No Escape From Guantánamo: Uighurs Lose Again in US Court

Originally published by, 07 June 2010

By Andy Worthington

In 2002, when Guantánamo opened, 22 Uighurs (Muslims from China’s oppressed Xinjiang province) were held in the prison, even though interrogators in Afghanistan (where the prisoners were processed for Guantánamo) had already realized that they had no connection to al-Qaeda or the Taliban. The men were mostly seized by Pakistani villagers and sold to US forces after fleeing a settlement in Afghanistan, where they had ended up either because they had found it impossible to travel to Turkey, where some had hoped to find work, or because they nursed futile hopes of rising up against the Chinese government, whose oppression of the Uighurs was distressingly revealed to the world last July.

Over the years, the Uighurs became pawns in the Bush administration’s diplomatic relations with the Chinese government, but were mostly cleared for release after military tribunals and review boards concluded that they were innocent men, seized by mistake. Five were released in May 2006, given new homes in a refugee camp in Albania, the only country that would accept them, but the remaining 17 languished until their habeas corpus petitions reached a US court in October 2008, and Judge Ricardo Urbina granted their petitions and ordered their release into the United States. Judge Urbina concluded that their continued detention was unconstitutional, and that the US had an obligation to accept them because there were legitimate fears that they would be tortured if returned to China, and also because no other country had been found that was prepared to take them.

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Israel Makes Case to China for Iran Sanctions

Originally published by The New Tork Times, 08 June 2010

JERUSALEM — During the many months China has wavered over whether to join the American-led effort to impose sanctions on Iran, Israeli officials have been waging their own quiet campaign to convince the Chinese that Iran should be punished for its renegade nuclear program.

But unlike the United States, which has played on China’s sense of responsibility as a member of the United Nations Security Council, Israeli officials have been making their case without diplomatic niceties.

In February, a high-level Israeli delegation traveled to Beijing to present classified evidence of Iran’s atomic ambitions. Then they unveiled the ostensible purpose of their visit: to explain in sobering detail the economic impact to China from an Israeli strike on Iran — an attack Israel has said is likely should the international community fail to stop Iran from assembling a nuclear weapon.

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Police Raid Quran Group

Originally published by RFA,08 June 2010 

By He ping

HONG KONG—Authorities near the western Silk Road city of Kashgar in China’s troubled region of Xinjiang have detained a group of ethnic Uyghur women who had formed a group to study the Quran, overseas groups said.

“More than 30 Uyghur women were raided in force by the Chinese police in recent days after they got together to study the Quran,” said Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress.

“They detained all those present and confiscated more than 40 Qurans.”

Raxit said that the Chinese government said the women were engaging in illegal religious activities.

“They forced them to take off their headscarves and detained two of them on criminal charges,” he said.

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In Chinese admiral’s outburst, a lingering distrust of U.S.

Originally published by Washington Post, 08 June 2010

By John Pomfret

On May 24 in a vast meeting room inside the grounds of the state guesthouse at Diaoyutai in Beijing, Rear Adm. Guan Youfei of the People’s Liberation Army rose to speak.

Known among U.S. officials as a senior “barbarian handler,” which means that his job is to deal with foreigners, not lead troops, Guan faced about 65 American officials, part of the biggest delegation the U.S. government has ever sent to China.

Everything, Guan said, that is going right in U.S. relations with China is because of China. Everything, he continued, that is going wrong is the fault of the United States. Guan accused the United States of being a “hegemon” and of plotting to encircle China with strategic alliances. The official saved the bulk of his bile for U.S. arms sales to China’s nemesis, Taiwan — Guan said these prove that the United States views China as an enemy.

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China Huaneng commits $15 bln to Xinjiang coal, power

Originally published by Reuters, 07 June 2010

By Lucy Hornby

BEIJING, June 8 (Reuters) – Chinese power company Huaneng plans to spend more than 100 billion yuan ($14.64 billion) in coal, natural gas and power generation in the far western region of Xinjiang, home to vast deposits of untapped coal.

Huaneng Group signed an agreement with the Xinjiang government on Monday to construct energy bases in the Junggar Basin, the Turpan Basin and Hami, better known for its melon production, the Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

China recently unveiled a plan for developing Xinjiang, an energy-rich region bordering central Asia that is home to Uighurs, a Muslim, Turkic-speaking people who often chafe at rule from Beijing and at the influx of Han Chinese [ID:nTOE64J09I].

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U.S.-China Cooperation: Strengthening the U.S. Hand

Originally published by Heritage Foundation,04 June 2010
Dean Cheng

In the midst of the Obama Administration’s effort to corral Chinese support for international action against Iran and North Korea, it has been widely recounted—including by no less than the Secretary of Defense himself—that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) rebuffed his interest in visiting the PRC for consultations.

Speculation is that the Chinese decision not to meet with Secretary Gates is due to their continued pique with U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, although the Chinese themselves have simply relied on the oft-used phrase that such a meeting “is not convenient” (bu fangbian).

This incident suggests that military-to-military relations between the PRC and the United States remain at a low point despite efforts by the Obama Administration to “reset” Beijing–Washington relations. It also suggests that the Chinese view military-to-military talks and other U.S. interests as somehow irrelevant to their own. Taking back some of the concessions the Chinese have pocketed over the years would be a good way of rebalancing the relationship to U.S. advantage.

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After failed attempt to enter China, Tiananmen dissident says he will keep trying

Originally published by The Canadian Press,07 June 2010

By Tomoko A. Hosaka

 TOKYO — A prominent student leader in Beijing’s 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests said Monday he will keep trying to return to his native country even if it means getting arrested by Chinese authorities.

 Wu’er Kaixi — now a Taiwanese citizen — spent the weekend in a Japanese jail after police arrested him Friday for trying to force his way into the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo in a failed bid to turn himself in to authorities.

 “A person with a warrant on his head cannot get himself surrendered to the regime,” Wu’er said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. “How absurd is that?”

 The 42-year-old activist was No. 2 on China’s list of 21 wanted student leaders after the crackdown on the protesters, in which at least hundreds of people were killed. He escaped and has since lived in exile in Taiwan, where he has been a businessman and political commentator.

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Speaking at Stanford, Tibetan and Uyghur leaders decry Chinese domination

Originally published by Stanford News, 04 June 2010

Tibetans and Uyghurs discuss more than half-a-century of Chinese rule and call for a negotiated autonomy for their peoples, rather than independence from China.

 Rebiya Kadeer and Samdhong Rinpoche
Rebiya Kadeer, an activist on behalf of the Uyghur people, and Samdhong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the exiled government of Tibet, spoke at an event hosted by Stanford’s Friends of Tibet.

In the world of international human rights, both speakers are heavy hitters from the East: Samdhong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the exiled government of Tibet, and Rebiya Kadeer, a leading activist on behalf of the 9 million Uyghur people of the Xinjiang region of western China.

The two spoke about relations with China, ethnic tensions, civil disobedience and nonviolent solutions to the plight of their peoples last week at an event co-sponsored by the Stanford Friends of Tibet and the Stanford University Speakers Bureau. The discussion was moderated by history Professor Clayborne Carson, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford.

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