China ‘Watching’ Kyrgyzstan

Originally published by RFA,8 Apr 2010

By Luisetta Mudie

 HONG KONG—China voiced concern Thursday about events in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, where opponents of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev took control of the government after a wave of deadly violence around the country.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Beijing was “deeply concerned” about the situation in Kyrgyzstan, which borders its troubled Muslim region of Xinjiang in the northwest.

“China … hopes the country will restore peace soon and maintain stability,” Jiang told reporters at a regular news briefing.

“China hopes that relevant issues will be settled in a lawful way.”

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Cambodia bristles at US aid cut over deportations

Originaly published by The Boston Globe, 2 April 2010

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia—Cambodia bristled Friday at a U.S. decision to cut a small military aid program to protest the December deportation of Muslim asylum seekers to China, saying if they deserved protection the United States could have offered it.

The United States announced Thursday it had suspended the program that supplied surplus trucks and trailers. It was a response to Cambodia’s deportation of the 20 Uighurs who had fled ethnic violence last year in China’s far west. China accused the Uighurs of involvement in the violence.

The suspension involves about 200 vehicles supplied directly to the Cambodian military and does not affect the roughly $60 million civilian aid program to Cambodia, said U.S. Embassy spokesman John Johnson.

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U.S. suspends some aid to Cambodia over Uighur case

Originally published by Reuters, 01 Apr 2010

By Andrew Quinn

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Thursday it had halted shipments of some surplus military vehicles to Cambodia to retaliate for the Southeast Asian nation’s decision to deport a group of Uighurs back to China over U.S. protests.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the United States informed Cambodia last month that it was suspending the shipment of 200 military trucks and trailers as a consequence of Cambodia’s December decision on the Uighurs.

“We said there would be consequences and this is a step in that direction,” Crowley said.

Cambodia in December defied international pressure and expelled 20 Uighur asylum seekers, a move that underlined its growing economic and diplomatic links with China.

Two days later it signed 14 deals worth an estimated $850 million with China. Beijing denied any link.

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Chinese filmmaker secretly shoots six-hour documentary on deadly 1994 fire

Originally published by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 01 Apr 2010

 HONG KONG — On Dec. 8, 1994, nearly 300 Chinese schoolchildren gathered in a remote western oil town to take part in a performance for school officials. But a stage light ignited a curtain, setting off a fire that engulfed the theatre. Few students made it out alive.

Sixteen years later, their parents are still grieving and questions remain. Why were the children told to wait for the officials to escape first? Why were so many of the exits locked? When will the children be issued death certificates?

Independent filmmaker Xu Xin records the lingering anguish and agony in a sombre six-hour, black-and-white documentary that made its world premiere at the Hong Kong International Film Festival on Sunday.

In “Karamay,” Xu has crafted a powerful movie by letting the material speak for itself. He doesn’t use a narrator or a musical score. An opening sequence showing student’s graves zooms in on the portraits of each of their tombstones. He lets the parents vent in lengthy monologues that bring out the depth of their sorrow.

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Amnesty says China Executed Thousands in 2009

Originally published by: VOA ,30 March 2010

By Selah Hennessy

Amnesty International has released its annual death penalty report, which shows the number of countries that use capital punishment is declining. But the report estimates that China executed several thousand people in 2009.

Arthur Judah Angel was sentenced to death in Nigeria in 1986 for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

“Being on death row was like being in hell. You understand? In fact, it’s very horrible. I don’t have enough language – in English or my own – to explain it,” said Angel.

He was 21-years-old when he was arrested and spent the next 16 years in prison. Every night he was there, he says, he had nightmares.

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China bans local media from reporting on 18 subjects

Originally published by: Article Link, 29 march 2010
China has banned the country’s media from reporting on 18 subjects, including yuan revaluation, corruption and problems in Tibet and Xinjiang, according to a media report.
“China has prohibited the Chinese media from reporting on 18 subjects, including yuan revaluation, corruption and problems in Tibet and the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region,” the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun has reported.
In a report published on March 26, the newspaper said, “Liu Yunshan, director of the publicity department of China’s Communist Party, faxed notifications about the bans to major newspaper companies, television and radio stations and Internet news companies on Sunday (March 22)”.
Going by the daily, the move came a day before Internet major Google stopped censoring web search results and redirected hunt queries from mainland to an uncensored site in Hong Kong.
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Development in Tibet an advantage for China: MoD

Originally published by: Indian Express, 29 March 2010
India has said rapid development in Tibet and Xinjiang has given the Chinese military strategic operational flexibility in the region.

Noting that the Chinese military has upgraded its “force projection capability” along the northern borders, the Defence Ministry has said in its annual report that India has initiated necessary steps to upgrade infrastructure on its side.

“India also remains conscious and alert about the implications of China’s military modernisation. Rapid infrastructure development in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang province has considerably upgraded China’s military force projection capability and strategic operational flexibility,” the report says.

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Xinjiang’s irate minority Uighurs begin to worry Beijing

Originally published by: Daily Star Lebanon, 29March 2010

By Christopher M. Clarke

 The February 15 killing of the militant Uighur leader Abdul Haq al-Turkistani by an American drone in the border regions of Pakistan highlighted China’s continued sensitivity when it comes to its remote and vulnerable western region, Xinjiang. It also brought into focus the role of the wider Afghanistan-Pakistan region as an international sanctuary for Islamic militants. This helps to explain the reasons behind Beijing’s worries about social stability and potential terrorist threats in Xinjiang.

China’s neuralgia about security in Xinjiang will continue – and perhaps even grow – as big-power competition for influence and resources in Central Asia and its ties to the rest of the world continue to expand.

China’s troubles with the minority Uighurs are not new. But with the breakup of the Soviet Union two decades ago and the rise of the Islamist Taliban in what was once Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, the region’s dynamics have changed. Since the early 1990s, China has faced recurrent waves of unrest in Xinjiang as well as widespread acts of violence, some of which appear to have been terrorist acts carried out by the disgruntled Uighurs. 

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