Dalai Lama tells AP: Exiles must press China talks

Originally published by The Associated Press, 11 May 2010

 Years of negotiations with Beijing have achieved little for the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama said Friday, though he insisted that talks still needed to press ahead and that the Chinese leadership could _ eventually _ soften its stand on Tibet.

In an hour-long interview with The Associated Press, the Buddhist leader criticized Beijing for its policies in his Himalayan homeland while he held out the possibility that some type of accord could be reached.

“So far, dialogue failed, but that does not mean in future no possibility,” the Dalai Lama said in his private compound in this Indian hill town where he has lived since fleeing Tibet more than five decades ago. While admitting he was deeply frustrated by the lack of progress during nine rounds of talks, he also said there were clear signs of progress in Beijing. “They are realistic,” he said of the Chinese leadership. “They have the ability to act according to a new reality.”

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The Next Round of the Great Game

Originally published by The Moscow Times, 11 May 2010

By Richard Lourie

The April uprising in Kyrgyzstan illuminates the latest phase of the Great Game.

The game’s initial phase ran fr om 1807, when Napoleon proposed to Tsar Alexander to invade British India, until 1907, when tsarist Russia and imperial Britain sat down and — like civilized Europeans — divided spheres of interest, some of which ran right through countries like Iran.

For Britain, the Great Game had primarily been about securing the jewel of the imperial crown — India — fr om Russian encroachment. For Russia, eastward expansion was a form of Manifest Destiny that wouldn’t be satisfied until the mountains of Asia were under its control and the shores of the Pacific were reached.

There was another flare-up of the game during World War I when Kaiser Wilhelm tried to instigate a Muslim jihad against Russia and Britain, a process that Punch, the British humor magazine, termed “Deutschland Uber Allah.”

Soviet control of the area seemed to terminate the contest, but as Peter Hopkirk, who quite literally wrote the book on the subject (“The Great Game”), says, Central Asia is a “volatile area wh ere the Great Game has never really ceased.”

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Obama Administration Prepares for China Human Rights Dialogue

Originally published by Voice of America, 10 May 2010

By David Gollust

U.S. and Chinese officials convene in Washington later this week for a new round of what has been a sporadic bilateral human rights dialogue.  Some U.S. human rights advocates are skeptical about the dialogue process. 

The United States and China are resuming the human rights dialogue for the first time in two years, with the State Department meetings seen as another sign relations are stabilizing after months of tensions.

Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Michael Posner, will lead the U.S team in meetings Thursday and Friday.  China’s delegation will be headed by Foreign Affairs Ministry Director-General for International Organizations, Chen Xu.

The meeting was first scheduled for February but was postponed amid Chinese anger over new U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and President Obama’s meeting with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

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Xinjiang leader says security to underpin policies

Originally published by The Associated Press, 10 May 2010

By Christopher Bodeen

 BEIJING, China – Beijing faces a “severe, complex, and intense” fight against separatism in the riot-torn western region of Xinjiang, the new regional leader was quoted Monday as saying.

Stability in the restive region remains fragile, 10 months after ethnic riots in the capital of Urumqi left nearly 200 people dead, Zhang Chunxian was quoted as telling paramilitary police over the weekend.

“The struggle between separatism and counter-separatism in Xinjiang is severe, complex, and intense,” said Zhang, Xinjiang’s Communist Party secretary and most powerful official. “We must be clear-headed at all times and never let down our guard.”

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Taking On Guantánamo

Originally published by Connecticut Law Tribune, 10 May 2010


 Elizabeth Gilson endured ‘bumpy ride’ in battle for brothers’ release

New Haven attorney Elizabeth P. Gilson didn’t know what she was getting into.

In 2005, she had read newspaper reports about lawyers traveling to the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to help prisoners the government suspected of being enemy combatants. Lawyers were trying to file habeas petitions on behalf of prisoners to find out why they were incarcerated.

Gilson was a solo attorney with an environmental practice, but she was incensed to hear that the government was denying prisoners a hearing. So she jumped to action with the help of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, which coordinates legal representation for detainees.

What she got into was “a bumpy but interesting ride” studying constitutional law, helping Guantánamo prisoners and making many friends through a long ordeal.

“We got to work on heady stuff about habeas law and its history,” Gilson said of her work with fellow lawyers. “It came alive. Our cases put pressure on the government to get [prisoners] out of there.”

Now five years after starting her legal battle, Gilson has successfully wrapped up her representation of two brothers who are Turkic Muslims from China.

Bahtiyar Mahnut, 34, and Arkin Mahmud, 45, have been living in Switzerland since March after Gilson helped convince officials there to grant the brothers asylum. They couldn’t return to China because of fears they would be persecuted by the Chinese government, which considers them to be dangerous separatists.

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New Xinjiang boss vows crackdown on separatism

Originally published by AFP

BEIJING — The new head of China’s restive Xinjiang region — the scene of deadly ethnic unrest last year — has pledged a renewed crackdown on separatist elements, state media said Monday.

“We must clearly recognise the serious and extremely complex nature of the struggle between separatism and anti-separatism,” the Xinjiang Daily quoted Zhang Chunxian as saying in remarks to the region’s armed police on Saturday.

“Maintaining stability must come before all else… we must strike hard at all the separatist and destructive activities brought on by the three forces of terrorism, separatism and religious extremism.”

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Door slam of the Foreign Affairs Ministry to a Nobel Peace Prize candidate

Originally published by  El País



 The Office of Human Rights rejects at the doors of its headquarters to meet with the exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer .- The appointment had been agreed on 26 April 2010.

The Foreign Ministry yesterday [6 May 2010] denied the entry to the Human Rights Office to exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer minutes before the start of a meeting, agreed on April 26. According to the NGO Amnesty International, who had accompanied Kadeer on her visit to Spain, an official informed a delegation from the organisation that according to the received “instructions” he could not allow the access to hold the meeting with the director of the department Juan Duarte. Kadeer has made this week a brief tour through Spanish cities after having concluded a meeting with European parliamentarians in Brussels. Following the failed appointment yesterday [6 May 2010], the leader of the Uyghur community, which populates the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, has flown back to Virginia (USA) where she lives since leaving Beijing in 2005 after more than five years in prison.

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Uyghur Mother Appeals for her Son, Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for His Faith

ChinaAid Distributes a Petition to Free Alim

 Contact: Annee Kahler, Media Coordinator, 267-210-8278, Annee@ChinaAid.org; Jenny McCloy, Directory of Advocacy in Washington, DC, 202-213-0506, Jenny@ChinaAid.org; www.ChinaAid.org, www.MonitorChina.org

 XINJIANG, China, May 9 /Christian Newswire/ — Imagine that your son has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Alimujiang Yimiti’s mother Wushuerhan faced this harsh reality in the summer of 2009, when her son was forced to undergo two secret trials before being charged with leaking state secrets to foreigners, and condemned to the maximum prison sentence by the Xinjiang Courts.

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