China insider sees revolution brewing

Originally published by Sunday Morning Herald, 27 February 2010

BEIJING: China’s top expert on social unrest has warned that hardline security policies are taking the country to the brink of ”revolutionary turmoil”.

In contrast with the powerful, assertive and united China that is being projected to the outside world, Yu Jianrong said his prediction of looming internal disaster reflected on-the-ground surveys and also the views of Chinese government ministers.

Deepening social fractures were caused by the Communist Party’s obsession with preserving its monopoly on power through ”state violence” and ”ideology”, rather than justice, Professor Yu said.

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Claims UN ignored Uighur deportation warnings

Originally published by ABC News, 26 February 2010

There are claims the United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR) ignored repeated warnings about the imminent forced deportation of 20 Uighur asylum seekers from Cambodia to China last year.

The Cambodian government was condemned around the world when it deported the asylum seekers at gunpoint in December.

Two Australian women – joint Nobel Peace Prize winner Sister Denise Coghlan and Taya Hunt, a legal officer with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) – represented the Uighurs for six months prior to their deportation.

The pair have spoken exclusively to AM.

Ms Hunt provided legal and humanitarian support to the Uighurs and is one of the few people to have close contact with them.

“[They were] very grateful for the assistance we were providing them and generally just a nice, calm group of people,” she said.

“There was a pregnant woman in the group and her beautiful two children.”

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Forcible deportation of Uighur may affect US-Cambodia ties

Originally published by Zee News, 24 February 2010

Washington: Forcible deportation of Uighurs to China by Cambodia would affect its relationship with the United States, the Obama Administration said today.

“We expect governments, including Cambodia, to uphold its international obligations, and this will affect our relationship with Cambodia as well as its international standing,” Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley said.

“We obviously expressed our disappointment and we are deeply disturbed that the Cambodian Government, in violation of its international obligations, forcibly removed 20 Uighur asylum seekers to China in December without the benefit of a credible process for determining their refugee status,” Crowley told reporters here.

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Chinese censors tormented by mythical animal

Originally published by Times Online, 21 February 2010

A new mythical animal is on the prowl on the Chinese internet.

The Yake lizard is the latest creation of China’s nimble and imaginative netizens as a way to poke fun at the authorities and their bid to corral online debate and to block access to sites the censors deem inappropriate.

Internet satirists were inspired by the language used by a Uighur artist performing on the Spring Festival Gala show, the annual Chinese New Year’s Eve jamboree created and broadcast by China Central Television to entertain viewers gathered at home for the most important festival of the year. Watched by the largest television audience on Earth, it is an opportunity for wholesome family entertainment peppered with propaganda.

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Uighurs at Guantanamo Urge Court to Hear Case

Originally published by New York Times, 19 February 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — The lead lawyer for Chinese Muslims confined at Guantanamo Bay says the Obama administration is acting a lot like its predecessor by trying to prevent Supreme Court review of controversial detention policies in the fight against terrorism.

The court should reject the administration’s ”ploy” and hear the Chinese Muslims’ case as scheduled on March 23, Boston-based attorney Sabin Willett wrote Friday in a letter to the court. The Chinese Muslims, or Uighurs (pronounced WEE’-gurs), argue that courts have the authority to release the detainees into the United States.

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Getting It Right on China

Originally published by Human Rights Watch, 18 February 2010

“At the State Department…every week is Human Rights Week.”

That’s what US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an audience at Georgetown University in Washington in December. Clinton’s speech, on the heels of President Obama’s lofty rhetoric at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, sought to clarify the administration’s approach to human rights. Clinton laced the speech with tangible accomplishments, ranging from the US’s willingness to rejoin the UN Human Rights Council to pushing for international condemnation of rape as a weapon of war.

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Silence an ominous sign for Uighur activist

Originally published by Financial Times, 17 February 2010

When someone rings Ilham Tohti’s doorbell these days, he gets nervous.

It has been more than a month since state security agents last got in touch, and Mr Tohti, an economics professor at Minzu University in Beijing and prominent representative of China’s Uighur minority, doesn’t quite know what to make of that silence.

As an advocate of equal treatment for his people and a critic of failed government policy in Xinjiang, the Uighur homeland that forms China’s northwest frontier, the professor has been under constant watch for years.

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Sticky Uighur decision plays into tricky U.S. constitutional battle

Originally published by World Radio Switzerland, 17 February 2010

Switzerland’s decision to allow the transfer of two brothers being held at Guantanamo Bay may help the Obama administration to avoid a landmark Supreme Court case. Arkin Mahmud and Bahtiyar Mahnut are Uighur Muslims from China and their cases are at the center of a tricky constitutional battle in Washington.

The argument is over the government’s power to hold inmates indefinitely—a precedent set during the Bush administration. The Swiss decision now means that all the detainees in the Supreme Court case have been cleared for release in another country. From Washington, Daniel Ryntjes reports:

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