SCO Member States Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Prevent Uyghur Activists from Attending Conference in United States

Human Rights in China, 5 May 2011

Human Rights in China (HRIC) is extremely concerned over the recent efforts of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to interfere with the travel of individuals of Uyghur ethnicity to a conference titled “The Future of Uyghur People in East Turkestan.”

Uyghur leaders and activists from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, who planned to travel to Washington, D.C. to attend the conference from May 2 to 8, were reportedly obstructed from leaving their countries by government officials. In Kazakhstan, World Uyghur Congress Vice President Kahriman Ghojamberdi was stopped by customs officials at the airport, who claimed his passport was invalid for travel; and other Uyghur activists were pressured into not attending. In Kyrgyzstan, four Uyghur activists were also prevented from attending the conference; two of them were told that taking this trip would “harm Sino-Kyrgyz relations.”

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China Times: Cross-strait distance on human rights

The Central News Agency, 4 May 2011

In a recent interview with German-based Der Spiegel weekly, President Ma Ying-jeou said human rights is a criteria to measure the distance between Taiwan and mainland China.

Ma’s comment precisely identifies the origin of cross-Taiwan Strait estrangement and the direction that the two sides should work toward. It clearly pinpoints why the two sides often do not see eye to eye on some issues and why the mainland is making such slow progress on winning the trust of Taiwan’s people.

The development of human civilization may take different forms, but freedom, democracy, equality and human rights are gradually becoming universal values that are being pursued by people around the world. After years of stable development, a sufficient groundwork has been laid in the Chinese society for the realization of democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law.

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World Uyghur Congress Strongly Protests Travel Refusal for Uyghur Exile Leaders from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Press Release – For immediate release
03 May 2011
Contact:  World Uyghur Congress
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) strongly protests authorities’ actions to prevent five Uyghur exile leaders from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan from participating in an international conference in Washington, DC.  The Uyghur leaders planned to attend the international conference ”The Future of the Uyghurs in East Turkestan”, held 2 – 8 May 2011, which is co-sponsored by Freedom House, WUC, the Uyghur American Association (UAA) and the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation (IUHRDF).

In Kazakhstan, airport authorities blocked WUC Vice President Kahriman Ghojamberdi from getting on the plane. Ghojamberdi was stopped by customs officials at the Almaty airport on Sunday and told that his passport was not valid for travel. Ghojamberdi holds both a valid passport and a valid U.S. visa, but when he handed his passport to the customs officer, he returned the passport five minutes later, saying that Ghojamberdi will not be allowed to travel with this passport, because two pages were “ripped out”.  However, the pages had been missing from his passport earlier and he had used the same passport for several trips to Europe and the U.S.

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Memories of Kashgar and shopping

Today’s Zaman, 3 May 2011

The first time I visited Kashgar in 1982 you only saw the rare car that belonged to a Chinese government official. There were no motorbikes and no bicycles either — these came within the next few years.

It was almost impossible to find printed newspapers or books. Foreigners loaned these to each other. Scenes that still stick in my mind from my visits back then are things such as scribes sitting cross-legged on the floor and who copied manuscripts in neat Arabic script and people who carried water containers, carrying their heavy load in a sheep or goat skin. Even back then the contrast in lifestyle between Kashgar and Turkey was great. In Turkey, you saw a man who sat outside the government office on a small stool in a suit with an old typewriter ready to type your dilekçe (request form) and men carrying large bottles of water in plastic bottles on their backs.

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China’s Drinking Water Polluted

Radio Free Asia, 3 May 2011

An expert blames official corruption and failure to implement ‘sound policies and good laws.’

Around 90 percent of the water table under China’s major cities is polluted to some extent, with residents of the worst-affected areas forced to buy drinking water, according to a recent official report.

And subterranean water reserves in nearly one-half of China’s towns and cities fall short of national safety standards for drinking water, the report says.

This means that the drinking water supply for around 190 million people has excessive pollution levels, according to a joint strategic report on the environment published by China’s State Environmental Protection Agency and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

“China’s aquifers are over-exploited and seriously polluted,” the report said. “Around 54 percent of the water table in flat regions of China does not meet standards for drinking water.”

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Uyghurs Say Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Pressuring Them on China’s Orders, 3 May 2011
By Joshua Kucera

Uyghur activists in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have been forbidden from traveling to the U.S. for a conference, and they say it’s as a result of pressure from China and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

One of the activists in Kazakhstan, Kahriman Ghojamberdi, told Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur service that customs officials at the airport in Almaty surreptitiously ripped out pages in his passport, and then told him that his passport was invalid for travel:

“Obviously, it is a slander to block me from the conference by orders from China. The Central Asian countries are acting as one of the provinces of China since the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was established,” Ghojamberdi said.

Four activists from Kyrgyzstan apparently had the same thing happen, and Ghojamberdi said several other Uyghurs in Kazakhstan were harassed by police and intimidated into not going to the conference:

“In the past 30 days most of my friends who received invitations from Washington to attend the congress were ‘investigated’ by Kazakh police and ‘persuaded’ not to attend the conference.”

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The Silencing of China’s Human Rights Lawyers

The Epoch Times, 3 May 2011
By John Yang

Since the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, the Chinese regime has been in extreme fear of a possible Jasmine Revolution in China. China’s human rights lawyers have become the authorities’ primary targets of crackdown. A large number of outspoken human rights lawyers have been disappeared without any explanation.

Following two days of human rights talks in Beijing between China and the U.S., that included the slew of forced disappearances of human rights lawyers, human rights attorney Teng Biao, who had disappeared for 70 days, was released on April 29.

On the same day, however, Li Fangping, another human rights attorney, was taken away. Li is known for his anti-discrimination advocacy. He has fought for the rights of patients infected with Hepatitis B, AIDS, and leukemia, and other disadvantaged groups.

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World Press Freedom Day: WUC Condemns Ongoing Violation of Uyghurs´ Freedom of Expression

Press Release – For immediate release
02 May 2011
Contact:  World Uyghur Congress
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, celebrated annually on 3 May, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) condemns the ongoing violation of the right to freedom of expression of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan and draws the attention of the international community to the fate of imprisoned Uyghur media workers.

China is currently spearheading the list of imprisoned journalists worldwide with at least 34 jailed journalists on 1 December 2010, according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Reporters Without Borders (RSF) considers China one of world´s top violators of Internet freedom, highlighting that China´s ‘Great Firewall’ is the world’s most consummate censorship system.

Internet users in East Turkestan are not only subject to filtering by the ’Great Firewall’, which blocks access to websites and content regarded as subversive by the authorities (the list of forbidden keywords and terms include “Rebiya Kadeer”, “World Uyghur Congress”, “Uyghur Human Rights Project”, and “East Turkestan”). But Chinese authorities are especially cracking down and jailing Uyghur and Tibetan journalists for exercising their right of freedom of expression guaranteed by Chinese constitution. Limits to Uyghur freedom of speech have significantly increased since the tragic July 2009 events in Urumqi making 2010 an especially black year for Uyghur media workers. Many Uyghur journalists, blogger and website staffs were sentenced to long prison terms in closed and unfair trials, among them:

  • Nureli (Webmaster of the Uyghur website Salkin)
    Sentence: 3 years Charged with: Endangering State Security
  • Dilshat Perhat (Webmaster and owner  of the Uyghur website Diyarim)
    Sentence: 5 years Charged with: Endangering State Security
  • Tursunjan Hezim (manager of Uyghur website Orkhun)
    Sentence: 7 years Charges unknown
  • Nijat Azat (Webmaster of the Uyghur website Shabnam)
    Sentence: 10 years Charged with: Endangering State Security
  • Gheyret Niyaz (Webmaster and administrator of the Uyghur website Uyghur Online)
    Sentence: 15 years Charged with: Endangering State Security
  • Gulmire Imin (staff of the of the Uyghur website Salkin)
    Sentence: Life imprisonment Charged with: Instigating the July 2009 riots, leaking state secrets, and organizing an illegal demonstration
  • Memetjan Abdulla (Manager of the Uyghur website Salkin)
    Sentence: Life imprisonment Charged with: Helping to instigate deadly ethnic rioting in Urumqi in July 2009
  • Other volunteer website staff who had been reportedly detained after the July 2009 events include: Muhemmet, Obulkasim, Muztagh, Lukchek, Yanchukchi, Heyrinsa, Yalnur, Erkin. However, their current legal status and whereabouts remain unknown.
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