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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, May 13, 2004

Ireland tells Wen of (selective) human rights concerns

Chinese Premier Wen meets Irelands Prime Minister . Pic courtesy Yahoo.

"The Chinese government has vowed to address human rights abuses in the country, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern claimed today.

Mr Ahern told the Dáil (Irish newspaper Ed.) Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao assured him his Government would engage in European Union dialogue on the issue in a constructive and meaningful way.

The Taoiseach (Prime Minister Ed.)said he raised the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the suppression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement during a two-hour meeting with Mr Wen, who is on a two-day state visit to Ireland.

It is funny that in all Wens visits in Europe that the Uygur and Xinjiang have not been mentioned, it is always Tibet.

Why is the "Uygur Question" so low on the world's agenda? Is it just not reported? Is it because they do not have the profile of the Tibetans? Is it because they are Muslim? Is it because the world believes Chinese propaganda as to them being "terrorists"?

I fully support Tibet and am happy to see the Tibetan human-rights issue get as much press as possible but when there are 2 million more Uygurs experiencing exactly the same oppression as the Tibetans ( and some would say much worse) it begs the question why is their issue such a non starter?

Since the Uygur Yinning (Gulja) "uprising" in 1997 it has been estimated by the likes of Amnesty International that 124 Uygurs have been executed as a direct result of those eventful couple of days, the last only in October 2004. Many, many Uygurs languish in jails. Two high profiles ones being Rebiya Kadeer the Uygur businesswoman and Tohti Tunyaz the Uygur historian both imprisoned for "passing state secrets" Of course there have been may Tibetans executed and jailed in that time frame as well but nowhere near the number of Uygur.

When the world talks ethnic minority human rights in China they must include the forgotten Uygurs of Xinjiang.

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Times of Tibet Ahern tells Chinese premier of human rights concerns