Locke vows to raise rights concerns with China

Originally published by AFP, 26 May 2011

By Shaun Tandon

WASHINGTON — Gary Locke, the nominee to be the next US ambassador to China, promised Thursday he would be a forceful advocate for human rights while seeking broad cooperation with Beijing.

Locke, the commerce secretary who would be the first Chinese-American ambassador to Beijing, told his Senate confirmation hearing that he had “vigorous disagreement” with China over its crackdown on dissent.

“The protection and the promotion of liberty and freedom are fundamental tenets of US foreign policy, and if confirmed, I will clearly and firmly advocate for upholding universal rights in China,” Locke said.

In more detailed prepared remarks, Locke pointed to leading Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whose social commentary had been largely tolerated but who was seized as Beijing mounts its most sweeping crackdown on dissent in years.

“The detention of artist and activist Ai Weiwei raises many issues about China’s commitment to building a society based on the rule of law,” Locke wrote, pledging to raise individual cases at the highest levels in China.

Locke, pointing to his work in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, said he would also fight for US businesses by pressing for protection of intellectual property and for the right of foreign firms to compete for government contracts.

Under questioning by senators, Locke said he would put a top priority on non-proliferation and that Beijing “can, definitely, and must do more” to rein in North Korea — whose reclusive leader Kim Jong-Il just visited China.

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Unrest in China after Mongol herder’s death: group

Originally published by AFP,25 May 2011

 BEIJING — Hundreds of ethnic Mongols have protested in China this week over the killing of a shepherd that has sparked online calls for even bigger future demonstrations, human rights organisations have said.

The unrest in China’s Inner Mongolia region was sparked by the May 10 death of a herder named Mergen, who was run over by a truck driven by an ethnic Han Chinese, the US-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre said.

Mergen and other herders had been attempting to block a caravan of coal-hauling trucks in the Xilingol area, angered by an influx of miners that was displacing ethnic Mongol herders, destroying grazing lands and killing livestock, it said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Fury over the incident caused hundreds of Mongols to take to the streets in protest in the Right Ujumchin Banner in Xilingol on Monday, it said, quoting sources in the region.

A banner is a traditional Mongol land division and is equivalent to a county.

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Hit-and-run sparks Mongolian protest against China

Published The Financial Times, May 25 2011 

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing

 Thousands of ethnic Mongolians have protested this week outside government offices in the northern Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, in a rare show of defiance in the normally peaceful region.

About 2,000 Mongolian students in the remote city of Xilinhot joined the peaceful protest on Wednesday, according to a US-based human rights group, photographs and accounts posted on the internet. The protest was sparked by allegations that a Chinese truck driver intentionally ran over a Mongolian herder on May 10, killing him.

The case, and perceived lack of action from the Chinese government, has inflamed the local Mongolian population.

Unlike Tibetans and Uighurs, who rioted en masse in 2008 and 2009 respectively, Mongolians rarely express dissent towards Chinese rule. In recent weeks, authorities have detained hundreds of Tibetan monks and killed two protesters in western Sichuan province, according to human rights groups.

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Worldcrunch, 24 May 2011
By Harold Thibualt

Situated at the heart of the Xinjiang region, Karamay is rich in oil and increasingly vital to China’s energy strategy. The ‘black gold’ has fueled local development, and transformed this sleepy backwater. But ethnic splits could create conflict.

KARAMAY (Xinjiang) – Standing in front of a stopped truck in the desert, two workers in red overalls are pumping water out of an oil slick before installing a new derrick. The landscape is moonlike. Off on the horizon is the city of Karamay, a bona fide boomtown in northwestern China that has multiplied in only a few short years.

“Here everyone works either directly for oil, or in a service connected to it,” one of the workers says. Eight or 10 years ago, Karamay, at the heart of the autonomous region of Xinjiang, was a faceless stop on the road to nowhere. Now, it is difficult to find a bank, hotel, or bus that doesn’t bear the Petrochina logo. The company’s local headquarters lies proudly at the entrance of the city, and is taller than that of the Communist Party. Between 85% and 90% of the city’s economy is directly linked to black gold.

Here and there, dripping oil forms puddles on the ground. The story goes that back in the 1940s, an old Uighur man named Salimuhu discovered the mysterious “black oil” that would give this city its name as well as provide heat and light. He hastened to transport the liquid on the back of a donkey. The country’s first oil well—managed directly by Beijing—was opened 10 years later.

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Chinese forces detain 300 Tibetan monks for a month – sources

Reuters, 23 May 2011

(Reuters) – Security forces have detained about 300 Tibetan monks from a monastery in southwestern China for a month amid a crackdown sparked by a monk’s self-immolation, two exiled Tibetans and a prominent writer said, citing sources there.

Tension in Aba prefecture, a heavily ethnic Tibetan part of Sichuan province, have risen to their highest levels since protests turned violent in March 2008, ahead of the Beijing Olympics, and were put down by police and paramilitary units.

The monks from Aba’s Kirti monastery, home to about 2,500 monks, were taken into custody on April 21 on military trucks, according to two exiled monks and a writer, who said their information was based on separate accounts from witnesses who live in Aba.

The detentions come as China’s ruling Communist Party celebrates 60 years since the “peaceful liberation” of Tibet, and underscores the government’s struggle to win the hearts and minds of Tibetan people across the country.

Kirti Rinpoche, the head of the Kirti monastery, told Reuters by telephone that it was the first time that Chinese security forces had seized such a large number of monks at a time, and that he had no information on their whereabouts.

“The situation is getting more and more repressive,” said Kirti Rinpoche, who is based in India’s Dharamsala, the seat of the exiled Tibetan government, and receives his information through a network of contacts inside Aba.

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Security Tight Ahead of June 4

Originally published by RFA, 23 May 2011

By Qiao Long

Chinese authorities prepare to quash any efforts to remember the victims of the Tiananmen crackdown.


A paramilitary guard takes position on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, March 10, 2011.


Authorities in the Chinese capital have boosted security ahead of the anniversary of a 1989 military crackdown on student-led pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Dissidents and rights activists said Beijing police have begun a fresh round of surveillance and summonses for questioning, known as “drinking tea,” this week.

“Things have been pretty tense here the past couple of days,” said a prominent Beijing-based activist who declined to be named. “Here in Beijing, the anniversary of June 4 is almost upon us.”

He said he had received a phone call from police on Monday calling him for “a chat.”

“There are a lot of plainclothes police … out on the streets. Before it was just on Tiananmen Square, but now they have them at the intersections too, and they have even started extending out to the suburbs.”

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China to speed up delivery of 50 fighter jets to Pakistan

Reuters,20 May 2011
By Michael Martina

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has agreed to speed up the delivery of 50 fighter jets to Pakistan, a Pakistani government minister confirmed on Friday, as Islamabad tries to deepen ties with Beijing as an alternative to increasingly fragile relations with the United States.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has been holding talks with Chinese leaders during a visit that comes as ties with the U.S. have faltered after the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan this month.

Pakistan’s Defense Minister Ahmad Mukhtar told media that his country was aiming to receive “50 aircraft in six months” from China at between $20 million and $25 million per aircraft.

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17th UN Human Rights Council: Joint NRPTT and WUC Written Statement on 5 July 2009 Events

WUC, 20 May 2011

The Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT), in collaboration with the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), submitted a written statement entitled “Second anniversary of the 5 July 2009 events in Urumqi, regional capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), People’s Republic of China: Two years of impunity” (A/HRC/17/NGO/13) to the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council under item 4 (“Human Rights situations that require the attention of the Council”).

In the statement, the NRPTT expressed its deep concerns that nearly two years after the tragic 5 July 2009 events of Urumqi, the regional capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), China, no independent investigation into the events had been allowed by the Chinese authorities and that the crackdown on Uyghur culture, identity, freedom of expression, and religion, as well as the economic discrimination of the Uyghurs continue.

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