Uygur professor battles for his people: Outspoken activist vows to fight on until Uygurs in China get rights and respect

Originally published by South China Morning Post, 31 May 2010
By Ng Tze-wei

Most people learned the name of Beijing-based Uygur professor Ilham Tohti only after he was detained following the deadly riots in Urumqi last July. His Xinjiang -focused Chinese-language website,, was attacked by authorities for “inciting propaganda and spreading rumours”.

But Tohti, 41, said he had actually begun writing about the plight of Uygurs 17 years ago, and different forms of government surveillance and harassment had been a fixture of his and his family’s lives ever since.

The two-month detention (at his home and at hotels with all external communication severed) last year was the longest he had experienced; normally it was just hours and hours of “chat” from dusk till dawn, which exhausted him. And occasionally it could almost be considered comical: he was banned at the last minute from attending an academic conference in Turkey last month, and in exchange, he and his family were “treated to a holiday in Hainan “, accompanied at all times by three government security guards, who were very polite and even apologetic. The professor was allowed to return to Beijing 10 days later, after the conference had ended.

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UNPO Resolution on East Turkestan

UNPO, 29 May 2010


The UNPO General Assembly,

Recalling the 2008 Berlin Declaration and the 2010 Brussels Declaration adopted by the World Uyghur Congress and the UNPO, reiterating their call for the application of the Chinese Constitution and the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law by Chinese authorities in East Turkestan and elsewhere;

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Court to Guantánamo Uighurs: Accept resettlement or stay in prison

The five remaining Uighur detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp have turned down resettlement offers from other countries, and have been appealing for release into the US.

Chinese Uighur Guantanamo detainees display a home-made note to visiting members of the media in June of 2009.

Originally published by from The Christian Science Monitor, 28 May 2010

 By Warren Richey

A federal appeals court in Washington delivered a terse message on Friday to five Chinese ethnic Uighurs long held at the terror prison camp at Guantanamo Bay: Accept the US offer to resettle in a third country or stay at Guantánamo.

In a five-page ruling, the appeals court panel said that each of the five Uighur detainees had received and rejected three offers of resettlement from countries the government had deemed appropriate. Instead, the detainees pursued litigation seeking their transfer to the United States.

A federal judge had earlier ruled that the Uighurs could not be lawfully held at Guantánamo as enemy combatants. When government efforts to find suitable countries for resettlement bogged down, the judge ordered the government to bring the Uighurs to the United States, pending their resettlement.

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China Announces Development Plan for Restive Xinjiang Region

Originally published by The New York Times, 28 May 2010

BEIJING — The new leader of the restive region of Xinjiang in western China has announced a series of economic measures to bolster confidence in the regional government, which was widely criticized by citizens after deadly ethnic rioting there last summer.

Stability is a top priority for the Chinese authorities, and the new measures are intended to help reach that goal by improving livelihoods and living conditions, according to a report on Friday in China Daily, an official English-language newspaper. Over the last year, Xinjiang has emerged as a prominent weak spot in the system of Chinese authoritarian control, with ethnic tensions at a constant boil. This month, the central government held a high-level policy conference on Xinjiang and announced steps to invigorate the economy and, in the words of Chinese officials, ensure “leapfrog development and lasting stability.”

The announcement on Thursday by the new Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang, Zhang Chunxian, 57, came on the heels of the national planning session. Mr. Zhang said the regional government would focus on developing the relatively poor areas of south Xinjiang, the heartland of the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people who migrated from the Mongolian steppe centuries ago.

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Plan to teach Putonghua to young Uygurs

Originally published by South China Morning Post, 28 May 2010
By Cary Huang

The central government will splash out billions of yuan to promote education, with the particular goal of promoting the use of the Chinese language among young Uygurs in restive Xinjiang as the leadership struggles to deal with ethnic tensions in the region.

At a regional top-level conference yesterday, the local authorities announced an ambitious drive to promote the use of Putonghua, setting the goal that all kindergartens in the region will have access to bilingual education by 2012 and all schools by 2015. The government also wants all students to be fluent in Chinese and Uygur by 2020, Xinhua reported.

“At the central working conference on Xinjiang last week, the Ministry of Education announced it would give an additional 80 billion yuan in the next five years to help develop education in the region,” said an educator familiar with the programme on condition of anonymity.

The region has averaged about 30 billion yuan annually in fiscal revenue in recent years.

Professor Teng Xing of the Research Institute of Ethnic Education attached to Minzhu University of China, previously known as the Central University for Nationalities, said promoting bilingual education was important to ending ethnic strife in the region.

“It is a very, very important step taken by the central government to promote long-lasting unity of nationalities and social stability,” Teng said of the educational programme. Teng is an expert in ethnic minority education in China and has conducted research in Xinjiang.

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China and the Kyrgyz geopolitical future

Originally published by

Kyrgyzstan’s ‘Roza Revolution’ Cui Bono? (Part 2)
by F. William Engdahl

Continuing with F. William Engdhal’s analysis of what is playing out in this coveted Central Asian region, part two examines China’s geopolitical interest regarding fellow SCO member Kyrgyzstan. Triggering the 2005 Tulip Revolution, inter alia, were the economic ties between the two countries which had grown too close for Washington’s comfort. Today, China’s economic power remains its strongest asset in aiming not only to secure good relations with the new Kyrgyz government and consolidate its foothold in the country, but also to offset U.S. military presence in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, which poses a serious threat to China’s security!

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Walking between the raindrops

But starting to get wet

Originally published by The Economist, 27 May 2010

 ASKED by a foreign reporter in 2002 what he thought about regime change in Iraq, China’s president at the time, Jiang Zemin, dodged the question, noting that Iraq was relatively far away. He added, with typical profundity, that China thought peace good and terrorism bad.

 Tellingly, official Chinese transcripts of the exchange omit Mr Jiang’s reference to Iraq’s distance from China. Whether it likes it or not, China now has a huge stake in the Middle East. Geography can no longer be used as an excuse for absolving itself of any responsibility in the region.

 One reason for this shift is the rapid growth in China’s demand for imported energy. It now imports about half of the oil it consumes. An estimated 80% of imports arrive via vulnerable sea routes from the Middle East and Africa. The dependence on imported oil is likely to increase. The International Energy Agency forecasts that by 2025 China will overtake America as the world’s largest oil-and-gas importer.

 But China’s interests in the region are not limited to energy. It also does big business there in machinery, cars, steel, railways, mining, construction and banking. The value of China’s trade with the Arab world has tripled since 2004, reaching $107 billion last year.

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Watchdog: Nations getting away with murder

Amnesty International says ’09 a year of human rights setbacks, progress

Originally published by msnbc.msn,26  May 2010

LONDON – From Iran’s repressive crackdown on anti-government demonstrators to China’s bloody suppression of minority Uighurs, millions of people’s lives across the world continued to be torn apart last year by repression, violence, discrimination and death, Amnesty International says.

The London-based watchdog activist organization’s annual report on the state of human rights in 2009 found a web of repression, as governments failed to prosecute rights violations worldwide.

The report, released Wednesday, says millions face abuse while their tormenters flout justice.

Amnesty International called on governments to ensure accountability for their own actions and fully sign up to the International Criminal Court — something the U.S., China, Russia and a host of other countries have refused to do — to ensure that crimes under international law can be prosecuted anywhere in the world.

“Governments must ensure that no one is above the law, and that everyone has access to justice for all human rights violations,” said Claudio Cordone, interim secretary general of Amnesty International. “Until governments stop subordinating justice to political self-interest, freedom from fear and freedom from want will remain elusive for most of humanity.”

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