A Public Letter by Chinese Citizens Urging the Release of Uyghur Journalist Hailaite Niyazi

Originally published by Chinese Human Rights Defenders, 31.07.2010

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders- July 30, 2010) A group of Chinese lawyers and scholars have made public an open  letter expressing concern about  the “criminalization of speech” in the case of Uyghur journalist Hailaite Niyazi, who was sentenced on July 23 to 15 years in prison for endangering state security (for CHRD’s statement protesting Niyazi’s sentence, please see here). The original letter (available here, in Chinese) is being circulated domestically; CHRD has translated the letter and is circulating it internationally on behalf of the authors (full text below). To join the list of supporters, please email 99Gheyret@gmail.com and include your name, current city of residence, and occupation.

“Respect Freedom of Expression, Release Xinjiang Journalist Hailaite Niyazi”

We have learned that 51-year old Uyghur journalist and author Hailaite Niyazi (whose name also appears as Hairat or Gheyret Niyaz or Niyaze) was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Urumqi Intermediate Court in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) for “leaking state secrets.” Born in Qoqek (Tacheng), XUAR, Niyazi graduated from the Minzu University of China in Beijing and has previously held the positions of Chief Editorial Director of Xinjiang Legal Daily and Deputy Director of the Perspectives on the Rule of Law (Fazhi Zongheng) magazine publishing house.  A former editor and director of the website Uighurbiz.net, as well as manager of the site’s discussion forum, for a long time Niyazi has written online essays in Chinese, gradually building a wide following among China’s netizens.

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Uyghur American Association strongly condemns the sentencing of three Uyghur webmasters

 
 

For immediate release
July 29, 2010, 6:45 pm EST
Contact: Uyghur American Association +1 (202) 535 0037

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) strongly condemns the recent sentencing of three Uyghur webmasters, who were convicted on charges of “endangering state security”. According to the brother of one of the men, their trials are believed to have taken place on July 23 or July 24, around the same time as Uyghur webmaster Gheyret Niyaz was sentenced to 15 years in prison for “endangering state security” for speaking to foreign journalists.

“The Chinese government is suffocating Uyghur voices,” said Uyghur democracy leader Rebiya Kadeer. “Chinese authorities are committing an egregious violation of human rights and the freedom of expression by imprisoning these three men, who have done nothing more than work for websites and voice their opinions. Chinese legal guarantees regarding the freedom of speech and freedom of expression clearly mean nothing. Uyghurs in East Turkestan can only live in fear, when they are jailed for years merely for speaking out.”

Dilmurat Perhat, who lives in England, told UAA that his brother Dilshat Perhat, the 28-year-old webmaster and owner of the website Diyarim, was sentenced to five years in prison last week following a closed trial in a court in Urumchi, the regional capital of East Turkestan (also known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region). Dilmurat, who received the information from sources within East Turkestan, also told UAA that Nureli, the webmaster of the website Salkin, and Nijat Azat, the webmaster of the website Shabnam, were tried in closed trials on or around the same day and sentenced to three and ten years respectively.

Dilmurat, who was also a webmaster for Diyarim, said that Dilshat had repeatedly deleted postings that appeared on the message board of the website that advertised a peaceful demonstration planned for July 5, 2009 in Urumchi, and that Dilshat had called Chinese police multiple times to tell them about the postings. Dilshat reportedly told his brother that the police told him not to worry, as they knew about the plans for the demonstration that were being posted.

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Police Toss Out Arrest Warrant for Chinese Reporter in Hiding

Originally published by The New York Times, 30 July 2010
By ANDREW JACOBS
 BEIJING — For China’s investigative journalists, who grapple with heavy-handed censors and accusations of bribe-taking, the case of a Shanghai-based reporter appears to offer a positive turn.

The episode did not start auspiciously for the reporter, Qiu Ziming, 28. He went into hiding this week after county police in Zhejiang Province announced they were seeking his arrest for reporting on accusations of insider trading at a paper company in a four-part series in The Economic Observer, a well-regarded weekly.

But on Wednesday, Mr. Qiu’s colleagues sprang into action, publishing articles on the Internet and e-mailing links to a satirical wanted poster. Even the state-owned broadcaster, CCTV, ran a segment that revealed how the company, which went public in 2004, had used its political connections to exact revenge.

In the broadcast, a reporter asks a representative how the company, Zhejiang Kan Specialty Materials, was able to have the Suichang county police try to arrest him. “You can say that this is a kind of concern and love the government has for star enterprises like us,” the representative said. “The government helps us handle certain issues.”

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China ‘jails three Uighurs’ for website work

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,30 July 2010
 

China has jailed three ethnic Uighur website owners as it clamps down on dissent a year after deadly ethnic riots in Xinjiang, say reports.An exiled activist group, the Uyghur American Association (UAA), said the three men were sentenced to 10, five and three years respectively.Officials have not confirmed the charges or the sentences.In last year’s violence between Uighurs and Han Chinese, the authorities say nearly 200 people were killed.The three men who were reportedly jaioled had founded or managed Uighur-language websitesThey were identified as Dilshat Perhat, webmaster of Diyarim; Nureli, webmaster of Salkin; and Nijat Azat, webmaster of Shabnam.The websites, among the most popular in the Uighur language, were blocked by the Chinese authorities last year.UAA quoted a brother of one of the men saying they were sentenced last week.The men were convicted of “endangering state security” during a one-day trial, said Mr Perhat’s brother, Dilmurat Perhat, who lives in London.”We didn’t do anything against the Chinese government on the Diyarim website,” the brother was quoted saying. “There were tens of thousands of people accessing the website every day.”Court officials would not confirm the reports.Separately, a Uighur journalist, Gheyret Niyaz,was jailed last week for 15 years for speaking to foreign journalists during last year’s riots.”The Chinese government is suffocating Uighur voices,” said the Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer, who lives in the US.

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China jails 3 Uighurs for sites deemed sensitive

Originally published by The Associated Press,30 July 2010
By TINI TRAN

BEIJING — China has jailed three minority Uighurs who ran websites with content considered politically sensitive by the government, according to a media report and an advocacy group.

 Their sentencing last week is the latest move by the Chinese government to rein in dissent following last year’s deadly ethnic violence in the far western Xinjiang region that erupted between the minority Uighur population and the majority Han Chinese.

 Long-standing tensions between the Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group, and the Han flared into open violence in the regional capital of Urumqi in July 2009. The government said 197 people were killed. Hundreds of people were arrested, about two dozen were sentenced to death and many Uighurs remain unaccounted for and are believed to be in custody.

 Last week, the three men, identified as Dilshat Perhat, webmaster of Diyarim; Nureli, webmaster of Salkin; and Nijat Azat, webmaster of Shabnam, were sentenced to five years, three years and 10 years respectively, said Radio Free Asia and the Uyghur American Association, citing a brother of one of the men.

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World Uyghur Congress Strongly Denounces the Sentencing of Three Uyghur Webmasters

For immediate release
July 29, 2010
Contact:  World Uyghur Congres (
www.uyghurcongress.org)
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 (Munich, Germany), +1 (202) 535 0048 (Washington, DC, USA)

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) strongly denounces the sentencing of three Uyghur male webmasters to various prison terms late last week by the Intermediate People’s Court of Urumchi in East Turkestan (also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China (XUAR)) in connection with their administration of their Uyghur-language websites.  Nijat Azat (webmaster of Shabnam), Dilshat Perhat (webmaster and owner of Diyarim), and Nureli (webmaster of Salkin) were convicted on charges of “endangering state security” according to Dilshat’s brother, Dilmerat, another webmaster of Diyarim who currently resides in England and received information from sources inside East Turkestan. [1] The Chinese authorities have accused Shabnam, Diyarim, and Salkin, as well as other Uyghur-language websites, of helping to foment the unrest in Urumchi, the regional capital, in July 2009. [2] According to Dilmurat Perhat, the three men were sentenced after a series of closed trials that took place on July 23rd or July 24th [3] around the same time that Uyghur journalist and website editor Gheyret Niyaz was sentenced to fifteen years in prison [4].

“We ask the international community to condemn the persecution and sentencing of Uyghur webmasters Nijat Azat, Dilshat Perhat, and Nureli as further efforts by the Chinese authorities to stem the free flow of information and instill fear in the Uyghur people in order to deter them from exercise their freedom of speech,” said Rebiya Kadeer, the President of the World Uyghur Congress, a former prisoner of conscience, and multiple-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

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Palau to pressure Australia to accept Uighurs

Originally publshed by ABC  radio Australia,29 Jul 2010 21
 

Palau’s President Johnson Toribiong says he’ll press Australia to take in former Guantanamo detainees from the Chinese Muslim Uighur minority, who want to be resettled permanently.

President Toribiong says he’ll raise the issue of the Uighurs’ resettlement during talks with Australian officials, on the sidelines of next month’s Pacific Islands Forum in Vanuatu.

The six men from China’s remote northwestern region of Xinjiang were detained at Guantanamo Bay in late 2001.

Although cleared of any wrongdoing four years later, they remained in detention until last year when the former US-administered Pacific territory of Palau agreed to provide a temporary home.

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Tiananmen dissident to seek re-entry to China

Originally published by Reuters, 29 July 2010
 

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Wu’er Kaixi, a leading figure in China’s 1989 pro-democracy movement, said on Thursday he would step up efforts to re-enter China after two failed attempts, saying he would risk arrest to visit his parents.Wu’er Kaixi fled China following the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

He said he was barred from boarding a flight from Japan to China last month and detained in Macau last year en route to the mainland. He expects to be arrested and deported if he makes it back in the future but is prepared to serve a prison sentence.

“I will keep trying. There will be more actions to come,” Wu’er Kaixi, 42, told a news conference in Taipei, without giving specifics. “There will be elevated actions.”

Public discussion of the events surrounding 1989 remain taboo in China and are banned from mention in state-run media, but if Wu’er Kaixi re-entered China, the Tiananmen movement would get international attention and irritate Beijing.

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