by Wall Street Journal, 13 January 2010

BEIJING — Google Inc.’s stunning announcement that it might withdraw from China follows its long struggle with the ethical implications of doing business here, an endeavor which has forced it to make painful concessions to its public embrace of freedom of information.

Google entered the China market relatively late. If began offering a Chinese-language version of its search site in 2000, but didn’t open offices in China until 2005—years after rivals like Yahoo Inc.—a delay that gave local rival Baidu.com Inc. time to gain dominance in the market.

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Freedom in the World 2010 Survey Release

Ogiginally Published by The Freedom House, 12 January 2010

On January 12, Freedom House released its findings from the latest edition of Freedom in the World, the annual survey of global political rights and civil liberties. According to the survey’s findings, 2009 marked the fourth consecutive year in which global freedom suffered a decline—the longest consecutive period of setbacks for freedom in the nearly 40-year history of the report. These declines were most pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa, although they also occurred in most other regions of the world. Furthermore, the erosion in freedom took place during a year marked by intensified repression against human rights defenders and democracy activists by many of the world’s most powerful authoritarian regimes, including Russia and China.

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China’s soft power hardens in Cambodia

Originally Published by Asia Times, January 11, 2010

PHNOM PENH – A day after Cambodian authorities spirited 20 ethnic Uighur asylum seekers out of the country on an unmarked charter flight, China’s Vice President Xi Jinping touched down at Siem Reap International Airport. During his three-day visit in late December, the Chinese leader signed an unprecedented US$1.2 billion in economic aid agreements with the Phnom Penh government, while rights groups and Western governments howled condemnation over the sudden deportations.

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Uighur man stabbed to death in south China: report

Originally Published by Washington Post, January 8, 2010

HONG KONG (Reuters) – A Uighur man was stabbed to death in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, a sign of lingering tensions after a factory brawl last summer sparked bloody ethnic riots in Xinjiang, a newspaper said on Saturday.

Energy-rich Xinjiang, homeland to the Muslim Uighur people and strategically located in central Asia, has been struck in recent years by bombings, attacks and riots blamed by Beijing on Uighur separatists demanding an independent “East Turkistan”.

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China to Swiss: Don’t Take Uighurs From Guantanamo

Originally Published by New York Times, 8 January 2010

GENEVA (AP) — China warned the Swiss government Friday against accepting two Guantanamo inmates as part of President Barack Obama’s effort to close the detention center, calling them terrorist suspects who should face Chinese justice.

In a sharply worded statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the pair of ethnic minority Uighurs posed a serious security threat to China, and to Switzerland if it were to offer them a new home.

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