Chinese Muslim region adopts law on national unity

Originally Published by The Washington Post, 31 December 2009

BEIJING — The government of a restive Chinese Muslim region rocked recently by ethnic strife said Thursday it has adopted what appeared to be a sweeping law barring the spread of views deemed to threaten national unity.

Read More →

China police order strikes against state enemies

Published by AFP, 28 December 2009

BEIJING — A top police official in China has ordered pre-emptive strikes against perceived threats to social order in a speech published Monday, just days after a key political dissident was jailed.

“Hostile forces” both in and outside China were seeking to inflame growing social discontent in an effort to create instability, Vice Minister of Public Security Yang Huanning said in a speech carried by state news websites.

He pointed the finger of blame at anti-China forces in the troubled regions of Tibet and Xinjiang, where Tibetans and ethnic Uighur Muslims have recently rioted against Chinese rule.

Click here to read more

Read More →

Turkey concerned about Cambodia’s expulsion of Uighurs

Originally Published by TODAY’S ZAMAN, 26 December 2009

Turkey has spoken out against Cambodia’s deportation of 20 ethnic Uighur asylum seekers who had fled violence in China, while stating that it expects Chinese authorities to treat the deported Uighurs fairly and in line with international human rights norms.

The asylum seekers had escaped China in recent months following the July clashes between Uighurs and ethnic Han in Urumqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, which, according to government figures, claimed more than 150 lives.

Read More →

Uyghur American Association Strongly Condemns the Sentencing of 22 Uyghurs in East Turkestan

For immediate release

December 23, 2009, 7:30 pm EST

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

 The Uyghur American Association (UAA) condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the latest sentencing of 22 Uyghurs in Urumchi, the regional capital of East Turkestan (aka: Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region). A spokeswoman for the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional government Wednesday stated “a group of 22 people … were tried” on charges connected with deadly unrest in Urumchi on July 5, 2009. According to spokeswoman Hou Hanmin, 19-year old Mehmet Maheti was sentenced to death. The exact date of Maheti’s execution remains unclear. The trials of the 22 Uyghur men, similar to the previous closed trials since July 5, were marked by politicized judicial proceedings and a lack of transparency.

Read More →

Authorities seek pair of Uighur escapees

Originally Published by Phnom Penh Post, 24 December 2009

NATIONAL police said Wednesday that they had begun the hunt for two Uighur asylum seekers who avoided the deportation of 20 of their countrymen on Saturday, and a top UN official added his voice to those criticising the Cambodian government over the deportation.

Sok Phal, deputy national police commissioner, said the two missing Uighurs were being investigated in the same manner as all foreigners suspected of breaching the country’s immigration laws.

“Our police forces are working to make an arrest of all immigrants who entered Cambodia illegally. These two Uighur men are also under our investigation,” he said, adding that around 40 foreign nationals were in custody for entering the country illegally.

The two escaped Uighurs have been unaccounted for since last week, before 20 others were taken to a site jointly monitored by the government and the UN’s refugee agency on December 16.

Rights activists say Cambodian authorities went to the site two days later and detained the 20 at gunpoint before putting them on a chartered plane to China the next night.

All 22 Uighurs had applied for refugee status through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Phnom Penh after fleeing ethnic violence in China’s restive Xinjiang province in July.

On Tuesday, Sister Denise Coughlan, director of Jesuit Refugee Services Cambodia, which was involved with the Uighur case, said she was “praying” for the safety of the two missing Uighurs. “I can’t imagine that Cambodia is a safe place for them anymore, so I hope they’ve escaped,” she said.

Read More →

More Uighurs sentenced to death in China

Originally Published by The Australian, 23 December 2009

CHINA has begun sentencing 20 more ethnic Uighurs – some to death – for their part in riots which left 197 people dead in the remote western city of Urumqi on July 5, as the second batch of trials of more than 1200 people arrested as a result of the carnage began today, with at least one man sent for execution.

In early December five people were sentenced to death and a further eight given prison terms, bringing to 17 sent to be executed in trials of the first two groups of people from the bloody unrest. Nine have been executed so far.

The province of Xinjiang, of which Urumqi is the capital, remains locked down with internet, text messaging and international phone access cut off.

The Australian has learned that three new trials were held today with other accused expected to be given their final sentences in coming days.

Click here to read more:

Read More →

China must reveal fate of Uighur asylum-seekers

Published by: Amnesty International, 23 December 2009

Amnesty International has called on the Chinese authorities to reveal the whereabouts of 20 ethnic Uighur asylum-seekers who were forcibly deported from Cambodia to China on 19 December

The group, which includes two very young children, may be at risk of torture or even execution since their forcible deportation at the request of the Chinese government.

Since 2001, Amnesty International has documented cases in which Uighur asylum seekers or refugees who were forcibly returned to China were detained, reportedly tortured and in some cases sentenced to death and executed.

“The 20 should either be charged with recognizably criminal offences or released,” said Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director Sam Zarifi in a letter to the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Buzhang.

“Their trials should meet international fair trial standards, and under no circumstances should the death penalty be imposed.

Read More →

UN was lazy on Uighurs: official

Originally Published by Phnom Penh Post, 23 December 2009

A SENIOR government official says the UN’s refugee agency did not act quickly enough to process the asylum claims of 20 ethnic Uighurs deported by Cambodian authorities on Saturday night, an act that has prompted a storm of international condemnation.

Speaking to reporters prior to a ceremony for the signing of aid agreements with visiting Chinese officials on Monday, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith accused the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of using the Uighurs as political pawns.

“UNHCR is the laziest office in Cambodia,” he said. “If they [granted refugee status] within a few days, those people would have been moved to other places, but they were slow and kept them for about a month.”

He also accused the agency of leaking the story to the press in order to “beat a drum” against the government, forcing authorities into opening investigations into the asylum seekers.

The Uighurs, part of a group of 22 who had applied for refugee status through UNHCR, were detained by Cambodian police on Friday and forcibly deported to China the following night. Two Uighurs remain on the run.

When contacted on Tuesday, Kitty McKinsey, Asia spokeswoman for UNHCR, declined to comment on Khieu Kanharith’s comments.

Read More →