Newsletter No. 18
January 2012    
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TOP STORY
  WUC and Uyghur Sources Dispute Official Version of Violent Incident in Guma
FEATURED ARTICLES
  Sweden Deports Uyghurs to China
  UNPO General Secretary States New Year Needs Resolve on Uyghur Rights
MEDIA WORK
  Statements by WUC Spokesman on New Crackdown on Uyghurs
  WUC Youtube Cannel
PAST EVENTS
   Head of the WUC's Committee for Religion at Islamic Congress
   5th East Turkestan Football Championship
   Dutch Uyghurs Meet Parliament Member
  Uyghur Leader Meet Turkish Ministers
  Uyghurs in the US Celebrate New Year
  Uyghur Action in Tokyo
 
WUC President at NED Event “Honoring Vaclav Havel”
  New Uyghur Action on the Occasion of China Cultural Year in Turkey
  18th General Assembly of the East Turkestan Union in Europe (ETUE)
  Round Table Discussion at German Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  WUC Standing Committee Meeting
  China´s Silk Route - The Destruction of an Ancient Culture
UPCOMING EVENTS
  Joint UNPO-WUC Conference on Nuclear Testing in East Turkestan
  19th Session UN Human Rights Council
HIGHLIGHTED MEDIA ARTICLES AND REPORTS ON UYGHUR RELATED ISSUES
  Local Officials in East Turkestan Continue Curbs Over Religious Practice
  2011: The Uyghur Human Rights Year in Review
  Invisible walls in Xinjiang (Book Review)
  China's borderlands (Book Review)
  10th Anniversary Guantánamo
  MORE MEDIA ARTICLES

TOP STORY
WUC and Uyghur Sources Dispute Official Version of Violent Incident in Guma / Hotan Prefecture
WUC, 24 January 2012

According to the state-controlled Xinhua news agency, on 28 December 2011 seven Uyghurs were shot dead in an alleged hostage rescue in Guma (Chinese: Pishan) county, Hotan Prefecture, East Turkestan, four others were wounded and another four arrested. The Chinese authorities claimed a group of “violent terrorists” were responsible for the kidnapping of two people and immediately linked the kidnapping – in typical fashion – to “a surge in religious extremism.” In a 29 December 2011 press release, the WUC called on the international community to view the official account with caution.

One day later, on 30 December, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that at least two of seven ethnic Uyghurs killed in a confrontation with police were women, and that children aged seven to 17 years old were among those detained following the violence. The two women killed were 29-year-old Burabiye Anduqadir and Buzohre Seydehmet, 27 years old. At the time of reporting, their bodies were being held by the county Public Security Bureau. Two others of the dead reportedly are Ablikim Abduqadir, 40, and Hebibulla Abduqadir, 26. According to the same RFA report, the group of seven had been attempting to flee to a foreign country due to religious repression in China when they were confronted by police. The Chinese government routinely conflates Uighur cultural and religious practice with “terrorism” through the concept of the “three forces”, i.e. “terrorism, separatism and religious extremism”.

On 2 January 2012, a new RFA report five ethnic Uyghur children were missing since the incident. At least one of the children, Memet Ablikim, 9 years old, is a student at the only elementary school in Mukula village in the southern city of Hotan, where the violence occurred. Some sources indicated that he was injured by a bullet, which hit him accidentally in the incident. When the director of the school went to meet his parents or relatives, this was not possible, because all of them have been detained over investigations into the incident.

On 6 January 2012, Amnesty International (AI) called on China in a press release that the government must reveal the whereabouts of five Uyghur children detained and some of the injured after the deadly clash in Hotan prefecture. “The Chinese authorities need to shed light on the whereabouts and health of these missing children and immediately provide medical care to those who need it,” said AI in its statement. "China, as a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, is bound by standards regarding the detention of children to ensure that they are only held in detention as a last resort and for the shortest possible length of time.” AI also stated, “the official explanation that people were killed because they ‘resisted arrest’ doesn’t answer how seven people ended up being shot dead, and a number of others injured. Even where suspects have used force against the police, the number of people killed and injured in this incident raises serious questions about whether unnecessary use of lethal force - in violation of UN guidelines - was used. This needs to be explained by the government.”

On 8 January 2012, RFA reported that a six-year-old ethnic Uyghur boy has been missing for 11 days amid speculations he may have been shot when police personnel opened fire against the group of Uyghurs and killed seven of them on 28 December 2011. The Chinese authorities accused the six-years-old of taking part in the standoff and throwing stones at police. Local sources say that the police accidentally killed the six-year-old in the incident and produced a story about how he was throwing stones to cover or excuse their mistake.

The same report reveals the names of another two Uyghurs who were killed in the incident: Abdumijit Seydehmet, 25, and Abliz Seydehmet, 30. All of the killed are from Mukuyla village, and according to one village committee head, at least three of them are siblings – Abdumijit, Buzohre, and Abliz Seydehmet. According to the latest reports, Chinese officials had not turned over the bodies of those killed and freed the children.

The WUC calls on the Chinese authorities to conduct an independent investigation into the events. The WUC also calls upon the Chinese government to adhere to its obligation to respect human rights while countering alleged terrorism, as set forth in the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and international counter-terrorism framework.

See also:
Uyghurs shot to death in Guma County, amid intense state-led repression
UAA, 29 December 2011


FEATURED ARTICLES
Sweden Deports Uyghurs to China
RFA, 06 January 2011

Authorities in Sweden have deported two Muslim ethnic minority Uyghurs to China after their request for political asylum was refused, sparking fears among other Uyghur asylum-seekers that they will also be sent home where they may be persecuted.

Munich-based World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilshat Raxit identified them as Adile Omer, a 25-year-old woman, and Faruh Dilshat, a 23-year-old man. “I don’t know what caused them to flee their homeland, but I know that they had participated in demonstrations held by the Swedish Uyghur community in front of the Chinese embassy in Stockholm. This is enough fodder for the Chinese authorities to punish them severely," Raxit said. He said Omer was deported on Monday while Dilshat was sent back last month.

A fellow Uyghur asylum-seeker identified only as Malik confirmed that Omer was forcibly repatriated after being held in an immigration detention center in Stockholm since Dec. 23. Omer had highlighted her plight to Raxit from a plane before it took off from Stockholm Arlanda airport to Beijing. “She was crying and begging to me to do something immediately to prevent her deportation,” he told RFA. “Maybe, she had used a police phone as they took her to the plane forcibly.” (…) Malik said the deportation of Adile, who is from Xinjiang's capital Urumqi, occurred after a swift appeal hearing."It was very quick. They didn't wait for the court appeal process, and before it was approved, they had already sent her home." Malik claimed Dilshat did not resist the repatriation.

At immediate risk Malik said a number of Uyghurs who had escaped China and arrived together in Sweden in September were now at immediate risk of deportation, in spite of having begun appeals in Swedish courts. He said the asylum-seekers had left China because of fears they would be persecuted in the wake of the July 2009 ethnic violence in Urumqi, which prompted hundreds of arrests and "disappearances," according to overseas rights groups. One woman had gone into hiding, moving house every few days for fear of being sent back to China, he said. (…) He said the Swedish immigration authorities had consistently treated them as if they were Han Chinese citizens, and appeared not to understand that they could face retaliation and further persecution if they returned. (…)

The full article is available here.

UNPO General Secretary States New Year Needs Resolve on Uyghur Rights
UNPO, 13 January 2012

As Chinese New Year approaches, the international community must stand ready to renew its pressure on Beijing, both to uphold the rights of its citizens but also to end the policies that are discriminating and marginalisaing Uyghurs throughout East Turkestan and China.

The reported deaths of seven Uyghurs in Guma County of Hoten prefecture on 28 December 2011 came amid a renewed ‘Strike Hard’ campaign by Chinese authorities that has seen Uyghur activists detained, assaulted, and disappeared with no recourse to justice or compensation.

Those that have presented appeals to the Chinese authorities risk being consigned to ‘reeducation’ camps. In August 2011 seven Uyghurs disappeared, their families learning months later that they had been sentenced to ‘reeducation’ for the staging of a public protest against economic policies that have been impoverishing farmers for years.

As a result many Uyghurs have fled their country to find refuge elsewhere but the decision of authorities such as those in Sweden to repatriate Uyghurs to China sends a worrying signal. Beijing cannot be encouraged to act as it has done - the international community has a responsibility to evaluate Uyghur asylum claims with greater insight and understanding.

The Chinese authorities can no longer use the pretense of a ‘War on Terror’ to intimidate, terrorise, and disallow constitutional rights to its citizens, whoever they may be. The Chinese New Year must be a time when the international community makes clear to Beijing its conviction to protect Uyghur rights in China and around the world.


MEDIA WORK
Statement by WUC Spokesman on New Crackdown on Uyghurs
The spokesperson of the WUC, Dilshat Reshit, condemned in a 26 December 2011 interview with RFA the new crackdown policy by the Chinese government in East Turkestan, which was introduced by the party secretary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Jiang Chunxian in a "Peace-keeping Conference in Xinjiang" on 22 December in Urumqi, the capital of East Turkestan. 
WUC Youtube Cannel
Since January 2012, a collection of WUC and Uyghur related videos are available at WUC´s official Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/WorldUyghurCongres Up to now, around 250 videos in different languages (English, German, Uyghur, French, Turkish and Chinese) have been uploaded to the platform.

PAST EVENTS
Head of the WUC's Committee for Religion at Islamic Congress
The head of WUC's Committee for Religion Turghunjan Alawdun attended the "31th International Islamic Congress" from 24-26 December in Stockholm, Sweden, which was organized by the Islamic Union in Northern Europe.
5th East Turkestan Football Championship
The 5th East Turkestan Football Championship was held from 25-27 December in Adelaide, Australia. Several hundred young Uyghurs from all around Australia participated in this event, which contributed to strengthen the friendship and solidarity among the Uyghur youth communities in Australian. 
Dutch Uyghurs Meet Parliament Member
Together with members of Tibetan and democratic Chinese organizations, delegates from the Netherlands East Turkestan Uyghur Union met on 27 December with Harry van Bommel, member of the Dutch Parliament. The Uyghur delegates spoke about urgent situation Uyghur asylum seekers are facing in Netherlands and appealed to the Dutch parliament to raise concerns on the Uyghur refugee issue.
Uyghur Leader Meet Turkish Ministers
WUC vice president Seyit Tumturk and the head of the Ankara office of the East Turkestan Culture and Solidarity Union Hayrulla Efendigil were received by the Turkish Minister for Education Ömer Dinçer and Turkish Energy Minister Mr. Taner Yildiz on 28 December. The WUC delegation spoke about the recent situation in East Turkestan and Uyghur people, and discussed several relevant issues.
Uyghurs in the US Celebrate New Year
On 23 May 2011, Organized by the Uyghur American Association and the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation, more than 150 Uyghurs from the Washington, DC area celebrated the New Year in Fairfax city on 31 December. WUC president Rebiya Kadeer attended the celebration. 
Uyghur Action in Tokyo
Hoping to raise awareness of the Japanese people towards the Uyghur human rights issue, the members of the Japan Uyghur Committee disseminated hundreds of leaflets, on the occasion of the New Year's Festival in Japan, describing the worsening human rights situation of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan to visitors of the Yasukuni Shrine on 2 January 2012 in Tokyo.
WUC President at NED Event “Honouring Vaclav Havel”
On 6 January, WUC President Rebiya Kadeer participated in a memorial tribute organised by NED, honouring the llfe and work of Vaclav Havel. MS. Kadeer´s speech “Truth and Love Must Prevail” is available here 
New Uyghur Action on the Occasion of China Cultural Year in Turkey
On the occasion of the China Culture Year in Turkey, a number of civil organizations in Turkey organised a variety of events to raise concerns on the worsening human rights situation of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan. Among others, the regional center of the Turkish Nationalist Movement in one of the largest Turkish provinces Sivas organized a conference entitled "East Turkestan under Repression" on 7 January in the Suşehri municipality of the province. WUC vice president Seyit Tumturk attended the event, in which more than 300 people including leaders of several Turkish civil organizations, government officials and journalists, participated and gave an comprehensive report on the situation of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan. He also attended a press conference and answered questions on WUC's attitude towards the China Culture Year in Turkey.
18th General Assembly of the East Turkestan Union in Europe (ETUE)
The 18th General Assembly of the East Turkestan Union in Europe (ETUE) was convened on 8 January in Munich, Germany. More than a hundred Uyghurs from Germany attended this event. The old leadership body of the ETUE presented their working reports for the past two years prior to the began of the election for the new leadership. The ETUE members democratically elected a new leadership body with Mr. Abdujilil Kari as the new president of the organization.  
Round Table Discussion at German Ministry of Foreign Affairs
On 12 January, WUC Vice President Asgar Can took part in a round table discussion in the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the start of the China-Cultural-Year 2012 in Germany. Representatives of the government, NGOs, city councils and others attended the discussion.
WUC Standing Committee Meeting
A Standing Committee Meeting of the WUC has been held from 14-16 January in Munich, Germany. In addition to the members of the WUC Standing Committee living in Germany, WUC president Rebiya Kadeer, Chief Revisor Nurmemet Musabay, WUC vice presidents Seyit Tumturk, Kahraman Hojamberdi and Semet Abla attended this meeting. During the three-day meeting, the WUC Standing Committee discussed several important issues including the upcoming 4th General Assembly of the WUC in Tokyo, Japan, as well organizational issues concerning the current situation in and outside of East Turkestan.
China´s Silk Route - The Destruction of an Ancient Culture
In the frame of the Fernwehfestival („Wanderlust Festival“) that annually takes place in the city of Göttingen, Germany, Ulrich Delius, Asia Director oft he Society for Threatened Peoples (STP, www.gfbv.org) spoke on 22 January 2012 about the destruction of ancient Silk Route cities like Kashgar in China.

UPCOMING EVENTS
Joint UNPO-WUC Conference on Nuclear Testing in East Turkestan
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and the WUC are expecting to hold a joint conference on nuclear testing in East Turkestan on 29 February 2012 in the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Further details on the event will soon be available on the websites of both organisations.
19th Session UN Human Rights Council
From 27 February to 23 March 2012, the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) will take place in Geneva, Switzerland. The WUC is currently lobbying for the inclusion of a mention of the Uyghur human rights situation in the oral and/or written statement of the country delegations or of the NGOs with ECOSOC status. 

HIGHLIGHTED MEDIA ARTICLES AND REPORTS ON UYGHUR RELATED ISSUES
New Local Officials in East Turkestan Continue Curbs Over Religious Practice
On 16 December 2011, the CECC published an analysis of the continuous repression of religious practice in East Turkestan. According to the CECC, controls over religion in East Turkestan remain among the harshest in China, and local governments have reported continuing steps to tighten curbs over religious practice. In recent months, several local governments have reported carrying out measures to prevent women from veiling or wearing other apparel deemed to carry religious connotations and to prevent men from wearing large beards, practices authorities have associated with "backwardness," "extremism," and "illegal religious activities." Some local governments also reported increasing controls over women religious specialists known as büwi. Regionwide, authorities have described continuing steps to target "illegal" religious publications in censorship campaigns.
2011: The Uyghur Human Rights Year in Review
On 6 January 2012, the Huffington Post published an article by Henryk Szadziewski, Manager, Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), in which he analyses the year 2011 in terms of Uyghur human rights. 
Invisible walls in Xinjiang (Book Review)
Michael Rank published a book review of Nick Holdstock´s book „The tree that bleeds: a Uighur town on the edge” on 7 January 2012.
China's borderlands (Book Review)
On 10 January, Amy Reger, researcher at the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) published a book review of Eric Enno Tamm´s “The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road, and the Rise of Modern China”.
10th Anniversary Guantánamo
On the occasion of the sad 10th anniversary of the Guantanamo prison, several articles dealing with the Gitmo Uyghurs appeared in international media:

Freed from Guantanamo, Uighur makes pizzas in Tirana
Tribune, 10 January 2012

The Problem Prisoners
Foreign Policy, 10 January 2012

Free From Repression, But Far From Home
RFERL, 11 January 2012
 
Exchanging One Prison for Another
Der Spiegel, 19 January 2012 


MORE MEDIA ARTICLES
Uyghurs / East Turkestan
Han Students Beat Uyghur Teacher
Radio Free Asia, 23 Dec 2011

Aksu Prefecture: 20+ Detained on Charges of Hoarding Illegal Religious Materials and on Suspicion of Separatism
Radio Free Asia, 27 Dec 2011

Uyghurs Held After House Searches
Radio Free Asia, 27 Dec 2011

Interview with Rebiya Kadeer
ACE, 24 Dec 2011

Trafficking Victim’s Mother Seeks Redress
RFA, 29 December 2011

China Faces Ongoing Tension in Restive Xinjiang
VOA, 6 January 2012 

'Banned' Uighur film for overseas network
The Australian, 10 January 2012

Chinese town threatened by modernization
CNN, 12 January 2012

Unending Plight for Uyghur Petitioners
RFA, 16 January 2012

China’s Modernization Rush: Kashgar At Crossroads – Analysis
Euro Asia Review, 17 January 2012

Società Libera condems the repressive action against Uyghurs in Hotan
Società Libera, 19 January 2012

Hundreds Missing In Riot Aftermath
RFA, 23 January 2012 


ABOUT THE UYGHURS
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.

ABOUT THE WORLD UYGHUR CONGRESS
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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© 2012 World Uyghur Congress    |    Published: 25 January 2012
 
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