Conference Announcement: “China’s New Leadership: Challenges for Human Rights, Democracy and Freedom in East Turkestan, Tibet and Southern Mongolia,“ in Geneva, 11-13 March, 2013
The World Uyghur Congress is pleased to announce that it will be holding a conference in collaboration with the Society for Threatened Peoples and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), entitled “China’s New Leadership: Challenges for Human Rights, Democracy and Freedom in East Turkestan, Tibet and Southern Mongolia“, in Geneva, 11-13 March, 2013.
At this moment in China’s development, the central question before China’s new leadership is the question of genuine political reform. How will it meet rising discontent and demands for accountable government? The movement for human rights and democracy in China strives, in the face of continued repression, to articulate the principles that would lead to an end to rampant abuse of power, corruption and inequality
Uyghurs, Tibetans and Southern Mongolians have also long struggled to have their voices heard regarding their aspirations for freedom, human rights and democracy. Their efforts to press for rule of law and self-determination in varying forms, and even ordinary individuals‘ efforts to exercise their right to express and protect their own distinct identity, have been too often met with severe. For decades they have endured cultural assimilation and racial discrimination, as well as unrestrained use of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture and executions. National economic and strategic policies too often have resulted in economic exploitation and ecological destruction that have affected Tibet, East Turkestan and Southern Mongolia in devastating ways.
In the face of widespread human rights violations, and the government’s lack of willingness to hear or act upon their legitimate concerns, Uyghurs, Tibetans and Southern Mongolians have increasingly staged demonstrations and street protests that threaten to further escalate tensions between Chinese and Uyghurs, Tibetans and Southern Mongolians.
The international community has reacted with horror at the ongoing self-immolations in Tibet since 2009 and the violent suppression of peaceful protests in Urumchi, East Turkestan on 5 July 2009, following which many thousands of Uyghurs have been disappeared. Even in comparatively peaceful Southern Mongolia, protests have erupted as tensions reach the breaking point, demonstrating the growing desperation of Uyghur, Tibetan and Southern Mongolian people to have their voices heard.
Rather than seeking to address ethnic grievances and rising tensions through peaceful dialogue with representatives of the peoples of East Turkestan, Tibet and Southern Mongolia, the Chinese government opts to silence them with further repression, thereby intensifying the present tensions even more to unprecedented levels.
A conference seeking to address these issues could therefore not be more timely. Academics, activists and representatives of international organisations attending the conference will examine the current situation in East Turkestan, Tibet and Southern Mongolia and their relationship with current developments in China‘s government and society. They will analyse the potential human rights developments for the future in view of the recent Chinese leadership change so as to provide concrete and pragmatic proposals for peacefully resolving these growing conflicts and tensions.
The topics to be addressed at the conference are issues of great importance not only for the future of Uyghurs, Tibetans and Southern Mongolians, but also for the prospects for democracy in China as a whole, even as democracy activists‘ efforts to bring about peaceful reform are met with continued or even heightened repression by the government.
The conference will therefore examine not only the strategic challenges faced by the Uyghur, Tibetan, and Southern Mongolian peoples, but also those facing the Chinese pro-democracy movement, with the objective of developing new strategies for future cooperation.
For further information please contact:
Tel: 0049 89 5432 1999
Fax: 0049 89 54349789