China sentences Uighur to 15 years in prison for talking to foreigners

A Chinese court in the troubled western province of Xinjiang has sentenced an ethnic Uighur journalist to 15 years in prison for “endangering state security” by speaking to foreign reporters.
 Originally published by Telegraph, 25 July 2010
 By Malcolm Moore 
An angry crowd belonging to the Chinese Uyghur Moslem miniority try to grab hold of a police officer
An angry crowd belonging to the Chinese Uyghur Moslem miniority try to grab hold of a police officer during protests in Urumqi Photo: EPA

Gheyret Niyaz, 51, gave an interview to a Hong Kong newspaper one month after riots broke out in Xinjiang, leaving at least 197 people dead and 1,600 injured.

The riots were the deadliest ethnic clashes in China in decades, as local Uighurs, a Muslim minority with their own Turkic language, turned on Han Chinese civilians and burned stores and homes.

In the interview, Mr Niyaz, who edits a website about Xinjiang called Uighur Online, claimed he had warned the authorities one day in advance that riots could soon break out in Urumqi, the capital city of the region. He added that his warnings were ignored.

When Mr Niyaz gave the interview, Xinjiang was in the middle of a news blackout, during which international phone lines were cut and the internet was disabled.

Continue Reading →

Move to Limit Cantonese on Chinese TV Is Assailed

Originally published by The New York Times, 26 July 2010


BEIJING — Protests over land grabs, industrial pollution and poor work conditions often rattle the Chinese authorities.

 Now add to that outrage over language policy. More than 1,000 people gathered Sunday in Guangzhou, in southern China, to demonstrate against a local politician’s proposal to force a major local television network to stop broadcasting in Cantonese and switch to the country’s official language, Mandarin. The protest, which was raucous and impassioned, ended peacefully after the police broke up the crowd. But any mention of the demonstration was wiped from many Internet forums on Monday, and only one national newspaper carried a detailed report, indicating that the pro-Cantonese groundswell had become a politically delicate matter.

Continue Reading →

Radicalisation of Chinese Muslims

Originally published by The Sri Lanka Guardian,25 July 2010

By B.Raman

(July 25, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) Is the jihadi ideology spreading in the Muslim community of China —- geographically as well as ethnically? Has it started infecting Muslims in provinces other than the Xinjiang Autonomous Region? Has it started affecting the Huis and other non-Uighur segements of the Chinese Muslim community? Is the Uighur separatist movement becoming part of the global jihadi movement? What has been the influence of Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban on the Chinese Muslims? What role has the Internet, which has spread spectacularly in China, been playing in facilitating the self-radicalisation of sections of the Chinese Muslim community?

Continue Reading →

China Faces Criticism for Sentence of Journalist

Originally published by The New York Times, 24 July 2010

BEIJING — Human rights groups are strongly criticizing the Chinese government for imposing a harsh prison sentence Friday on an ethnic Uighur journalist and intellectual who gave an interview to a Hong Kong news publication last August, just weeks after deadly ethnic rioting shook the western region of Xinjiang.

The intellectual, Gheyret Niyaz, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for endangering state security, a vague charge that is often used by officials to lock up people they deem political threats. The sentence was especially severe given that Mr. Niyaz was not accused of taking part in the ethnic rioting. Other Chinese intellectuals have recently been slapped with similarly severe sentences: Last December, Liu Xiaobo, a main author of a pro-democracy manifesto called Charter 08, was sentenced to 11 years.

Continue Reading →

China jails writer for 15 years for ‘endangering state security’

Human rights organisations attack heavy sentence on Uighur journalist who had warned about ethnic violence in Xinjiang

Originally published by,25 July 2010

By Tania Branigan

Human rights groups have attacked the heavy sentence a Chinese court has imposed on a Uighur writer who posted critical articles online and spoke to foreign journalists after last year’s riots in Xinjiang.

A court jailed Gheyrat Niyaz – known in Chinese as Hailaite Niyazi – for 15 years at a hearing on Friday for endangering state security. The 51-year-old had been detained since October.

A statement posted on the website, where Niyaz worked, quoted his wife as saying he “admitted in court that he accepted interviews from foreign media, but insisted that he had no malicious intentions and was only doing what a citizen, or reporter, should do”.

Almost 200 people died and 1,700 were injured when ethnic violence broke out in Xinjiang’s capital of Urumqi in July last year.

Continue Reading →

Chinese court ‘jails Uighur journalist’

Chinese paramilitary policemen march past on a street in Urumqi on July 5, 2010
Xinjiang has been under tight security since the riots last July
Originally published by BBC NEWS, 23 July 2010

A Uighur journalist who spoke to foreign media after riots in Xinjiang last year has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, his employer said.A regional court in China’s remote western region found Gheyret Niyaz guilty of endangering state security.Correspondents say the sentence is unusually long for someone with a low international profile.Nearly 200 people were killed last July in clashes in Xinjiang between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese.The website, where Mr Niyaz worked as an administrator, posted a note quoting his wife who was in the court on Friday.“Gheyret Niyaz admitted in court that he accepted interviews from foreign media, but insisted that he had no malicious intentions and was only doing what a citizen, or reporter, should do,” his wife, Reshalaiti, was reported as saying.

Continue Reading →

Uyghur journalist and website editor sentenced to fifteen years in jail

Originally published by Reporters Without Borders,24 July 2010


 Reporters Without Borders said it was outraged at the harshness of a 15-year prison sentence handed down today to journalist Gheyret Niyaz by a court in Urumqi, in Xinjiang province.

He was arrested in October 2009 following ethnic unrest in Xinjiang in July 2009 and found guilty of “threatening national security” after criticising Chinese official policy towards the Uyghurs, sending news about the riots to foreign journalists and contributing to a website accused of inciting violence.

“We are utterly astonished at the outcome of this trial,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “Gheyret Niyaz did indeed make some criticism of Chinese policy in his region, but he is neither a criminal nor a dissident. He is seen by Uyghurs based abroad as supporting China’s administration of Xinjiang and even shares some of the Chinese government’s views of the summer 2009 unrest.

“In giving him such a heavy sentence and imprisoning other journalists and netizens whose sole crime is to have spoken about these events, the Chinese authorities are not encouraging a negotiated solution. On the contrary, this shocking sentence shows that the authorities put control of news above the reconciliation process. Prisoners of opinion should be released and the verdict against Gheyret Niyaz quashed on appeal”, the organisation added.

Continue Reading →

A movement for peaceful co-existence

Originally published by The New Nation, 23 July 2010 

By Sabbir Uddin Ahmed

China has been brutally carrying out repression and torture on Uighur Muslims. The only fault of Uighur Muslims is that they want Independence of their motherland Xinjiang. Last year Chinese security forces ruthlessly quelled the movement. Consequently hundreds of Uighurs were killed and thousands injured.

On July 5 Muslim Uighur minority observed the first anniversary of deadly unrest that laid bare deep- seated ethnic tensions in the far-western Xinjiang. Security forces fanned out to keep China’s Urumqi city of Xinjiang in check on the first anniversary of ethnic unrest in this region.

Urumqi, the regional capital, erupted in violence on July 5 last year between the mainly Muslim Uighur minority and members of China’s dominant Han ethnic group, fuelled by Uighur resentment over Beijing’s rule of Xinjiang. In the following day mobs of angry Han took to the streets looking for revenge in the worst ethnic violence that China had seen in decades. The unrest left 200 dead and 1,700 injured according to the Chinese government figures. According to the international observers the number of killed and injured was more than that.

Continue Reading →