Fears of unrest in China’s Urumqi with Uighur homes demolished

Originally published by Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 16 July 2010

Chinese authorities are demolishing hundreds of buildings in an area of Urumqi, in the country’s northwest which is home to many Muslim Uighers. More than 200-thousand people lived in the Heijiashan area, one of the flashpoints for the ethnic violence that erupted last July, leaving nearly 200 dead. The government now says it wants to build a new residential development to prevent a repeat of the violence. But there are fears the move will only increase tension and lead to further unrest.

Presenter: Helene Hofman
Speakers: Dru Gladney, Director, Pacific Basin Institute, California; Alim Seytoff, spokesman, World Uyghur Congress; Sophie Richardson, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch

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HOOFMAN: Heijiashan is home to the majority of Urumqi’s Muslim Uighur population.

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When censorship is on the line, answer the call

Originally published by Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July 2010
By Richard Moore

I VERY rarely pick up the general phone in the office: I’m usually protected by a phalanx of staff. I think Angie, our receptionist, must have slipped downstairs for a quick ciggie. Whatever the reason, the call I took 12 months ago was to change the life of the Melbourne International Film Festival forever. I could sometimes be accused of a touch of melodrama but it’s fair to say that the reverberations of that phone call from the local Chinese consulate demanding the withdrawal from our program of Australian-made documentary The 10 Conditions of Love would be felt in the boardrooms of arts festivals the world over.

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Diamonds among skyscrapers: Xinjang’s only baseball team competes in Shanghai

Originally published by The CNN, 15 July 2010

By Jessica Beaton, Tracy You

Despite geographical and financial hurdles, Parhat Ablat and his Xinjiang University baseball team are on their way to Shanghai to try to realize their championship dreams

Parhat Ablat is a busy man. As the coach of Xinjiang University baseball team, he’s responsible for raising the funds for and getting his 13-person team, one of the only in the region, on a train for a two-day, 4,077 km ride to Shanghai for the Chinese intercollegiate baseball competition.

The team, made up of both ethnic Han and Uigher players, are cheerful as they prepare for their trip, belying the hardships they have overcome to get where they are today. And they have a simple, if ambitious, goal: to be the intercollegiate champions.

Lives changed by baseball

To practice better, each player needs a glove, at least every two players should share one ball and a team needs to have at least four or five bats. However we cannot afford to buy so many on our own.

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Do the Chinese really deserve his praise?

Originally published by Orangeville Citizen, 15 July 2010

By Claire Hoy

Michael Ignatieff should have a chat with Karen Patterson. Or – more to the point – should have had a chat with the Canadianborn woman during his recent visit to China.

Why? Well, perhaps he could have explained to Patterson why he believes that Canada and China can “learn from each other in matters of rights, justice, civil service reform and corporate social responsibility.”

Perhaps he could explain to Patterson why he thinks China – which he named along with North Korea and Libya in a 2005 lecture to Amnesty Ireland as the world’s three biggest human rights abusers – has made more progress on human rights lately than any country in the world, including Canada.

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Leading Uyghur advocate supports terror probe

Originally published by Newsinenglish.no, 15 July 2010

NEWS COMMENTARY: Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress and winner of the 2004 Rafto Prize in Norway, says she “felt terrible” after hearing that a fellow Uyghur had been arrested on terrorism charges in Norway last week. She condemns terrorism, fears the suspect has severely damaged the Uyghurs’ struggle for freedom and human rights, and she fully supports the Norwegian authorities’ “efforts to investigate suspected terrorist activity.”

Kadeer, writing in a commentary sent to Views and News from Norway and other media in Norway, fears China will exploit the situation and use the arrest to “intensify the persecution of Uyghurs.”
Even though she maintains that “one alleged Uyghur terrorist by no means represents the entire Uyghur nation,” she worries that Uyghurs now will pay an “immeasurable” price “for the act of one suspected terrorist.”
Here follows her reaction to last Thursday’s arrests of three suspected terrorists in Oslo and Duisberg, Germany:

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Why the Foreign Secretary met the Dalai Lama

Originally published by Rediff.com, 12 July 2010

B Raman glances at the foreign secretary’s visit to Dharamsala to meet the Dalai Lama [ Images ] against the backdrop of China’s recent actions vis-a-vis Pakistan.

Nirupama Rao, India’s [ Images ] foreign secretary, arrived in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh [ Images ] on July 10 and called on His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She was reportedly with him for about an hour.

His Holiness lives in Dharamsala, where his Tibetan-government-in-exile is located. Senior advisors of His Holiness, including his Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche, were reportedly present during the meeting.

According to local sources, the welfare of the Tibetan exiles living in India and the adequacy of the physical security arrangements for His Holiness were among the subjects discussed.

A representative of the Himachal Pradesh state government had stated on July 9 that Rao would visit Dharamsala on July 10 and 11, but he did not indicate whether she would be calling on His Holiness. Foreign secretaries have been paying a courtesy call on His Holiness during their tenure. She herself had planned to make a courtesy call on him on two or three occasions after taking over as the foreign secretary, but the visits were postponed due to her preoccupation with other work.

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China demolishes Urumqi flashpoint area

Originally published by 9News, 11 July 2010

Chinese authorities are demolishing an area in the northwestern city of Urumqi, home to migrants they blame for disrupting social order, state media says, a year after deadly ethnic riots.

The Heijiashan area of the city in Xinjiang province, which was formerly home to 200,000 people, will be replaced by a new residential development, the official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.

It described the area as a “hotbed of poverty and crime”.

Heijiashan was one of the flashpoints for the violence that erupted on July 5, 2009 in Urumqi between mainly Muslim Uighurs and the majority Han Chinese, leaving nearly 200 dead and 1700 injured.

“Due to the poor management of the area, the migrants were easily incited by rioters,” the head of the demolition operation was quoted as saying.

“(The) floating population here often disrupted social order,” he said.

Pan Zhiping, head of the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences’ Central Asia Research Institute, has recommended emulating a model established by Singapore that ensures “each community has residents from different ethnic groups”.

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One year after riots, tensions linger in China’s far west

Originally published by The Hindu, 09 July 2010

By Ananth Krishnan

The riots have left deep scars on both — Hans and Uighur — communities. They have also prompted increasing calls for Beijing to reassess its development policies.

At the sprawling marketplace at the centre of Urumqi’s old town, a sense of history hangs heavily. For generations, ethnic Uighurs — the ethnic Turkic-speaking group native to China’s far west Xinjiang autonomous region — traded silk and gems here, which reached the Urumqi oasis from the old Silk Road, and made their way to markets in China’s far corners. But on a recent hot summer’s afternoon, the stalls of the expansive Erdaoqiao marketplace all stood empty. Fear is keeping the customers away.

On July 5 last year, Erdaoqiao was the scene of heavy rioting, as Uighur mobs went on the rampage in Urumqi, ransacking shops, setting fire to buildings and attacking members of China’s majority Han Chinese ethnic group. Two days later, Han Chinese mobs exacted revenge, attacking Uighurs in their shops and neighbourhoods. Over four days of bloody ethnic violence, the worst in the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) six-decade history, at least 197 people, mostly Han Chinese, were killed. Another 1,700 were left injured.

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