Turkish-Chinese Relations in the Shadow of the Uyghur Problem

Originally published by Today’s Zaman, 31 March 2010

Starting with the second half of 1990s, Turkish-Chinese relations have had a considerable revival.

Along this process, officials from both countries have made numerous mutual visits on many levels, signing a number of agreements. However, the events that took place on July 5th 2009 in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang Wéiwú’er Zìzhìqu / 新疆新 疆维吾尔自治区/ have caused great anger among the Turkish public.

While China was protested by the Turkish public, the ruling government adamantly criticized the incident, with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan describing the situation as an “almost genocide.” In fact, looking at the incidents from a more informed perspective, it is possible to see that the situation is different than it appears to Turkey. While the harsh response of Chinese security forces to the protesters or the poor performance of legal channels deserve criticism, certain other facts have been largely ignored, such as the instigators being mostly Uyghurs and the majority of the dead and injured being of Han Chinese origin.

There are two main motives behind Turkey’s harsh response to the events. The first one is the government’s political concern to satisfy public opinion domestically. The second and the most significant motive is getting Beijing’s attention to focus on Ankara and showing Beijing Turkey is also on the field. In this manner, Turkey in a way was reacting to its “Chinese initiative,” which was started in 1997, rendered futile, and giving Beijing the message that the rules of the game needed to change.

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Uighur activists puts pressure on Sweden

Originally published by: AFP Article Link, 29 March 2010
  Uighur activists on Sunday urged the Swedish government to pressure China over its treatment of the minority as Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visited the Nordic country.

The World Uighur Congress said in a statement that Sweden should “exercise concrete pressure on the Chinese authorities so that they stop their brutal aggression against the Uighur people.”

Violence between Muslim Uighurs and China’s ethnic Han majority exploded in the Xinjiang region’s capital Urumqi last July, leaving nearly 200 dead and 1,700 injured, according to the government.

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Request for information related to July 5 unrest and subsequent detentions

The Uyghur Human Rights Project is collecting first- and second-hand accounts from Uyghurs in the diaspora regarding human rights abuses that took place on and after July 5, 2009, related to the July 5 unrest in Urumchi. If you or someone you know personally have information regarding repression or abuses related to July 5, including arbitrary detentions of family members or friends, please contact UHRP so that we can document this information and include it in an upcoming report. If you are willing, we may ask you to come in for a research interview, or, if that is not possible, conduct an interview by telephone.

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Dissidents Urge UN Against Cyber-Censorship

Originally published by Scoop, 13 March 2010

Press Release: Geneva Summit 

Dissidents Urge UN To Endorse Declaration Against Cyber-Censorship

Cites Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam issidents Issue Call for Internet Freedom

GENEVA, March 12, 2010 – Marking the first World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, a global coalition of dissidents, non-governmental organizations and human rights activists submitted a new declaration on internet freedom to the United Nations, urging its endorsement by the world body.

The Geneva Declaration on Internet Freedom (click here for text), drafted by a committee of dissidents headed by two well-known political prisoners—Yang Jianli of China and Ahmad Batebi of Iran—calls for the protection of human rights activists imprisoned for social or political expression posted on blogs and other websites.

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China Denies Uighur Spying Links

Originally published by Radio Sweden, 9 March 2010

 The Chinese Government denies any involvement in espionage against refugees of Uighur origin in Sweden. Monday’s conviction in the Stockholm District Court of a 62-year-old Uighur is “sheer nonsense”, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told the news agency Reuters.

 According to the court, the man from the Turkic-speaking region in northwest China had passed on information about the health, travels and political leanings of other exiled Uighurs in Sweden to a diplomat and journalist, who was working for the Chinese intelligence service.

The information, the court said, “could cause significant damage to Uighurs in and outside China.” And the crimes – committed from January 2008 through June 2009 – were branded “especially egregious due to the fact that the espionage served a large power that does not fully respect human rights.”

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Uighur Vs Chinese, E. Turkistan Vs Xinjiang

Originally published by Islam Online, 3 March 2010

CAIRO — Chinese Muslims and Xinjiang are not the accurate terms to describe the Uighur people and their autonomous region in northwestern China, a leading advocacy group insists.

“Uighurs are not, in fact, ‘Chinese Muslims’, and this term is inaccurate and misleading,” the Washington-based Uighur American Association (UAA) said in statement mailed to IslamOnline.net on Wednesday, March 3.

It said the nearly 10 million Uighurs who live within China are ethnically and culturally distinct from the dominant Han ethnic group.

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Researcher Barred from China

Originally published by RFA, 1 March 2010

HONG KONG—Chinese authorities have barred a Japanese researcher studying the ethnic minority Uyghur people from entering the country, detaining her for two hours after her plane landed in Beijing and then sending her home, the researcher said.

Naoko Mizutani, a lecturer at Chuo University and author of a book about the Uyghur people, landed Feb. 27 at Beijing Capital Airport from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

“I felt something was wrong when I boarded the airplane in Japan, because the plane was delayed for an hour before departure—we were informed that it was because Beijing Airport was busy,” she said in an interview.

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Pro-independence group again invites Kadeer to visit

Originally published by Radio Taiwan International, 12 February 2010

A pro-Taiwan independence group said Friday it has again invited Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer to visit Taiwan. That’s after a previous trip was prevented by the government over concerns it would provoke China.

Head of the organization Guts United Taiwan, Freddy Lim, extended the invitation when he met Kadeer in Washington on Wednesday.

The group said in a statement that Kadeer wished very much to visit Taiwan for DVD release of the Chinese version of her biopic, The Ten Conditions of Love. The DVD is scheduled to be released in Taiwan in March.

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