China’s defamation campaign against Uighur human rights activists began six years ago – German government must take action!

Göttingen, November 25, 2009

As the sad culmination of a defamation campaign lasting many years against Uighur human rights activists in Germany the Society for Threatened Peoples STP (Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker GfbV) has condemned China’s attempts at spying on the World Congress of Uighurs (WUC) , which has its seat in Munich. “We really can’t take any more”, said the STP Asia consultant, Ulrich Delius, in Göttingen. “The leading figures in the WUC are German citizens, who have for many years been systematically limited in their freedom of movement and speech. If the suspicions of espionage are borne out, the German government must take action and refuse to tolerate all intrusions on our free democratic basic order.”

China’s defamation campaign against Uighurs in Germany began already in December 2003. The Chinese Foreign Ministry then termed the fore-runner organisation of the WUC, the World Youth Congress of the Uighurs with its seat in Munich, a “terrorist” organisation. The German government was called on to close its office, to block its bank accounts and to deport all its members to China. The Bavarian Ministry of the Interior and the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution gave an assurance in their reply to the question from the STP that they had no objections to the activities of the human rights activists. The Uighurs were concerned to maintain a high level of transparency and gave regular reports to the Bavarian Office on their work.

In April 2005 the General Secretary of the WUC, Dolkun Isa, was arrested on entering the UN building in Geneva just before a speech at the UN Human Rights Commission. Later the UN police apologized for the arrest, which had been caused by unchecked Chinese information.

In November 2006 the head of the Bavarian Green Party, Margarete Bause, lodged a “complaint against persons unknown for espionage”. The Chinese General Consul had come to see her to prevent her going to a closed meeting with Uighurs. He presented her with a list with twelve names of Green politicians who had been invited to this meeting. He explained that the Consulate had its “own information channels”. The case was closed after a few months.

In September 2009 Dolkun Isa was at the intervention of China prevented from travelling to South Korea. It was not until several days later that he was released and able to return to Germany. China has applied for the arrest of Dolkun Isa to INTERPOL for “terrorist activities”. For several years now China has been publishing “black lists” throughout the world with the names of leading Uighur human rights activists and it calls on all countries to refuse entry to these persons. The freedom of movement of the WUC Chairperson, Rebiya Kadeer, is also being systematically limited. Just recently Taiwan refused her entry as a result of Chinese pressure. ustralia and New Zealand hesitated for a long time in issuing her a visa. Chinese hackers destroyed the homepage of film festivals in Australia and Taiwan which showed film portraits of Rebiya Kadeer. The Chinese government has on several occasions with all emphasis called on the European Parliament not to receive any representatives of the WUC. When Ms. Kadeer at the invitation of the STP visited the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2009 two persons from the Chinese embassy photographed every stand she visited.

In the official Chinese media the WUC has been classed as an enemy of the people and the “wirepuller” behind the disturbances in Xinjiang (East Turkestan) in July 2009. “In this way a scapegoat is being built up to distract attention away from their own mistakes in nationality politics”, criticised Delius (who can also be reached at )