Newsletter No. 19
February 2012    
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Uyghur Refugee
Mutellip Mamut Sentenced to Life Imprisonment (Source: RFA)

TOP STORY
  Harsh Prison Terms for Uyghurs Extradited from Cambodia in 2009
FEATURED ARTICLES
  15th Anniversary of the Gulja Massacre
  Increased Police Presence in East Turkestan
MEDIA WORK
  New Section on Extraditions at WUC Homepage
  Article on the Uyghurs at Eurasiática by WUC Project Coordinator
  Letter to Angela Merkel ahead of China Visit
  New Research on Central Asia Places Uyghurs in Regional Context
  WUC Welcomes Amnesty for Kazakh Human Rights Activist
  UAA and UHRP Launch Redesigned Websites
  Op-ed by Rebiya Kadeer on China's Vice President to the US
  UAA Press Release on Xi Jinping visit to the US
  WUC Homepage Now Available in Spanish
PAST EVENTS
   10th Kazakhstan SUUNA´s anniversary
   East Turkestan Foundation in Turkey Meets Turkish Parliament´s Spokesman
   WUC Demonstration in Berlin
  Australian Uyghurs in the Senate
  WUC Secretary General Meets Societá Libera
  EU-China Summit (Beijing)
UPCOMING EVENTS
  Joint UNPO-WUC Conference on Testing in East Turkestan
  19th Session UN Human Rights Council
HIGHLIGHTED MEDIA ARTICLES AND REPORTS ON UYGHUR RELATED ISSUES
  Uyghur Brothers Look To Sue Pakistani Ministry
  Rafto Foundation Worried About Persecution of Uyghurs
  CECC: Status of Uyghur Children in Detention Unknown Following Border Clash
  Op-ed by Human Rights Watch´s China Director
  Uyghur Herdsmen Demand Answers, Compensation

TOP STORY
Harsh Prison Terms for Uyghurs Extradited from Cambodia in 2009
WUC, 20 February 2012

In late January 2012, media reported that several members of the group of Uyghurs extradited from Cambodia to China on 19 December 2009 have been sentenced to harsh prison terms, including life imprisonment, upon their forcible return to China.


Top row: Mutellip Mamut, Nurahmet Kudret and Islam Urayim.
Bottom row: Ilyar Hamut, Musa Muhamad, Helil Abdugheni and Abduqadir Abdugheni (Source: RFA)

As of 20 February 2012, the following information on these individuals is available:
  • Nurahmat Kudret: 35 years old; sentenced to life imprisonment; date oft he trial and charges against him are unknown; Kudret (originally from Gulbagh town from Yarkand County) is imprisoned in Xinjiang Prison No.3, Urumqi.
  • Islam Urayim: 32 years old; sentenced to life imprisonment; date oft he trial and charges against him are unknown; Urayim (originally from Uchturpan County, Aksu Prefecture) is imprisoned in Xinjiang Prison No.1, Urumqi. Islam Urayim was reportedly one of two Uyghur asylum seekers who reported having witnessed security forces killing and beating Uyghur demonstrators on 5 July 2009 in Urumqi. He was one of only four Uyghur asylum seekers who had agreed to be named while still in Cambodia. Urayim told RFA before being deported that Chinese authorities had misrepresented the truth about events on 5 July by covering up news about shootings and killings of Uyghurs, and only publicizing acts of violence committed by Uyghurs.”
  • Mutellip (Mutallip) Mamut: 30 years old; sentenced to life imprisonment; date of the trial and charges against him are unknown.
  • Musa Muhamad (Muhemmed): 25 years old; sentenced to 17 years in prison on 20 October 2011 by the Kashgar Intermediate Court in a closed trial; no information available on the charges against him; Muhamad is serving his sentence in Daheyan (Dahiyen) Prison in Turpan Prefecture.
  • Memettursun Omer (also: Omar Mohamed): His lawyer Tunisa Hesen, whose client Memettursun Omer was given a 20-year sentence, said that she could not divulge what was discussed in the trial. Hesen, 55, who works for a local government department dealing in legal issues, said that her department drafted her court remarks one day before the trial, implying that she was not allowed to represent her client effectively.
  • Helil (Halil) Abdugheni: The lawyer Nasirjan, 32, a lecturer at the Kashgar Pedagogical University and whose client Helil Abdugheni got a 16-year jail sentence, stated he was not allowed to defend Abdugheni in a proper manner.
  • Abduqadir (Abdukadir) Abdugheni: Sentenced to 16 years in prison.
  • Ilyar Hamut: Sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Prison sentences to another eight Uyghurs of the group, but their identity is unknown:
  • One more Uyghur has been sentenced to life in prison
  • Two more were sent to 20 years in jail
  • Another three received 17 years imprisonment
  • Another two received 16-year sentences
The fate of one more Uyghur who was detained after deportation to China is not known. Three other Uyghurs from the deported group — a woman (Shahida Kurban) and two children (Maymuna Abdukadir and Bilal Abdukadir) — were released.

Lawyers of some of the Uyghurs indicated that the trials were conducted without the presence of their immediate families or relatives and that the accused were brought in and taken out of the court with their faces covered. The lawyers themselves were prevented from fully defending their clients. Unlike Hesen and Nasirjan, who were hired by their clients, the Uyghurs who received life sentences had lawyers appointed by the court. Families of the Uyghurs said more than 10 families went to the court to attend the trial but were not allowed to witness the proceedings. At least a part of the trials had taken place on 24 December 2010 and these sentences took effect in September 2011.

According to RFA, they were sentenced on charges related to “splittism, terrorism and illegal travel.” It is the first time that reliable information – although not from governmental sources - about the members of the group of extradited Uyghurs has reached the public. For the last two years, the Chinese government has insistently refused to provide information on the whereabouts and legal status of the people, despite having promised the international community that these Uyghurs would be dealt with transparently upon their return. The extradition, which came after intense pressure and influence by the Chinese authorities, represented a flagrant violation of international human rights treaties, especially the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol (of which Cambodia is a party), as well as international customary law; all of which prohibit the refoulement of individuals to a country where they will face torture or other forms of ill treatment.

See also:

Life In Prison for Asylum Seekers
Radio Free Asia (RFA), 26 January 2012

Two More Uyghurs Get Life Sentences
Radio Free Asia (RFA), 27 January 2012


FEATURED ARTICLES
15th Anniversary of the Gulja Massacre
WUC, 6 February 2012

On 5 February, Uyghur organisations around the world commemorated the 15th anniversary of the Gulja Massacre.

On 5 February 1997, a peaceful demonstration by fifteen to twenty thousand Uyghurs in the city of Gulja (in Chinese: Yining), Ili prefecture in East Turkestan was brutally and lethally suppressed by Chinese security forces. At least 100 Uyghurs were killed and hundreds were injured. Approximately 4,000 Uyghurs were arrested during and in the aftermath of the demonstration. Many remain disappeared today and are probably either dead or in prison. According to Amnesty International, more than 200 Uyghurs were sentenced to death in unfair trials for their alleged involvement in the unrest and then executed. About 90 Uyghurs were sentenced to long prison terms. To date, 15 years after the massacre, the security forces who killed so many Uyghur demonstrators on 5 February 1997 and the government officials who ordered them to do so still have not been held accountable. The Chinese government still refuses to allow an independent investigation of the events or to publish the actual number of victims.

Demonstrations and protest actions were held in the following cities:

In Washington DC, the Uyghur American Association and the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation jointly organized a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy on 3 February.

The East Turkestan Union in Europe organized a demonstration on 5 February in Munich, Germany, to commemorate the victims.

Organized by the Uyghur Norway Committee, Uyghurs in Norway staged a demonstration on 5 February in Oslo to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the massacre.

The Uyghur Canadian Association organized a demonstration on 5 February in front of the Chinese embassy in Toronto as well as a protest in front of the Chinese consulate in Vancouver

The Ankara office of the East Turkestan Culture and Solidarity Association held a press conference with journalists of several Turkish media agencies on 5 February.

WUC vice president Seyit Tümturk attended a meeting on East Turkestan on 6 February in Turkish city Konya on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the massacre on peaceful Uyghur demonstrators in Gulja 5 February 1997 by the Chinese authorities.

East Turkestan Australian Association organized a meeting on 5 February in Adelaide on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the massacre. 

The Sweden Uyghur Committee organized a demonstration on 5 February in front of the Chinese embassy in Stockholm.

Organized by the East Turkestan Uyghur Union in Netherlands, Uyghurs in Netherlands staged a demonstration in The Hague on 5 February to commemorate the victims of the massacre.

Increased Police Presence in East Turkestan
The latest chapter of China´s harsh policy against the Uyghur people is an increase of police officers´ number, valued in 8000 units, sent to patrol rural villages in the region. As the state media Xinhua News Agency reported, they will mainly work on “security patrols, management of the migrant population and cracking down on illegal religious activities".

Hou Hanmin, Xinjiang regional spokeswoman stated to the Associated Press, that the recruitment of these additional officers can be included in the “one village, one officer” campaign. She also added that, anyway, their main job would be to improve public services. This decision certainly shows that tensions in the region remain high, especially in the aftermath of 5 July 2009. In the past months, protests and unrests have increased at the same rate with government´s severe measures to repress what they consider as organized terrorist attacks.

Another reason for this huge deployment can be found in the will to create a "harmonious social environment" in the months before the ruling Communist Party´s national congress which will take place this autumn, on the occasion of a leadership transition in Beijing headquarters.

"The arrangements made by the Chinese government in the name of so-called stability are actually a form of political terror which is being deployed against Uyghurs," WUC Spokesman Dilshat Raxit said. Raxit said the increased police presence in Xinjiang was likely to increase tensions in the region, rather than defusing them.

Recently Chinese police forces have also been engaged in controlling unrests in Tibetan areas, after the self-immolation of Buddhist monks, nuns and former clergy. Both Tibetans and Uyghurs have been fighting against Chinese assimilation purpose, which as a consequence, undermine their cultural and religious life and by encouraging Han- Chinese migration in these regions, left them economically and culturally marginalized in their own homelands. So far, the only response to minorities’ calls for preserving their own identity has been the rise of police presence and the restrictions to religious practices, which as a result, has lead to growing tensions in the areas.

See also:

China boosts police presence in restless Xinjiang
AP, 30 January 2012 

Group Slams Xinjiang 'Terror Tactics
Radio Free Asia, 31 January 2012


MEDIA WORK
New Section on Extraditions at WUC Homepage
Since January 2012, a new section is available on WUC Homepage. It provides information on Uyghur refugees and asylum seekers who have been repatriated back to China. 
Article on the Uyghurs at Eurasiática by WUC Project Coordinator
In January 2012, the digital Spanish magazine "Eurasiática" published an article entitled "Los uigures: un pueblo (casi) olvidado" by WUC Project Coordinator Jana Brandt. The article provides an overview on the human rights violations against the Uyghur people. 
New Research on Central Asia Places Uyghurs in Regional Context
On 17 January 2012, the CQ Press´s Global Researcher published an analysis of China´s and Western countries´ influence over Central Asia stability. China’s influence in Central Asia is having serious consequences for the region’s Uyghur communities, says Jana Brandt of the World Uyghur Congress in comments to the CQ Press’s Global Researcher. In a report assessing the opportunities for democracy to take root in Central Asia the report’s author, Brian Beary, notes that the future remains very mixed for Central Asia and its people. The full article is available here. A summary of the article is available here.
Letter to Angela Merkel ahead of China Visit
At the end of January 2012, the WUC sent a letter to German chancellor Angela Merkel to urge for an inclusion of the Uyghurs´ plight in her conversation with the Chinese counterparts. The WUC highlighted the situation of Uyghur political prisoners, as well as the extraditions of Uyghur refugees and asylum seekers from Asian countries to China. A WUC press release (in German) on Merkel´s visit to China is available here.
WUC Welcomes Amnesty for Kazakh Human Rights Activist
The chief of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights Yevgeny Zhovtis, will be released on 15 February 2012. The announce came from the court of a penal colony of Ust-Kamenogorsk city, where he was serving a four year sentence for a road accident that killed a pedestrian. However the trail hid political reasons and was used to prevent a major critical voice in the country from denouncing violations committed by the Kazakh authorities.“ His amnesty is a positive sign for Kazakhstan, a country where human rights abuses are unfortunately still widespread.” stated Dolkun Isa, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) Secretary General on 6 February in a WUC press release
UAA and UHRP Launch Redesigned Websites
The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and Uyghur American Association (UAA) launched redesigned websites on 10 February. The new websites (www.uhrp.org and www.uyghuramerican.org) feature a focus on the research and activism conducted by UHRP and UAA, and provide readers with the latest news on issues affecting Uyghurs in East Turkestan. On the UHRP website, Internet users will find a new section entitled "UHRP in the News," featuring the writings and activities of UHRP staff. The site also features easier access to UHRP's press releases and comprehensive reports. In addition, the site links to UHRP's weblog, through which UHRP plans to present robust commentary on Uyghur-related issues from Chinese, Uyghur and Western contributors, in addition to staff members. Visitors to the new UAA website will find a new dedicated section to discussion of Uyghur-related issues in the Chinese language. Visitors to this site will also find a new section entitled "Uyghur Books and Films", and a featured video on the main page related to Uyghur culture. Users of both sites can sign up for the UHRP mailing list electronically. Both sites also offer the ability to make online donations.
Op-ed by Rebiya Kadeer on China's Vice President to the US
On 13 February 2012, the Huffington Post published an op-ed by WUC President Rebiya Kadeer entitled “The United States Must Press China's Vice President on the Plight of the Uighur People”. In the article, Ms. Kadeer, urged the US top administration officials to not miss the unique opportunity offered by China´s Vice President´s visit to the United States. Xi Jingping, who will take the helm of the Chinese Communist Party by the end of the year, has also been engaged in the forefront in making pressures on China´s neighboring countries so that they deport Uyghur refugees back to China. According to Ms. Kadeer, as historic defender of human rights, the US can no longer accept China´s contempt of Uyghurs, Tibetans and other minorities´ rights.
UAA Press Release on Xi Jinping visit to the US
On the occasion of the Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping´s visit to the United States on 14 February 2012, the Uyghur American Association (UAA) recommended the U.S. government in a press release to publicly convey concerns over oppression against Uyghurs and other PRC’ (People’ Republic of China) minorities. The US should make clear that the respect for basic human rights, imposed by several international rights conventions to whom China is a party, is a priority for assuring stable and long-term relationships both politically and economically, within the international community. Up to now China has been deaf to western countries pressures regarding human rights violations, as well showed by the severe treatment recently faced by the 20 Uyghurs refugees expatriated back from Cambodia to China. However UAA praises the U.S State Department for raising the urgent question of cultural and religious restrictions imposed on the Uyghurs in Xinjiang in its latest country human rights report as well as for other initiatives which demonstrate their concern on the increasing rights abuses in China. 
WUC Homepage Now Available in Spanish
WUC´s homepage is now available also in Spanish language at the following address: http://www.uyghurcongress.org/es/  

PAST EVENTS
10th Kazakhstan SUUNA´s Anniversary
The Society Union of Uyghur National Association in Kazakhstan celebrated its 10th year of foundation on 25 January in Almaty.
East Turkestan Foundation in Turkey meets Turkish Parliament´s Spokesman
Vice president of the East Turkestan Foundation in Turkey Eser Saka and her companions met the Spokesman of the Parliament of Turkey Cemil Çiçek in the Turkish Parliament on 26 January. While reporting the current situation of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan and the Uyghur Diaspora in Turkey, Ms. Saka appealed the Turkish parliament to raise the Uyghur plight during the China Culture Year 2012 in Turkey. 
WUC Demonstration in Berlin
On 30 January, the Society for Threatened Peoples, Amnesty International and the World Uyghur Congress as well as members of the Tibetans and Falung Gong communities held a joint protest against cultural persecution in China in front of the Music Hall on the Gendarme Market in Berlin, where the 2012 Chinese Culture Year in Germany was being officially launched with a concert.
Australian Uyghurs in the Senate
On 1 February the president of the Uyghur Australian Association Memtimin Ela and his colleges attended a Senate Committee Hearing of Parliament Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade on Australia's human righters dialogues with China and Vietnam.
WUC Secretary General Meets Societá Libera
After the successful 4th edition of the International March for Freedom, held on 22 October 2011 in Berlin, Paris and Rome, some of the organizations which supported it, had a meeting on 4 February in Paris to discuss the organization of the 2012´s edition, scheduled for Saturday 12 October 2012 at 15h. Vincenzo Olita (Società Libera), Maria Perrone (Società Libera), Dolkun Isa (Secretary General of the World Uyghur Congress), Lydia Labertrandie (Tibet 77), M.Armand Clerc, Mlle Helene Cazemag, a representative of the Uyghur Comunity of France, and Tran Nghi (Vietnamese Community) participated in the meeting. Other countries, besides those who have already attended the 2011 march (Italy, France, Germany), agreed to participate in the 2012 edition: Spain (Barcelona) and England (London). The official website: http://marchforfreedom.wordpress.com
EU-China Summit (Beijing)
On 14 February 2012, the fourteenth EU-China Summit took place in Beijing. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission and EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht, represented the EU, while for the People's Republic of China the Prime Minister Wen Jiabao attended. The summit dealt with current issues such as the economic situation in the EU and in China, bilateral cooperation, including people-to-people exchanges, global issues, in particular the G20 and climate change, regional and international issues as well as the new projects on China-EU partnership on sustainable urbanization and the reinforced cooperation on energy. Hernan Van Rompuy declared that China has a huge accountability in safeguarding human rights and in contributing to the international stability. 
Human Rights Watch (HRW) used the opportunity to urge the EU in a letter to raise the dire human rights situation in China with the Chinese counterparts.
Another major signal had come a few days before the summit, on 9 February, when the Italian Chamber of Deputies unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Italian government to initiate its European Union partners in raising the issue of Tibet during the upcoming EU-China Summit.


UPCOMING EVENTS
Joint UNPO-WUC Conference on Nuclear Testing in East Turkestan
László Tőkés MEP, in cooperation with Kristiina Ojuland MEP and Vytautas Landsbergis MEP, will convene a conference, ‘50 Years After Test 596: China’s Nuclear Programme in East Turkestan and Its Impact Today’ at the European Parliament in Brussels on 29 February 2012 in collaboration with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), and the Belgian Uyghur Association. Further details on the event are available here.
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
Uyghur Brothers Look To Sue Pakistani Ministry
On 27 January 2012, Radio Free Asia reported that two Pakistani Uyghurs have applied to Pakistan´s Supreme Court after being placed on a travel ban list as a consequence of an “anti-state” activities´ accusation. Despite the Ministry of Interior´s denial, brothers Omer and Akbar Khan, stated that China exerted pressure on Pakistani authorities, to prevent the two human rights activists from travelling to the U.S. to attend a hearing with the World Uyghur Congress held at the Capitol in Washington. According to them, the state security police offered to drop the accusation in exchange for their official apology at the Chinese embassy. Moreover, on 21 June 2011 the Pakistani´s Ministry of Interior would had acknowledged to have been contacted by the Chinese authorities. The Khan´s brothers had already dealt with Chinese´s interference in April 2010, when the Uyghur language school established by them in Rawalpindi was forced to shut down.
Rafto Foundation Worried About Persecution of Uyghurs
On 31 January, the Norwegian Rafto Foundation expressed its preoccupation on the worrying condition of Uyghur asylum seekers sentenced to long prison terms or simply “disappeared” after their forcible repatriation back to China. Furthermore, Rafto conveyed its concerns about the pressure exerted by China on its neighbouring countries to deport Uyghur refugees. The Foundation requests the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to raise the issue of Uyghurs´ persecution in their talks with the Chinese authorities and urges the Norwegian government to use its influence in order to prevent countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, Pakistan and Kazakhstan from deporting Uyghur asylum seekers back to China. 
CECC: Status of Uyghur Children in Detention Unknown Following Border Clash
On 1 February 2012, the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CEE) published an analysis on the disappearances of Uyghur children following the incident in Guma county (see also WUC´s press release). Here the abstract of the analysis: Five Uyghur children from a county in Hoten, East Turkestan, are in detention, following a December 2011 clash between a group of Uyghurs and security officials. Local sources say the children were part of a group attempting to leave China due to religious persecution, while official Chinese sources describe the group as terrorists travelling to Pakistan for training. According to multiple accounts, a public security officer was stabbed to death after officials confronted the group, and security forces then opened fire. Official sources report four people in the group were killed and four wounded and taken into detention. Local sources say those in detention are five children, at least four of whom range in age from 7 to 17, and that information on their status and health conditions is not known. Security in the area reportedly remains tight as authorities have attempted to restrict the flow of information about the events and detained family members and others in the aftermath of the clash. The news follows other recent incidents that Chinese authorities have described as terrorist attacks, while other sources have reported facts that differ from the official accounts. The full article is available here:
Op-ed by Human Rights Watch´s China Director
The New Year 2012 has begun in the starkest way for Chinese dissidents, as reported in an article published by Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, on 2 February 2012. Since January 2012, several writers, poets and pro-democracy activists have been sentenced to long prison terms on charges of “subversion of state power”. Feared by the possible influence of the “Arab Spring” and concerned on creating a seemingly harmonious social environment before the upcoming leadership transition within the ruling Communist Party, Chinese authorities have recently strengthened their strategy to silence dissidents. However, China is nowadays going through an unprecedented and widespread social unrest. Calls for rights and justice are spreading in the whole country, as showed by the protest of the citizens of Wukan, following the unclear land sales.
Uyghur Herdsmen Demand Answers, Compensation
On 9 February 2012, Radio Free Asia published the witness account of a Uyghur herdsman, Abdurehim Abliz, a representative of the group from Toksun county’s Gholbiyi village whose lands were seized from them five years ago. According to him, 84 Uyghur families were partly owners of the 410,000 mu (67,500 acres) of grazing land which were instead given to Han Chinese businessmen after the launch of the municipal development plan. 

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: 21 February 2012
 
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