Uighur refugees plead to leave Pacific island

Originally published by AFP, 14 June 2010

By Bernadette Carreon  

KOROR — A group of former Guantanamo detainees from a Chinese Muslim ethnic minority have pleaded for a permanent home seven months after being given temporary refuge in the Pacific nation of Palau.

 “We are asking President Johnson Toribiong to help us leave Palau. Help us, we need to go out, we hope he will help us,” said Adel Noori, one of the six Uighur men from China’s remote northwestern region of Xinjiang.

 They were transferred to Koror, the capital of the tropical island group, from the US prison in November but there is no Uighur community in Palau and the men — some of whom have married — are keen to move to Australia.

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Akan datang: A ScreenS’pore dilemma

Upcoming local film fest could showcase country’s openness to new ideas, or highlight its restrictions
 
Originally published by Todayoline, 15June 2010
By Richard Hartung
 
 
At the film festival in Cannes last month, the Media Development Authority (MDA) announced the launch of Screen-Singapore. The aim of the film festival, said the MDA, is to become “the market and launch platform for international film releases in Asia and a platform for Asian content to be marketed to the world” as well as the venue for Hollywood studios “to showcase their summer product in the fastest-growing sector in the world”.

Attractive as it may sound, the film festival could present a major conundrum. Allowing in controversial films in as part of the festival could result in both domestic and international objections, while prohibiting these films could reinforce the strictness of controls and show that Singapore is a location where creative media should not set up shop.

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Kyrgyz ethnic clashes spread, Russia sends troops

Originally published by Reuters,13 June 2010
By Hulkar Isamova

 

OSH, Kyrgyzstan (Reuters) – Russia sent at least 150 paratroopers to Kyrgyzstan on Sunday to protect its military facilities as ethnic clashes spread in the Central Asian state, bringing the death toll from days of fighting to 113.

Ethnic Uzbeks in a besieged neighborhood of Kyrgyzstan’s second city Osh said gangs were carrying out “genocide,” burning residents out of their homes and shooting them as they fled. Witnesses saw bodies lying on the streets.

“God help us! They are killing Uzbeks like animals. Almost the whole city is in flames,” Dilmurad Ishanov, an ethnic Uzbek human rights worker, told Reuters by telephone from Osh.

Rights activists said the authorities were failing to stop the violence, and occasionally joining in.

“Residents are calling us and saying soldiers are firing at them. There’s an order to shoot the marauders, but they aren’t shooting them,” said ex-parliamentary deputy Alisher Sabirov, a peacekeeping volunteer in Osh.

Takhir Maksitov of human rights group Citizens Against Corruption said: “This is genocide.”

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China’s Xinjiang seethes a year after riots: Uighur activist

 Originally published by  AFP Spacewar.com,13 June 2010

By Staff Writers

One year after deadly riots in China’s Xinjiang, Beijing has reaffirmed policies that have angered Muslims in the region, raising the spectre of further unrest, a top Uighur activist said.

In an interview with AFP, Ilham Tohti — an outspoken professor, blogger and member of the Muslim Uighur minority — said China’s “carrot and stick” pairing of economic development with tight security controls had failed Uighurs.

It has instead benefited members of China’s majority Han ethnicity who are flooding into the region, while Xinjiang’s eight million Uighurs are becoming further marginalised in their ancient homeland, with no end in sight, he said.

“The situation for Uighurs in Xinjiang is increasingly bad,” Tohti, 40, said in his modest flat on the campus of Beijing’s Minzu University of China, where he lectures — under watchful eyes — on economics and Uighur issues.

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For China, stability inside–and outside–key for future prosperity

Originally published by THE ASAHI SHIMBUN,12 June 2010

The ascent of China will most likely be the biggest geopolitical drama of the 21st century. Wang Jisi, dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University, discusses China’s military expansion, the longevity of the country’s ‘peaceful rise,’ and the effects on global governance and international rules.

* * *

Question: I remember a couple of years ago the CCTV aired a program called “The Rise of Great Nations” that featured the histories of Rome, Great Britain, Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union. What implications do these lessons have for China?

Answer: I think the consensus here is that economic growth is the key to becoming a rising power. The Chinese have also concluded that to sustain economic growth it is also necessary to maintain political stability. In the rise and fall of great powers, one lesson the Chinese always learn is that aggression will not pay.

So the lessons we have learned are very consistent with the current policies.

Some younger-generation opinion leaders and others, maybe some officials as well, are calling for a more assertive policy toward other countries. But the mainstream thinking, I mean the top leadership, is still very sober-minded about China’s own power and influence, and they are very conscious of China’s internal challenges combined with external challenges. So they will continue to pursue a policy following Deng Xiaoping’s teaching that we should keep a low profile.

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Ethnic rioting spreads in Kyrgyzstan, with 80 dead

Originally published by The Associated Press,13 June 2010

By SASHA MERKUSHEV and LEILA SARALAYEVA

 OSH, Kyrgyzstan — Ethnic rioting spread Sunday in southern Kyrgyzstan, where at least 80 people have been killed and more than 1,000 wounded. Thousands of Uzbeks fled after their homes were torched by roving mobs of Kyrgyz men.

 Fires destroyed much of Osh, the second-largest city in a Central Asian country that hosts U.S. and Russian military air bases. Stores were looted and the city was running out of food.

 Gunfire rang out Sunday in another major southern city, Jalal-Abad, where the day before a rampaging mob burned a university, besieged a police station and seized an armored vehicle and other weapons from a local military unit.

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Xinjiang still ‘seething’

Originally published by AFP, Straits Times, 13 June 2010

 

BEIJING – ONE year after deadly riots in China’s Xinjiang, Beijing has reaffirmed policies that have angered Muslims in the region, raising the spectre of further unrest, a top Uighur activist said. In an interview with AFP, Ilham Tohti – an outspoken professor, blogger and member of the Muslim Uighur minority – said China’s ‘carrot and stick’ pairing of economic development with tight security controls had failed Uighurs. It has instead benefited members of China’s majority Han ethnicity who are flooding into the region, while Xinjiang’s eight million Uighurs are becoming further marginalised in their ancient homeland, with no end in sight, he said. ‘The situation for Uighurs in Xinjiang is increasingly bad,’ Mr Tohti, 40, said in his modest flat on the campus of Beijing’s Minzu University of China, where he lectures – under watchful eyes – on economics and Uighur issues. ‘In this climate, it is very hard to bring together Uighurs and Han, immigrants and locals. This is a huge problem but the government has come up with no plan for it.’ Xinjiang’s Uighurs – a Muslim, Turkic-speaking people – have for decades alleged Chinese political, religious and cultural oppression in the vast region abutting Central Asia. Their anger erupted on July 5 last year when Uighur rioters savagely attacked Han in the capital Urumqi, leaving nearly 200 people dead and up to 1,700 injured, according to official figures. — AFP

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Kyrgyzstan asks Russia to help end ethnic clashes

Originally published by Reuters,12 June 2010

By Hulkar Isamova

 OSH, Kyrgyzstan (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan granted shoot-to-kill powers to its security forces and appealed for Russia’s help on Saturday to stop ethnic fighting that has killed at least 77 and left parts of two major cities in flames.

The interim government of the former Soviet republic, host to U.S. and Russian military bases, decided at a late-night meeting to partially mobilize army reserves to combat the worst violence since the president was toppled in April.

It authorized security forces to shoot to kill in the southern regions of Osh and Jalalabad, where armed gangs have been burning down the homes and businesses of ethnic Uzbeks, ignoring curfews.

Lethal force was permitted in areas where a state of emergency has been declared in order to defend civilians, in self-defense and in case of mass or armed attacks, the government said in a decree.

“We need the entry of outside armed forces to calm the situation down,” interim government leader Roza Otunbayeva told reporters earlier. “We have appealed to Russia for help and I have already signed such a letter for President Dmitry Medvedev.”

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