Well-Oiled Security Apparatus in China Stifles Calls for Change

Originally published by The New York Times,28 Feb 2011
By ANDREW JACOBS and JONATHAN ANSFIELD

BEIJING — The call to action shot across mobile phones and Internet chat sites, urging people to converge on 13 Chinese cities to demand an end to corruption, inflation and the strictures of authoritarian rule. “The Chinese people do not have the patience to wait any longer,” said one message.

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In China, Security Muffles Calls for Change

Originally published by The New York Times,February 28, 2011

 By ANDREW JACOBS and JONATHAN ANSFIELD

 BEIJING — The call to action shot across mobile phones and Internet chat sites, urging people to converge on 13 Chinese cities to demand an end to corruption, inflation and the strictures of authoritarian rule. “The Chinese people do not have the patience to wait any longer,” said one message.

The anonymous organizers got a sizeable turnout — but in China, most of those who poured into squares and shopping centers were police officers and plainclothes security agents.

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A Right Without a Remedy

Originally published by The New York Times,February 28, 2011

Editorial

In a landmark case three years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who are not American citizens have “the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus.” It gives them the right to have a federal judge decide promptly whether their detention is illegal and, if so, order their release because the United States controls the place they are held. The 5-to-4 decision in what is known as the Boumediene case was a repudiation of the Bush strategy of imprisoning the detainees outside American territory so the Constitution would not apply. Or so many thought.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the only circuit where detainees can challenge their detention, has dramatically restricted the Boumediene ruling. In its hands, habeas is no longer a remedy for the problem the Boumediene majority called “arbitrary and unlawful restraint.”

The sole recourse is for the Supreme Court, once again, to say what the Constitution requires judges to do in habeas cases. Fortunately, a case is at hand for the justices to do so in an appeal from the District of Columbia Circuit. In the Kiyemba case recently, five Uighur, or Chinese Muslim, detainees filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of their petition for it to restore the power of federal trial judges to free them.

This appeal in no way threatens national security. The government has admitted that the Uighurs are not enemies, let alone enemy combatants. Refugees from China, they were mistakenly imprisoned during the Afghanistan war and sent to Guantánamo Bay in 2002. Other Uighurs accepted release to the island of Palau, 500 miles from the Philippines, but these five declined the offer because they have no connection to the island.

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Uyghurs Targeted Amidst Reform Call

Originally published by RFA, 28 Feb 2011

By Qiao Long

Authorities increase restrictions on Uyghurs as Chinese activists demand government accountability.

AFP

Chinese police keep watch in Urumqi, July 5, 2010.

Chinese authorities have stepped up curbs on ethnic minority Muslim Uyghurs in the wake of popular uprisings in the Middle East and calls for “Jasmine” rallies at home, an exile group said on Monday.

Tensions were running high in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang, according to Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, where the authorities detained five Uyghurs in the regional capital, Urumqi, last Tuesday and Wednesday.

Uyghurs were also being refused permission to apply for passports, he said.

“One man [aged] 23 was detained … on charges of ‘endangering state security,’ because the government accused him of keeping illegal DVDs,” Raxit said.

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China’s Vote On Libya Signals Possible Shift

Originally published by The Wall Street Journal, 28 Feb 2011

By Jason Dean

China’s vote for the United Nations Security Council resolution on Libya represents an unusual endorsement by Beijing of sanctions against another government over the treatment of its people.

For decades, the Asian power has held as a central premise of its foreign policy that governments shouldn’t interfere in the “internal affairs” of other countries. A permanent member of the Security Council, Beijing has backed U.N. sanctions against North Korea and Iran several times in recent years, but the measures were targeted at the two nations’ nuclear efforts. By contrast, China has generally stymied efforts to target other governments such as Zimbabwe and Myanmar for human-rights violations—wielding its veto power, for example, to block sanctions efforts against Zimbabwe, Myanmar, and Sudan.

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Interview: ‘I Can’t Say The Struggle Will Always Be Peaceful,’ Says Uyghur Advocate Kadeer

Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer says she believes there will be more bloodshed in China, because the authorities continue to crack down on the Uyghur minority.
Originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,27 Feb 2011

Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer says she believes there will be more bloodshed in China, because the authorities continue to crack down on the Uyghur minority.

At a time when Middle Eastern dictators are feeling the heat, Central Asian autocrats are worrying about the future of their own governments.

Far from her homeland, Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer is busy in Washington, D.C., where she is organizing a plan to rally minority Uyghurs in China. She hopes that the move will promote Uyghur independence from Chinese rule.

The story of the Uyghur struggle topped the international press in July 2009, when the minority group clashed with Han Chinese in Urumqi. Kadeer regards the Han as colonists sent by the Chinese government to change the demographic balance of power in Uyghur territory.

To Kadeer, the 2009 bloodshed gives the Uyghurs added reason to move ahead in their struggle for self-rule. If not respected by the Chinese, this struggle may also include the formation of a government in exile to highlight the Uyghur cause. RFE/RL’s Muhammad Tahir recently talked with her at her home outside Washington, D.C.

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China uses whistles, water, police on protests

Originally published by The Associated Press,27 feb 2011
By ELAINE KURTENBACH

SHANGHAI — Large numbers of police – and new tactics like shrill whistles and street cleaning trucks – squelched overt protests in China for a second Sunday in a row after more calls came for peaceful gatherings modeled on recent democratic movements in the Middle East.

Near Shanghai’s People’s Square, uniformed police blew whistles nonstop and shouted at people to keep moving, though about 200 people – a combination of onlookers and quiet sympathizers who formed a larger crowd than a week ago – braved the shrill noise. In Beijing, trucks normally used to water the streets drove repeatedly up the busy commercial shopping district spraying water and keeping crowds pressed to the edges.

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Fearful Uighurs live under eye of security cameras

Originally published by The Sydney Morning Herald,26 feb 2011
By Tom Lasseter
URUMQI, China: Looking slowly around his own bedroom, the nervous Uighur man with hunched shoulders said he was not sure whether he could speak openly about the Chinese government.

”Someone may be listening on the other side of any wall here,” said Anwar, a 50-year-old shopkeeper. ”We must think of our own safety.”

It was no idle concern. Chinese officials added about 17,000 surveillance cameras last year to the tens of thousands already installed in Urumqi, apparently centred on neighborhoods frequented by Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority. They announced plans to put the entire city of some 2.4 million people under ”seamless” observation with tens of thousands more.

During the weeks of protests in the Arab world, some Western observers have sought to draw parallels between the scene in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and the one in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989. Would it be possible, they wondered, for that sort of unrest to spread again in China?

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