After Wang Lequan’s departure from East Turkestan, flawed policies remain

27 Apr 2010 | Press Releases 

 The Uyghur American Association’s and Uyghur Human Rights Project’s press releases  

Contact: Uyghur American Association +1 (202) 349 1496


On April 24, Chinese state media announced that 57-year-old Zhang Chunxian, formerly the Communist Party Secretary of Hunan Province, had been appointed to the post of Party Secretary for the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), replacing 65-year-old Wang Lequan, who has been made deputy secretary of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee. The Uyghur American Association (UAA) believes that while Wang’s removal from East Turkestan may be construed as a positive step toward creating genuine peace and stability in the region, without the corresponding removal of Wang’s heavy-handed policies, Uyghurs will not benefit from the new development programs planned for East Turkestan, and tensions in the region will continue to worsen.

 The change in leadership was announced amid decisions by the Politbureau to accelerate economic and social development in East Turkestan, and followed similar pronouncements made by Party leaders at the March 2010 meeting of the National People’s Congress. But plans for development were accompanied by plans to spend 2.89 billion yuan on maintaining law and order in East Turkestan, an 87.9% increase from 2009.

 Wang, a long time protégé of president Hu Jintao whose 15-year stint in the top XUAR post exceeded the usual ten-year tenure of provincial party secretaries, ruled the region with an iron fist, and presided over a period of extreme repression for Uyghurs. Wang oversaw a violent crackdown on peaceful Uyghur protestors on July 5, 2009 in the regional capital of Urumchi, and a prolonged crackdown on the region that saw an unprecedented deployment of security forces, mass arrests and “enforced disappearances” of Uyghur men, politicized trials and executions of July 5 defendants, and stepped-up ideological campaigns aimed at stamping out the “three evil forces”.

 Incoming Xinjiang Party Secretary Zhang Chunxian, who holds degrees in engineering and management, has been popular among Chinese journalists for his willingness to interact with them. According to state media, Zhang was known as the “Internet Secretary” in Hunan, because he valued public opinion online. A more liberal attitude toward the flow of communications could prove crucial to the re-opening of full Internet access in East Turkestan, which has remained partially closed off after being completely shut down in the wake of the July 2009 unrest. UAA urges Zhang to remain consistent in his liberal communications policies after assuming his new leadership role, and to move media openness in East Turkestan beyond rhetoric into reality.

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Bavaria rebuffs China over Uighur ‘terrorists’

Originally published by The Local, 29 Apr 2010

Bavaria has knocked back a demand from China to list a group representing the Uighur ethnic minority – which has a violent separatist movement in China – as a terrorist organisation.

The demand for Germany to act against the World Uighur Congress was made during Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer’s visit to Beijing for political talks with Chinese leaders.

“There is no reason to think that organisations active in Germany, in particular the World Uighur Congress, are pursuing extremist and therefore terrorist aims, or are supporting violent efforts in China,” the state’s Interior Ministry said in a statement to daily Passauer Neue Presse on Thursday.

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China: Risk of torture for 17-year old in China

Originally published by, 21 April 2010



18-year-old Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz was sentenced to life imprisonment on 13 April 2010, following demonstrations and subsequent violence in western China in July 2009. His trial was unfair and his confession may have been extracted under torture.

Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz has been held incommunicado since 27 July 2009, when he was detained in the wake of unrest in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Police informed his family that he was detained because of his alleged participation in demonstrations in Urumqi (in Chinese: Wulumuqi) on 5 July 2009 and told them that a boy of his build was suspected of attacking people with stones.

His trial by the Aksu (in Chinese: Akesu) Intermediate People’s Court on 13 April lasted only 30 minutes. His mother attended the trial, but was told about it only one day in advance. The Court was shown video footage of a group of Uighurs beating a man. Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz was not present in the group beating the man in the video nor is he shown on the video carrying a stone. The video does, however, show him on the same street. The Court was also shown another video, shot a couple of months later, in which he was taken by police officers to visit the alleged murder scene. On this video, he confesses to the killing. It is possible that his confession was extracted through torture. The Court found Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz guilty of “murder (or intentional homicide)” and “provoking an incident” (Criminal Law articles 232 and 293 respectively). During his trial, he was represented by a lawyer appointed by the court. He is appealing his verdict.

Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz was held for the first 8 months in Xishan Detention Centre in Urumqi, but was then transferred to a detention centre in Aksu in western XUAR, approximately 1000 km from Urumqi for the trial. He was 17 years old at the time of the July 2009 unrest and turned 18 on 16 January in detention.

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China Issues New Wave of Censorship Orders

Originally published by Scoops ,14 April 2010

Press Release: International Federation of Journalists

 A new series of bans and orders forbidding independent coverage of events in China has been issued by China’s Central Propaganda Department.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is informed the department ordered on April 6 that there only be positive coverage of government efforts to rescue 153 workers trapped in a flooded coal mine at Wangjialing in Shanxi Province.

The order also instructed journalists to vacate the area immediately. Any negative reports were to be retracted or deleted from both online and traditional media.

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For immediate release

March 26, 2010, 12:30 pm EST

Contact: Uyghur American Association +1 (202) 349 1496

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) expresses its gratitude to Swiss authorities following the March 23 arrival of Bahtiyar Mahmud and Arkin Mahmud to Switzerland. The two brothers, who were held without charge at the Guantanamo Bay detention center since 2002, will be resettled in the Swiss canton of Jura. The two men were reportedly welcomed by high-level Swiss officials during a ceremony at the Zurich airport.

“Today is a great day for the Uyghur people. We celebrate the resettlement of Bahtiyar and Arkin Mahmud, and thank the government of Switzerland for generously providing a home and refugee services to these two men,” said Uyghur democracy leader and UAA president Rebiya Kadeer. “We also thank the government of the United States for resettling Bahtiyar and Arkin in a free and democratic country, where they will be able to live the rest of their lives in peace.”

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For immediate release
March 19, 2010, 11:30 am EST
Contact: Uyghur American Association                                                                                             
 +1 (202) 349 1496   or    +1 (347) 285-6546  

 The Uyghur American Association (UAA) extends its deepest gratitude to the UN mandate holders, States, and NGOs that have raised aspects of the Uyghurs’ plight during the 13th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is in progress in Geneva, Switzerland for most of the month of March 2010. The United States’ statement regarding the Uyghurs during the general debate on Item 4

Firstly, UAA thanks the United States for calling attention to human rights violations being committed by the Chinese government against the Uyghur people in its statement during the general debate on Item 4 of the Agenda of the 13th session of the Human Rights Council – “Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention” – on March 15, 2010. Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, U.S. Ambassador to the Human Rights Council, delivered the United States’ statement at the general debate on Item 4 on March 15th. The United States said:

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Press Release
March 18, 2010
Jim Geheran
(0)    202.290.1423 
(C)  508.494.5682

Senator Brownback promises a hold on nominations until
State Department acts on appropriationsthe Uyghur Region of East Turkestan, Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) promised to put State Department nominations on hold until the Department follows Secretary Clinton’s January 21st Internet freedom speech with decisive action.

“Those who have gathered here agree on one incredible fact:  That we have it within our power to tear down the firewalls of oppression, right now, by supporting technology that shatters the censorship apparatus of regimes worldwide,” Senator Brownback said at a March 18 press conference in the Capitol Visitors Center.
“The gateway for achieving success or failure on shattering the firewall is the State Department.  Since 2008, Congress has given the State Department more than $45 million dollars for this very purpose, to help people around the world living in closed societies circumvent the Internet repression.  But during that time we have watched the State Department delay, procrastinate, and misspend these funds contrary to the spirit of the law and without any sensible explanation,” said  Brownback.
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Ms.Rebiya Kadeer, the President of the World Uyghur Congress express their deepest gratitude to His Holiness The Dalai Lama

For immediate release

March 10, 2010, Munich, Germany

Contact: World Uyghur Congress +49 89 5432 1999

Rebiya Kadeer, the President of the World Uyghur Congress express their deepest gratitude to His Holiness The Dalai Lama for raising awareness of the Uyghurs’ plight during his speech to 3,000 Tibetans in Dharamsala, India today on Tibet Uprising Day, as well as for His Holiness’ many  years of support for the Uyghur people. 

Rebiya Kadeer, the President of the World Uyghur Congress, released the following statement:

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