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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Uzbek unrest


It is hoped that the recent problems being experienced in Uzbekistan do not give the Chinese Government the excuse for any actions against the Uygur people in Xinjiang.

China has long used the spectre of radical Islam and the "War on Terror" as an excuse for deprivations of basic human rights for the Uygur including unlawful arrests and detentions.

Whether or not these problems are a result of the involvement of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is yet to be determined however never has it been proven that the Uygur support religious extremism or it's proponents.

China has attempted to claim in the past that there are Uygur "organisations"
that are in league with Islamic extremists. Apart from a very limited number of Uygur youths who were in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a couple allegedly currently captured in Pakistan the allegations of numerous Uygur "organisations" being involved have never satisfactorily been proven.

The Uygur, whilst Muslim, are very "secular" in their outlook compared to the "Arab" brand most known to the west..They are "Sunni Muslims" who follow the "Hanafi School" of Islam that is known for it's religious moderation and liberal views.

The Uygur are also known for their pro-western views being particularly fond of the United States, Canada, England and Australia where many Uygur live. Whilst Pan Islamism and Pan Turkism have been talked about in Xinjiang on and off since the 19th century (mostly by Uygur intellectuals ) no firm movements have ever taken hold among the general population. Most Uygur you speak to will denounce any form of terrorism or violence.

Any attempt to tie in these recent problems in Uzbekistan with what is happening in Xinjiang will looked upon with the suspicion it merits as being nothing more than another mask for the not so "hidden agenda" of the Han Chinese as it concerns the Uygur people.

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