China angry after U.S. sends Uighurs to Switzerland

Originally published by: Reuters, 25 March, 2010  by Huang Yan and Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) – China expressed its anger and strong opposition on Thursday after the United States transferred two Chinese Uighur brothers, who were being held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, to Switzerland.

The U.S. Justice Department made the announcement on Wednesday.

Beijing has in the past demanded that Uighurs held at Guantanamo be returned to China. The U.S. government has said it could not do so because they would face persecution, and has searched for months for countries willing to accept them.

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Uyghur’s Release Sought

Friends call for China to free a journalist widely seen as pro-Beijing.

Originally published by: Radio Free Asia ,25 march,2010   by Shoret Hoshur


Supporters of a jailed ethnic Uyghur journalist have organized an online campaign for his release, nearly six months after his detention for talking to foreign media about the deadly July 2009 ethnic riots in far-northwestern China.

Gheyret Niyaz, 50, a former deputy director of the official Xinjiang Legal Daily, was employed at the official Xinjiang Economic Daily as a journalist at the time of his detention on Oct. 4, 2009. His family received a warrant for his arrest four days later, relatives said.

He is now being held at the Heavenly Mountain District [Tianshan Chu] detention center in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), according to friends.

Police said in detaining Gheyret Niyaz  that “he did too many interviews with foreign media about the July 5 Urumqi riots,” one source said.

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Who Will Decide the Future of Kashgar?

Certainly not the people who live there.
Originally published by:
Asia Sentinel, 25 March 2010, By Amy Reger    


The fate of Kashgar’s Old City, a fabled stop on the Silk Road and an historic meeting point for the exchange of goods and ideas, hangs in the balance. The area, both home to 220,000 Uyghur residents and a vibrant hub of Uyghur culture, is located near China’s border with Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.

Just to the south of the area is a giant statue of Mao Zedong, the largest statue of the revolutionary leader in China. Mao appears to have turned his back on the people of the Old City, the majority of whom are slated to be moved out from their traditional homes.

The Uyghur people, who speak a Turkic language and possess cultural and religious beliefs akin to their Central Asian neighbors rather than the Han Chinese, have maintained their unique cultural identity for centuries in this oasis town amid shaded courtyards and labyrinthine alleyways. In recent decades, they have struggled for the right to preserve their cultural and religious practices in Mao’s shadow.

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Originally published by: VOA, 24 March 2010 ,By Robert Carmichael

In the past five years China and Cambodia have drawn ever closer, with Beijing investing billions of dollars in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation. Cambodians see both benefits and potential risks in the relationship.

In the past five years, China has become Cambodia’s most important source of foreign investment: Cambodia has approved $6 billion of Chinese investments since 2006, while China provided at least $2 billion more in grant aid and loans.

Those are big sums for Cambodia, which has a $10 billion economy.

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 Originally published by: openDemocracy, 24 March 2010

By Henryk Szadziewsk

The dust that now rises in Kashgar’s old city comes no longer from the sands of the Taklamakan desert, but from the debris of centuries-old houses demolished in a “residents’-resettlement” project. This historic urban heartland of Uyghur society was once given its character by the lively trade in the bazaars, the vibrant alleyway communities, and the cool refuge of shaded courtyards; today, its defining feature is the gap-toothed and pockmarked landscape of flattened houses razed by Chinese bulldozers (see “Kashgar’s old city: the politics of demolition“, 3 April 2009). 

The Chinese authorities in the far-west Xinjiang region of the people’s republic declared in early 2009 that 65,000 homes in Kashgar’s old city – an area that encompasses nearly eight square kilometres –  were unfit for habitation due to poor drainage and concerns over potential collapse in the event of an earthquake. It is unclear exactly how much of the old city has been demolished since then; but it is known that a significant number of Uyghurs have been relocated to new apartment-blocks eight-to-nine kilometres from Kashgar’s centre, and find their new residencies conveniently fitted with the trappings of modern surveillance such as CCTV cameras.  

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Originally published by: The Christian Science Monitor, 22 March, 2010                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     By Warren RicheyThe US Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up an appeal by a group of Guantánamo Bay detainees seeking the ability to challenge US efforts to resettle them in third countries where they may face human rights abuses.The high court action lets stand a ruling by the federal appeals court in Washington. That ruling states that US district judges hearing habeas corpus petitions filed by Guantánamo detainees do not have authority to order the government to provide the detainees 30 days notice before transferring them from Guantánamo to another country for resettlement.

The case involved members of China’s Uighur ethnic minority who are being held at Guantánamo despite government concessions that they are no longer considered enemy combatants of the US.

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Xinjiang Internet ‘Still Limited’

Official communication curbs remain in northwestern China.

Original published by: Radio Free Asia, 23 March,2010, By Grace Kei Lai-see


 HONG KONG—Residents of China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang say Internet services are still extremely limited, eight months after deadly ethnic rioting swept through the regional capital, Urumqi.

“E-mail is slowly getting back to normal now,” one resident said.

“It has only just begun within the borders of Xinjiang.”

Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group, has been effectively offline since demonstrations sparked deadly rioting and clashes in July among local Uyghurs, Han Chinese, and armed security forces, according to residents and bloggers.

Long-distance phone calls have also been restricted, making it hard to get information even about the information freeze.

Recent official news reports have said that full e-mail services have been restored to the region.

But Xinjiang-based blogger Josh Summers, writing on the “Far West of China” blog, said the business of actually sending an e-mail is hampered by the fact that only one e-mail service is available to the region’s residents.

While a 20-message daily limit on text messaging has now been lifted, and attachments may now be sent and received via e-mail, formidable obstacles still remain to ordinary people wishing to communicate online, he said.

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Uyghurs Land in Switzerland

After 8-1/2 years in custoday at Guantanamo Bay, two men are freed.

Originally published by: Radio Free Asia, 23 March,2010

WASHINGTON—Two ethnic Uyghur detainees, both Chinese nationals, have arrived in Switzerland after 8-1/2 years in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, a knowledgeable source said Tuesday.

Switzerland agreed to resettle Bahtiyar Mahnut and Arkin Mahmud despite pressure from the Chinese government amidst ongoing negotiations over a free trade agreement.

The two brothers were captured in Afghanistan in October 2001 by U.S. troops. They reached their new flat in Jura, Switzerland, on Tuesday, according to the source, who asked not to be named.

The Swiss lower house National Security Commission voted Jan. 12—with 15 votes to 10—against taking in the two men, natives of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwestern China.

According to a statement by the Swiss government, the two Uyghurs were considered  for resettlement because they were granted that right by the U.S. government in 2005 after no evidence could be found connecting them to terrorist groups.

The statement added that the Federal Council had agreed on Dec. 16 to allow an Uzbek national from the camp to resettle in the Swiss Canton of Geneva.

The Canton of Jura then voted on Jan. 27 to admit the two Uyghurs, pending approval by the Federal Council. Jura is one of 26 Swiss cantons, with a population of about 70,000.

China opposed any countries accepting the two men, claiming they are members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which China, the United Nations, and the United States regard as a terrorist organization.

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