The World Uyghur Congress Condemns China’s Recent Crackdown of Uyghurs on Trumped-up “Terrorism” Charges

For Immediate Release
Contact: Alim A. Seytoff
World Uyghur Congress
Phone: 202-321-2388

Friday, September 17, 2004

Washington – The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) condemns China’s heavy-handed crackdown of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan since September 11, 2001 and strongly protests its recent decision to execute more than 50 Uyghurs on trumped-up “terrorism” charges.

“We demand the Chinese authorities to immediately stop the execution of the Uyghurs sentenced to death on ‘terrorism’ charges, and demand the international community to put more pressure on Beijing to prevent this authoritarian regime from persecuting the Uyghur people in the name of fighting against the international war on terror, ” Erkin Alptekin, President of WUC, said.

Reuters reported on Monday that the Chinese government has sentenced more than 50 people in East Turkestan to death in this year on “terrorism” charges. Wang Lequan, party secretary of “Xinjiang”, said during the interview that the Chinese government had cracked 22 groups involved in “separatist” and “terrorist” activities and meted out the 50 death sentences in the first eight months of the year. Wang did not elaborate what groups they were and what kind of activities the involved Uyghurs allegedly committed.

“The execution of these Uyghurs will further intensify the volatile situation in East Turkestan because there have not been any acts of terrorism committed by the Uyghurs in recent years even according to the Chinese reports,” Alim A. Seytoff, Chairman of the Executive Committee for WUC, said.

According to Amnesty International report released last month, China is using the “war on terror” to justify its longstanding repression of the rights of the Uyghur community. The human rights watchdog said, “China has repackaged its repression of Uyghurs as a fight against ‘terrorism’. Since the 11 September 2001 attacks on the USA, the Chinese government has been using ‘anti-terrorism’ as a pretext to increase its crackdown on all forms of political or religious dissent in the region.”

In light of these concerns, the U.S. government decided recently not to return the Uyghur detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to China. On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department again designated China as a “Country of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom.

The World Uyghur Congress condemns terrorism in all shapes and forms whether it is being committed by a state, a group, or an individual. WUC, as a legitimate representative of all the Uyghur people in the world promotes their right to use peaceful, nonviolent, and democratic means to determine the political future of East Turkestan. It adheres to the internationally accepted human rights standard and the principles of democratic pluralism. It rejects of totalitarianism, religious intolerance, and terrorism as an instrument of policy.