WUC IS ALARMED BY THE INCIDENT IN UCHTURPAN

Press Release – For immediate release
16 February 2014
Contact: World Uyghur Congress www.uyghurcongress.org
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or contact@uyghurcongress.org

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is alarmed by the recent reports released on Friday by the Chinese authorities regarding the shooting and killing of eleven Uyghurs in Uchturpan County of the Aksu Prefecture. This type of killing has become an increasingly common occurrence or even “standard operating procedure” for the Chinese government. Ever more alarming is the lack of details released by the Chinese government and government controlled press, leaving more questions than answers regarding the incident. The WUC calls on the Chinese authorities to disclose all information pertaining to the incident and demand that the international community pressure the Chinese government to conduct a transparent and independent investigation regarding the incident immediately.

On Friday February 14,th 2014, certain Chinese news agencies released news concerning the deaths of eleven Uyghurs in Uchturpan County of the Aksu Prefecture of East Turkistan. According to the information reported by the government controlled media, “assailants rode motorbikes and drove cars that carried liquefied natural gas cylinders they intended to use as suicide bombs.” The authorities did not provide specific details about this incident. Similarly, previous reports regarding these types of incidents proved to be unreliable and not fully confirmed by independent sources. Over the course of the last year, on numerous and separate occasions, the Chinese government made exactly the same type of accusations without providing any substantive evidence that would support these allegations.

“It is not the first time these incidents are being reported. WUC and human rights groups around the world have repeatedly called upon the Chinese government to conduct a transparent investigation on similar incidents. So far, no reliable information has emerged. This latest incident illustrates a recent trend of state-sponsored violence used to quell Uyghur dissent, whereby authorities ignore due process of the law, shoot and kill Uyghurs, label them terrorists, and then use counter-terrorism to justify the unlawful killings and further repression in the region,” said the WUC president and prominent Uyghur human rights activist, Mrs. Rebiya Kadeer.
Because of the lack of transparency in China and stringent restrictions on foreign journalism in the region, the WUC could not confirm the names of those who were killed in the incident. Furthermore, it was reported that in the immediate aftermath of this incident a curfew was imposed and the TV and cable signals were cut off, which made it more difficult for independent news agencies and foreign press to receive information from the region. This also signaled the initiation of a clamp down on the region. Unfortunately, this is becoming a routine trend for the Chinese government in its handling of these incidents, without any serious evidence that they are veritable terrorist attacks.

The WUC implores the international community to approach these Chinese state-sponsored reports with great scrutiny. The WUC strongly urges the international community to hold off on believing the Chinese account until it receives reliable information from more transparent and independent sources. The WUC requests that the international community approach the regional authorities in East Turkistan and have them fully disclose all relevant information on this latest incident. The WUC reminds the international community that with the Chinese government’s current policies in the region, China is not providing an opportunity for reconciliation but making a bad situation worse – furthering the marginalization of the Uyghur people.