After Wang Lequan’s departure from East Turkestan, flawed policies remain

27 Apr 2010 | Press Releases 

 The Uyghur American Association’s and Uyghur Human Rights Project’s press releases  

Contact: Uyghur American Association +1 (202) 349 1496


On April 24, Chinese state media announced that 57-year-old Zhang Chunxian, formerly the Communist Party Secretary of Hunan Province, had been appointed to the post of Party Secretary for the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), replacing 65-year-old Wang Lequan, who has been made deputy secretary of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee. The Uyghur American Association (UAA) believes that while Wang’s removal from East Turkestan may be construed as a positive step toward creating genuine peace and stability in the region, without the corresponding removal of Wang’s heavy-handed policies, Uyghurs will not benefit from the new development programs planned for East Turkestan, and tensions in the region will continue to worsen.

 The change in leadership was announced amid decisions by the Politbureau to accelerate economic and social development in East Turkestan, and followed similar pronouncements made by Party leaders at the March 2010 meeting of the National People’s Congress. But plans for development were accompanied by plans to spend 2.89 billion yuan on maintaining law and order in East Turkestan, an 87.9% increase from 2009.

 Wang, a long time protégé of president Hu Jintao whose 15-year stint in the top XUAR post exceeded the usual ten-year tenure of provincial party secretaries, ruled the region with an iron fist, and presided over a period of extreme repression for Uyghurs. Wang oversaw a violent crackdown on peaceful Uyghur protestors on July 5, 2009 in the regional capital of Urumchi, and a prolonged crackdown on the region that saw an unprecedented deployment of security forces, mass arrests and “enforced disappearances” of Uyghur men, politicized trials and executions of July 5 defendants, and stepped-up ideological campaigns aimed at stamping out the “three evil forces”.

 Incoming Xinjiang Party Secretary Zhang Chunxian, who holds degrees in engineering and management, has been popular among Chinese journalists for his willingness to interact with them. According to state media, Zhang was known as the “Internet Secretary” in Hunan, because he valued public opinion online. A more liberal attitude toward the flow of communications could prove crucial to the re-opening of full Internet access in East Turkestan, which has remained partially closed off after being completely shut down in the wake of the July 2009 unrest. UAA urges Zhang to remain consistent in his liberal communications policies after assuming his new leadership role, and to move media openness in East Turkestan beyond rhetoric into reality.

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Bavaria rebuffs China over Uighur ‘terrorists’

Originally published by The Local, 29 Apr 2010

Bavaria has knocked back a demand from China to list a group representing the Uighur ethnic minority – which has a violent separatist movement in China – as a terrorist organisation.

The demand for Germany to act against the World Uighur Congress was made during Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer’s visit to Beijing for political talks with Chinese leaders.

“There is no reason to think that organisations active in Germany, in particular the World Uighur Congress, are pursuing extremist and therefore terrorist aims, or are supporting violent efforts in China,” the state’s Interior Ministry said in a statement to daily Passauer Neue Presse on Thursday.

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US defense of global religious freedom wanes under Obama, panel says

Originally published by The Christian Science Monitor, 29 Apr 2010

By Howard LaFranchi

 The Obama administration has been criticized since it took office for putting realist foreign-policy goals ahead of more idealistic principles such as democracy and human rights. Now a bipartisan national commission finds President Obama wanting when it comes to defending and promoting global religious freedom, as well.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) used the occasion of its annual report unveiled Thursday to question the Obama administration’s commitment to worldwide religious freedom. This year’s report – which named 13 countries including China, Iraq, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia as serious violators of religious freedom – had stinging words for the US government, saying the place for religious freedom in US foreign policy “seems to shrink year after year for the White House and the State Department.”

The USCIRF was created by Congress in 1998 as part of a broader effort to require the government to include religious freedom in its foreign-policy goals. One feature of the 1998 legislation was creation of an ambassador-at-large for religious freedom – a post Obama has yet to fill, as the commission annual report notes.

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Chinese Leaders Revive Marxist Orthodoxy

Originally published by: China Brief Volume: 10 Issue: 9, 29 April  2010

By Willy Lam

 Two unusual developments in elite Chinese politics have observers wondering if the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is moving toward political reform and changes in its policy toward ethnic minorities. On April 15, Premier Wen Jiabao published an article in the People’s Daily—the Party’s mouthpiece—that heaped accolades on the late party chief Hu Yaobang, who was sacked by patriarch Deng Xiaoping in 1987 for failing to deal harshly with free-thinking intellectuals. On top of that, the hard-line “Emperor of Xinjiang,” Wang Lequan, was replaced last weekend as party secretary of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region (XAR) by Hunan Party boss Zhang Chunxian, who is deemed a moderate. While noteworthy, these portents of possible liberalization, however, have been counter-balanced by potent flare-ups of orthodoxy at the party-ideology level. Senior cadres and theoreticians have been called upon to uphold the mantra of Chinese-style Marxism as the be-all and end-all of politics. Moreover, instead of relying on political reforms to defuse socio-political contradictions, the CCP leadership is devoting unprecedented resources to boosting its security and control apparatus.

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Uyghur Scholar Slams Exit Ban

Original published RFA,28 Apr 2010

By Mihray Abdilim

HONG KONG—An ethnic Uyghur scholar based in Beijing has lashed out in an open letter and an interview at Chinese authorities for preventing him from traveling to Turkey to deliver a lecture.

Ilham Tohti, an outspoken economist who has often clashed openly with Chinese authorities, accused Beijing of operating “in flagrant violation of the law to maintain ‘social order.’”

But by eroding what is fair and just, Chinese authorities are causing greater harm to the country’s social fabric, he said in the letter, published on his Web site,, which is blocked inside China.

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Activists campaign for jailed Chinese Christian

Article Link,28 April 2010

 Rights groups in London are stepping up their campaign on behalf of the jailed Chinese Christian Alimujiang Yimiti following the rejection in March of his appeal against a 15-year prison sentence.

The US group ChinaAid is organizing a worldwide petition which it hopes will attract a million signatures to put pressure on the Chinese government for the release of Alimujiang, a Uyghur from Xinjiang province who converted to Christianity in 1995.

He was detained in January 2008 and sentenced late last year for allegedly providing state secrets to overseas organizations. His lawyer, Li Dunyong, denies the charge and says his “offence” was talking to Christians from the US. His wife has not been allowed to visit him in prison and he has reportedly been beaten.

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Secrets Law To Apply Online

Originally published by RFA,28 Apr 2010

By Xi Wang and Bat Zimuk

HONG KONG—Chinese lawmakers are drafting a new state secrets law that will, if passed, require Internet service providers to release information about anyone who uses their networks to leak sensitive material.

“They want to use the this law to force telecommunications and Internet companies to cooperate with the Chinese authorities in exposing the identities of people leaking state secrets,” said Vincent Brossel of the Paris-based press freedom group, Reporters Without Borders.

The proposed new law will eventually replace the current State Secrets Law, which took effect May 1, 1989.

The law is largely being updated to cater to controls of information online, and will affect netizens, Internet service providers, and cybercafes across the country, which will be required to report anyone found to be leaking a “state secret” online.

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Chinese Spying in the United States

Originally published by The New American, 27 April 2010

By Alex Newman    

A secret FBI videotape showing the transfer of classified military documents to a communist Chinese agent was released in February to the world, providing a brief peek at the shadowy world of espionage against America. Pentagon analyst Gregg Bergersen with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency is shown receiving a wad of bills and telling People’s Republic of China spy Tai Shen Kuo that he’s “very reticent” to let him have the information “because it’s all classified.”

The documents included sensitive material about weapons sales to Taiwan — a U.S. ally, which the communist regime considers a breakaway province to be conquered eventually — and details of a communications system. Bergersen told Kuo: “You can take all the notes you want … but if it ever fell into the wrong hands … then I would be fired for sure. I’d go to jail because I violated all the rules.” He was eventually convicted and sentenced to five years, while Kuo received a 15-year sentence. The investigation also identified other sources who were providing secrets about American space and naval technology to the PRC.

In February, another Chinese spy was sentenced to 15 years in jail for stealing sensitive secrets from his former employers — Boeing and Rockwell International — and passing them to the communist regime. Engineer Dongfan “Greg” Chung reportedly gave up trade secrets about American space shuttles, military aircraft, and even the Delta IV rocket. Though Chung was 73 years old, the judge said he handed out the possible life sentence as a message to the Chinese government: “Stop sending your spies here.”

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