Newsletter No. 17
December 2011    
 Official Website of the WUC | Unsubscribe | SubscribeOlder Editions | PDF Version

Noor-ul-Islam Sherbaz
Top Story
  Uyghur Political Prisoner Noor-ul-Islam Sherbaz Dies in Jail
Featured Articles
  2nd Anniversary of Cambodia Extraditions: Grave Concern over Enforced                       Disappearances of Extradited Uyghurs
  Four Uyghurs Arrested for Attending Koran Study Group in Urumqi
Media Work
  New WUC Publication: Booklet on Freedom of Expression
  WUC Homepage Available in Russian
AI Video: Rebiya Kadeer -Working for the rights of Uyghurs in China
  Open Letter by Rebiya Kadeer on the Death of Václav Havel

Past Events
  Tokyo Symposium and Gathering for Asian Democratization
  UN Forum on Minority Issues
  WUC Delegation in Geneva
  EP Subcommittee on Human Rights: Hearing on China
  WUC Secretary General at HR Symposium, Prague
  Uyghur Demonstration on International Human Rights Day
  39th Congress Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational & Transparty
  China Culture Year in Turkey
  ISHR Working Committee on China
  Annual Meeting of Norway Uyghur Committee (NUC)
  Commemoration Event in Memory of Isa Yüsuf Alptekin
  Netherlands East Turkestan Uyghur Union Visits Uyghur Asylum Seekers

Upcoming Events
   No upcoming events for January 2012.

Highlighted Media Articles and reports on Uyghur Related Issues
   “The Xinjiang Procedure” by Ethan Gutmann
   CPJ: “China's jailed Uighurs: Out of sight, not out of mind”
  “Uyghurnomics”: Blog by UHRP Manager
More Media Articles

Uyghur Political Prisoner Noor-ul-Islam Sherbaz Dies in Jail
RFA, 06 Dec 2011
A young Uyghur died in a Chinese jail in Xinjiang last month shortly after a visit from his mother, who reported signs of abuse, the young man’s father said.

“My son has died,” said Sherbaz Khan, a Pakistani, speaking in an interview with RFA. “Many, many Uyghur people are dying in Xinjiang.” Noor-ul-Islam Sherbaz, then 17, was detained following ethnic disturbances in the regional capital Urumqi in July 2009, and was charged last year for what authorities said was his role in inciting the unrest. A Chinese consular officer in Pakistan surnamed Li had assured him that his son was in good health and would be released in five to six months, said Khan, who was deported from Xinjiang into Pakistan on June 10, 2010.

Li also warned him not to speak to reporters about his son’s situation. But a friend with connections to the Urumqi jail said that his son had been regularly beaten with electric batons.

“Many young Uyghur men and women are also badly beaten,” Khan said his contact told him. “They are beaten constantly. They are given only two hardened steam buns with boiled water to eat each day. Their cells are cold and tiny, with 20-25 people put into spaces meant to hold 4-5.”

On Nov. 13, Khan said, Chinese officials asked his wife—who lives in Xinjiang and whose younger sister is married to a high-ranking police officer—to come to the jail at 10:00 a.m. to visit her son. She was allowed to see him for only 20-30 minutes, Khan said.

“Later, we learned that on that same day, at around 10:00 p.m., my son had died … His mother saw him in the morning, and in the night he was gone. They said my son had died in the hospital,” Khan said. “I heard that they gave him a lethal injection.”

Khan said he instructed his wife not to take charge of their son’s body until he was able to come to Urumqi from Pakistan. “I applied for a visa, but the Chinese embassy in Pakistan told me to wait until they had ‘news from the top.’ We waited for three days. In the end, they insisted on burying him themselves. Police were everywhere, and they refused to let anybody see him.”

Though the Pakistani embassy in Beijing offered to arrange transportation and bring his son’s body to Pakistan, the Chinese authorities “did not agree,” Khan said. “They knew that I would arrange a postmortem examination to determine the cause of death. Now my son is dead,” Khan said. “My wife and I are now dead, too.”

Calls seeking comment from the Chinese consulate in Pakistan rang unanswered on Monday. […]

See also:

WUC Political prisoner Database, entry for Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz

China: Risk of torture for 17-year old in China
Amnesty International, UA: 336/09 Index: ASA 17/071/2009, 15 December 2009 

2nd Anniversary of Cambodia Extraditions: Grave Concern over Enforced Disappearances of Extradited Uyghurs
WUC Press Release, 19 Dec 2011

19 December marks the second anniversary of the illegal and forcible return of 20 Uyghur asylum-seekers (including one woman and two children) from Cambodia to China and the Chinese authorities still have not disclosed their whereabouts and legal statuses. The Chinese government had promised the international community that it would deal with these Uyghurs transparently upon return. The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is gravely concerned about their well-being and is also worried about other cases of enforced disappearances of Uyghur refugees and asylum seekers after their return to China from different countries in the Asian region.

Under the excuse of the “global war on terror,” launched after the 9/11 attacks in the United States, the Chinese government has drastically increased its crackdown on all forms of peaceful political, social and cultural Uyghur dissent. The past ten years have proven that Uyghurs fleeing suppression and discrimination in East Turkestan are at extreme risk of being deported back to China, where they face enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture and execution. In the past decade, at least 170 Uyghur refugees, many of whom had been granted UNHCR refugee status, have been forcibly returned from countries with strong economic and diplomatic ties to China:

A part from the Cambodian case mentioned above, Kazakhstan has deported at least 20 Uyghurs after 9/11, among them Ershidin Israel in May 2011. The same month, Tajikistan deported three Uyghurs with Turkish citizenship to China. Kyrgyzstan has extradited around 50 Uyghurs to China since 2001 and Uzbekistan another two, among them Huseyin Celil, who was sentenced to life imprisonment after his return. Myanmar forcibly deported 17 Uyghurs in January 2010, Laos returned seven Uyghurs in March 2010 and Nepalese authorities have extradited at least nine Uyghurs since 2001.

Since 9/11, Pakistan has deported 28 Uyghurs to China, most recently on 8 August 2011, when five Uyghurs, among them one woman and two children, were sent back to China. The Uyghur refugee Nur Muhemmed was handed over to Chinese officials in Bangkok, Thailand, on 6 August 2011. Only two weeks later, on 18 August, Malaysia extradited eleven Uyghurs to China.

Most of these people have “disappeared” after their forcibly return to China in a kind of black hole. “The disappearance of these Uyghur individuals is emblematic of the absence of the rule of law in China,” stated Rebiya Kadeer, WUC President and former prisoner of conscience, and multiple-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Although the Chinese government has alleged that these Uyghurs committed criminal and violent acts, the government has not produced any evidence to substantiate such allegations. The government routinely makes unsubstantiated accusations against Uyghurs of crimes and violence and also regularly equates Uyghurs’ peaceful political dissent, as well as peaceful religious and cultural activities, with terrorism, religious extremism, and separatism.

Countries that handed over Uyghur refugees to China were granted economic and diplomatic benefits, ignoring the fact that these extraditions represented a flagrant violation of international human rights treaties, especially the UN Convention Against Torture, the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, as well as international customary law.

The WUC condemns these forcible returns in the strongest possible terms and calls on the Chinese authorities to immediately disclose these Uyghurs’ whereabouts and to provide the charges, if any, that have been made against them.

The WUC also calls on the Asian governments to end their prioritization of questionable commitments with the Chinese government over their international human rights obligations – especially in regard to denials of asylum and forcible return of asylum seekers.

See also:

Uigurischen Flüchtlingen aus China wird in Asien Schutz verweigert Vereinte Nationen sollen Schicksal von 20 verschwundenen Flüchtlingen aus China klären
GfbV, 19 Dec 2011

Los uigures en el exilio piden el cese de las extradiciones forzadas a China
EFE, 20 Dec 2011

Two years on, deported Uyghur asylum seekers remain “disappeared”
UAA Press Prelease, 20 December 2011 

Four Uyghurs Arrested for Attending Koran Study Group in Urumqi
Originally published by Radio Free Asia, translated by China Aid, 30 November 2011

Four Uyghur men were arrested last Saturday in their apartment in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang, for “engaging in illegal religious activity.” The local police confirmed the arrests to Radio Free Asia but refused to give any details. An overseas Uyghur organization said that a “Hundred Day Crackdown” was launched in Aksu last week and so far 11 people have been arrested, including women, and that more than 20 people were fined for engaging in religious activities.

The religious faith of Uyghurs in China has always been a concern of the international community. Recently, across most of Xinjiang, a severe crackdown has been launched on so-called “illegal religious activities.” The authorities regard any study of the Koran done outside government-approved venues to be “illegal activity.” On Wednesday, Dilshat, the spokesperson of the German-based World Uyghur Congress, told Radio Free Asia that at least four young Uyghurs were arrested recently in Urumqi for engaging in religious activities. He said, “On the 26th, Urumqi police burst into Room 602, Unit 7, Building 2, on South Road in Dalan Town and arrested four people, accusing them of illegal scripture exposition and being engaged in religious activities. Police beat and insulted them, confiscated some religious publications, and are holding them at the police station on Minghua Street.” When our journalist called the police station, the police confirmed the arrests but refused to say how the case was being handled. […]

As a warning, the authorities are fining people who study the Koran, Dilshat said, and so far 23 people have been given fines of 2,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan. He said, “The Department of Public Health in the Yutian district of Hetian county issued a notice to investigate Uyghurs who wear veils. They even set up a special task group to detain and investigate serious offenders.” He also said that 27 retired Uyghurs officials in Hetian county were required to sign a statement pledging that they, as well as their spouses, children, relatives and friends, would no longer participate in religious activities. The Land Resources Bureau of Moyu county issued a notice forbidding officials and employees, as well as their families and relatives, to wear veils and other clothing with strong religious connotations, or to engage in any illegal religious activities. Offenders are subject to fines ranging from 1,000 yuan to 3,000 yuan. According to Hetian city’s official website, the Yutian county Public Health Department is starting a special “unveiling” campaign within the entire countywide public health system. It said that all public health agencies and all public places are required to become free of veiled women as quickly as possible. Officials, employees and their families in educational institutions are not to wear clothes with strong religious connotations such as the “jilbab” [a traditional Islamic outer garment that looks like a long raincoat or trenchcoat].

See also:

China: Muslim Uighur District Reportedly Tries Veil Ban
Huffington Post, 15 Dec 2011 

Western China city seeks to banish Muslim veil
Reuters, 15 Dec 2011

New WUC Publication: Booklet on Freedom of Expression
The booklet Violation of Freedom of Expression in East Turkestan published by the WUC in November 2011 provides an overview on the current status of freedom of expression for the Uyghur people.

After an introduction to the events of 5 July 2009 in Urumqi that lead to an increased crackdown on Uyghur freedom of expression, an overview on the Chinese legislation on freedom of expression, a description of the use of “Endangering State Security” (ESS) charges to silence peaceful Uyghur dissent, the current condition of freedom of speech and information in East Turkestan and China, and the effects of the “Jasmine Revolution” on Uyghurs, the booklet provides summaries on the cases of some of the Uyghurs imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression, opinion, and speech. These cases include among others: Abdulghani Memetemin, Dilshat Perhat, Gheyret Niyaz, Gulmira Imin, Mehbube Ablesh, Memetjan Abdulla, Ablikim Abdureyim, Alim Abdureyim or Tursunjan Hesen.
The booklet can be downloaded here
WUC Homepage Available in Russian
On 18 December, the WUC launched the Russian version of its homepage, see here.  WUC´s website is now available in 8 languages, namely in: English, German, French, Uyghur, Chinese, Japanese, Turkish and Russian.
AI Video: Rebiya Kadeer -Working for the rights of Uyghurs in China
Amnesty International Australia has published the video from the from October 2011 Brisbane conference in which WUC President Rebiya Kadeer explains how Amnesty International saved her life and discusses her ongoing struggling for the rights of Uyghurs in China. The vide is available here.
Open Letter by Rebiya Kadeer on the Death of Václav Havel
On 20 December, WUC President Rebiya Kadeer published an open letter on the death of Vaclav Havel to express her deepest sympathies with Mr. Havel’s family and also with the Czech people. 

Tokyo Symposium and Gathering for Asian Democratization
On 25 and 26 November, the “Tokyo Symposium and Gathering for Asian Democratization”  took place in the Japanese capital. WUC Representative to the European Institutions Mehmet Tohti took part in the event. For his intervention see here.

See also:

Yaponiyining tokyo shehiride chaqirilghan asiyada démokratiyini ilgiri sürüsh yighinigha uyghurlarmu qatnashmaqta
RFA, 25 Nov 2011

UN Forum on Minority Issues
Members of the WUC leadership, including WUC President Rebiya Kadeer, attended the fourth session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues  which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on 29 and 30 November 2011. The main focus of this year´s forum was “Guaranteeing the rights of minority women”. The WUC was part of a UNPO delegation.

On 30 November, Ms. Kadeer also participated in a side-event organized by UNPO and the Minority Rights Group on “Violence against minority women and their access to justice”, speaking about the situation of Uyghur women in East Turkestan.

See also:

Elimination of Violence Against Minority Women
UNPO Paper, 25 Nov 2011 

UNPO Representatives Prominent At UN Forum On Minority Issues
UNPO, 5 Dec 2011

D u q rehberliri b d t chaqirghan 4-Nöwetlik az sanliq milletler munbiri yighinigha qatnashmaqta
RFA, 29 Nov 2011

B d t yighinida uyghur mesilisi yene bir qétim keskin talash-Tartish témisi boldi
RFA, 30 Nov 2011

WUC Delegation in Geneva
While in Geneva for the fourth session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues, the WUC delegation (President Rebiya Kadeer, Vice President Asgar Can, Secretary General Dolkun Isa and spokesman Alim Seytoff) met with officials from UNHCR and the OHCHR to discuss different human rights abuses against the Uyghur population in East Turkestan.
EP Subcommittee on Human Rights: Hearing on China
On 5 December, the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament in Brussels held a public hearing on “Human Rights in China and the role of the European Union following the last meeting of the EU China Human Rights Dialogue”. The programme included Barbara Lochbihler (Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights), Sophie Richardson (Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch), Sharom Hom (Executive Director, Human Rights in China), Mehmet Tohti (Special Representative of the WUC to the EU) and Ray Murphy (Acting Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights).

Mr. Tohti´s intervention is available here
The video recording of the hearing is available here  (starting at 16:45)

See also:

Yawropa parlaméntida uyghurlar heqqide guwahliq bérish yighini ötküzüldi
RFA, 5 Dec 2011 

DROI Hearing on Human Rights in China
UNPO, 14 December 2011

WUC Secretary General at HR Symposium, Prague
On 9 December, the symposium "Epoch-Making Power of Free Speech" organized by Vaclav Havel Library  took place in Prague. WUC Secretary General Dolkun Isa was invited to participate in the "Evening of Solidarity” and gave a speech on freedom of expression in East Turkestan. Pictures of the event are available here
Uyghur Demonstration on International Human Rights Day
On 10 December, the International Human Rights Day, the WUC and the and East Turkistan Union in Europe staged a demonstration in Munich to draw attention to the Chinese government’s systematic human rights violations against the Uyghur people in East Turkestan. 

Also the Uyghurs in Vancouver demonstrated in front of the Chinese embassy in Canada on 10 December, the International Day of Human Rights. 

Organized by the Turkish World Human Rights Foundation a conference was convened on 10 December in Ankara, Turkey. Hayrullah Efendigil, head of the Ankara Office of the East Turkestan Culture and Solidarity Association, attended the conference on behalf of the WUC and raised the issue of violations against the human rights of Uyghur people in East Turkestan. 

39th Congress of the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty
The 39th Congress of the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty was summoned in Rome from the 8 to 11 December. WUC president Rebiya Kadeer attended the Congress along with scores of prominent participants including political representatives, members of Parliament and members of governments, activists of human rights and of democracy coming from over 40 countries all over the world. 
China Culture Year in Turkey
A China Culture Year, which marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Turkey in 2011, began on 12 December in the Turkish capital Ankara. Organized by the East Turkestan Culture and Solidarity Association, a group of Uyghurs and Turks protested in front of the main hall of the event center against the human rights violations of Uyghur people in East Turkestan.

On the occasion of the 2011-2012 China Culture Year in Turkey, the Niğde University of Turkey organized a conference titled "East Turkestan Issue and the China Culture Year in Turkey" on 12 December. The WUC vice president Seyit Tumturk attended the conference and spoke on the current situation in East Turkestan and the human rights violations against the Uyghur people.
ISHR Working Committee on China
The German-based International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) established a Working Committee on China. WUC Secretary General Dolkun Isa attended the first session which took place on 17 December in Frankfurt.
Annual Meeting of Norway Uyghur Committee (NUC)
The Norway Uyghur Committee (NUC) convened its annual meeting on 17 December in Norwegian capital Oslo. More than 50 people including members of the Norwegian Uyghur Committee and the Uyghurs in and around Oslo attended the meeting and reviewed the annual working report of the NUC presented by the NUC president Mr. Perhat Yaqup. The WUC vice president Semet Abla informed the public about the upcoming 4th General Assembly of the WUC and called them for actively supporting this important political event. 
Commemoration Event in Memory of Isa Yüsuf Alptekin
On 18 December, the East Turkestan Foundation organized a commemoration event in memory of the 16th anniversary of the death of Mr. Isa Yüsuf Alptekin, one of the great Uyghur politicians in recent Uyghur history. More than a 100 people including relatives of Mr. Isa Yüsuf Alptekin, members of the WUC Standing Committee, representatives of East Turkestan organizations in Turkey as well as Turkish civil societies attended the commemoration event. 
Netherlands East Turkestan Uyghur Union Visits Uyghur Asylum Seekers
A group of delegates organized by the Netherlands East Turkestan Uyghur Union (NETUU) visited several centers for asylum seekers in Netherlands on 18 December where dozens of Uyghur asylum seekers are currently living. The NETUU delegation studied the current situation of these asylum seekers and heard their difficulties. The NETUU gave advice on many of their concerns and assured that they will raise the plight of the Uyghur asylum seekers to the relevant Dutch authorities. 

No upcoming events for January 2012.

“The Xinjiang Procedure” by Ethan Gutmann
"Chinese medical authorities admit the lion’s share of transplant organs originate with executions, but no mainland doctors, even in exile, will normally speak of performing such surgery."

On 5 December, the writer and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann published an article entitled "The Xinjiang Procedure" about organ harvesting on Uyghur political prisoners in The Weekly Standard.

Few days later, Congressman Pitts entered "The Xinjiang Procedure" into the Congressional Record.

See also:

Étan gutman: «xitayning shinjangdiki organ tijaritining jeryani» Muxbirimiz irade
RFA, 2011-12-16 

Former Uighur Surgeon Discloses Live Organ Harvesting in China
NTDTV, 20 Dec 2011 

CPJ: “China's jailed Uighurs: Out of sight, not out of mind”
On 8 December  Madeline Earp, CPJ Senior Research Associate published the article “China's jailed Uighurs: Out of sight, not out of mind” on imprisoned Uyghur journalists, blogger and writer.
“Uyghurnomics”: Blog by UHRP Manager
Uyghurnomics is a blog written by Uyghur Human Rights Project manager Henryk Szadziewski. The blog features occasional articles on the development economy of East Turkestan under Chinese government initiatives such as Western Development. Economic policy is one of the key strategies the Chinese state employs in the transformation of East Turkestan's society, as well as to influence the nations of Central Asia. Articles in the blog cover themes such as Uyghur economic marginalization, Chinese government performance and the role of the Central Asian economy. Uyghurnomics frequently examines how a human rights-based approach to development may better serve a grassroots and Uyghur-centered path for economic well-being among the Uyghur people. 

Uyghurs / East Turkestan

The Uyghur People
The Uyghur people are indigenous to East Turkestan [also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China]. For many years, the Chinese government has waged an intense and often brutal campaign to repress all forms of Uyghur dissent, crack down on Uyghurs’ peaceful religious activities and independent expressions of ethnicity, dilute Uyghurs’ culture and identity as a distinct people, and threaten the survival of the Uyghur language.

The authorities have routinely equated Uyghurs’ peaceful political, religious, and cultural activities with the “three evils” – terrorism, separatism and religious extremism – and have couched their persecution of the Uyghurs as efforts to quash these “three evils.” The authorities have also economically marginalized the Uyghurs in East Turkestan through intense and blatant racial discrimination in employment.

The Uyghurs are a Turkic people and have long practiced a moderate, traditional form of Sunni Islam, strongly imbued with the folklore and traditions of a rural, oasis-dwelling population.
East Turkestan
East Turkestan lies in the very heart of Asia. Situated along the fabled ancient Silk Road, it has been a prominent centre of commerce for more than 2000 years. The current territorial size of East Turkestan is 1.82 million square kilometers. The neighboring Chinese province annexed part of the territory as a result of the Chinese communist invasion of 1949.

East Turkestan borders with China and Mongolia to the east, Russia to the north, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the west, and Tibet to the south.

According to latest Chinese census in 2010, the current population of East Turkestan is 21.81 million including 8.75 million ethnic Han Chinese (40,1%) illegal settled in East Turkestan after 1949 (the ethnic Han Chinese numbered 200,000 in 1949). The Uyghurs make up around 10.2 million Uyghurs (according to the 2000 census; the numbers for 2010 have not been published yet) and constitute still the majority of East Turkestan. However, the population shifts more and more in favor of the Han Chinese and make the Uyghurs strangers in their own land. However, Uyghur sources put the real population of Uyghurs around 20 million.
Events of 5 July 2009
The human rights situation of the Uyghur population in East Turkestan has been dire for decades and has even worsened since the July 2009 protest and ethnic unrest in Urumqi, the capital of East Turkestan.

The July 2009 protest began with a peaceful demonstration by Uyghurs in Urumqi that was brutally and lethally suppressed by Chinese security forces. The Uyghurs were protesting against a lack of government action in regard to a deadly attack on Uyghur factory workers in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province in the south of China. The violent and illegal reaction of the Chinese security forces to the peaceful protest led then to ethnic violence and riots between Uyghurs and Han Chinese, during which hundreds of Uyghur and Han Chinese civilians were killed.

According to data published by the Chinese Xinhua news agency, 197 people were killed, but the World Uyghur Congress estimates – based on eyewitness reports - that more than 1000 people died in the riots. However, until today, the exact death toll on both sides is not clear since so far no independent investigation of these events has been undertaken.

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is an international umbrella organization that represents the collective interest of the Uyghur people both in East Turkestan and abroad and promotes Uyghur human rights and a peaceful and non-violent solution based on rule of law for the conflict in East Turkestan. For more information, please visit our website.

WUC´s monthly newsletter provides the latest information on Uyghur related issues and informs about the work and activities of the WUC and its affiliate members. Older editions of the newsletter can be viewed from the web.

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© 2011 World Uyghur Congress    |    Published: 23 December 2011
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