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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.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

China Corruption: Hero Today Gone Tomorrow

corruptionA Chinese Communist party member hailed last week as a corruption whistleblowing hero by none less than the People's Daily apparently now has been sent to the "sin-bin" and told to do a little bit of "self examination"

Huang Jingao, a party secretary from southern China's Lianjiang County, wrote an "Open Letter" exposing official corruption in his home town which received lavish praise in a full page article in the People's Daily and for which he was widely lauded, apparently, throughout China as to his brave stance.

Today the story has disappeared from the PD's website and poor Huang is in a bit of trouble with his CCP mates for making "a serious political mistake"

Not only does it appear that he has overstepped the mark locally but his gaffe has international ramifications; so says the local CCP higher ups!

"The direct result of his behavior was that it would be
used by hostile
western forces, hostile Taiwan forces and dissidents
overseas and that it will stir social instability and political

Hostile western forces no less!

Writing "Open Letters" in China can get you in a little bit of strife apparently.

China Condemns Whistle-Blower (washingtonpost.com)

Sunday, August 15, 2004

China "Wins" Gold in Shooting

As China celebrates the winning of Gold in Athens by its "shooters" my thoughts go today to the victims of some other Chinese "shooters"

Two Uygurs were recently executed in Xinjiang bringing to four the number of Uygurs executed by firing squad in the last six weeks.

As the Athens 'shooters" took to the dais amid the fanfare, the garland crowns and the rising red flag and national anthem my thoughts wandered, painfully, to a less majestic scene.

An open field, a grassy bank.

Two men kneeling upon the muddy ground, facing the grassed knoll positioned to stop the bullets.

Their heads will be bowed not raised in elation. .

Around their necks will be placed not the gold medals of Athens Olympians but crudely scrawled "notices"detailing their "crimes" against this great Olympic nation.

Upon their bowed heads blindfolds in place of crowns of garland.

Instead of the voice of an announcer proclaiming their individual greatness and that of their nation there will be a firing squad commander reading aloud the details of their "lowness" and readying his men with barked voice.

Instead of the clap of applause ringing out the clap of gunfire will be heard.

Instead of hands raised in jubilation will be faces, what is left of them, buried in mud of this Xinjiang field.

Red blood in place of a red flag.

I do not deny the Athens shooters their individual glory at their achievements, the games are supposed to be above politics but for the life of me I can not see how Beijing will shortly be conducting these very same ceremonies whilst 3000 kms away Uygur blood is continued to be spilled by the other "shooters" in a very different ceremony.

When will world recognise the brutality of this communist regime and do something to stop the oppression and death in Xinjiang.

Is this what the Olympic ideal is?

Yahoo! News - China Wins Two Gold Medals in Shooting

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Guantanamo Uygurs Not Going "Home"

Detainees in Guantanamo BayUnited States Secretary of State Colin Powell has confirmed earlier reports that the 22 Uygurs held at Guantanamo Bay will not be repatriated to China upon their imminent release.

The decision is believed to be based on an expectation on behalf of State, though not stated, that the Uygurs will face imprisonment torture and possibly execution upon their return to China.

The detainees, members of a Muslim ethnic minority group from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China's northwest are believed to have been detained in Afghanistan and Pakistan but have apparently been cleared of any terrorist connections thus their coming release.

The Uygurs have been interviewed by Chinese officials whilst in custody and there were claims that America allowed the Chinese to subject them to threats, sleep deprivation and "environmental manipulation", over several days of their "interviews". These claims were emphatically denied by American and Chinese officials.

As yet there has been no Chinese response to Powell's statement but it is not considered that Beijing will take kindly to the implications of the decision by the United States

The Chinese government wages an almost obsessive campaign against the Uygur and what they call the "three evils": Separatism, religious extremism and terrorism all of which they claim the Uygur are guilty of despite scant proof being offered.

The Daily Telegraph US won't send home Chinese Muslims

China Executes Two Uighurs, Jails 16 on Charges of Separatism

The Uyghur Information Agency (UIA), a diaspora news website sponsored by the Uyghur American Association, carries a news report apparently coming from AFP that China has executed two Uygurs, sentenced two to life imprisonment and a further 14 for periods of between five and twenty years in Aksu. Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

If this report is true ( I have yet been able to verify the source) these executions bring to four the number of Uygurs executed by China in the last seven weeks, these two in Aksu County and the others happening in June and July.

The report quotes a Ma Lin, a deputy director of the court in Shaya County,where the defendants lived, as saying the men were members of East Turkestan People`s Party and were sentenced on July 21 by the Intermediate People`s Court in Aksu city. He is further quoted as confirming that the execution orders have been carried out.

The World Uighur Congress (UWC) an Uygur diaspora umbrella group based in Germany is also quoted as saying

"the defendants were charged with illegally organizing a political party,
using armed tactics to split the country, concealing guns, ammunition and
explosives, and illegally producing, buying and selling as well as
transporting weapons and explosives"

The two executed men were identified by the UWC as being Akmed Tash, president of the group, and Lokman Mamet the group's treasurer. (P.s. Note later reports to hand name those executed as Aihe Maititashi and Luoheman Maimaiti )

The report also claims that a Han Chinese reporter from the local Aksu Daily newspaper Gong Xise as stating that the the East Turkestan People`s Party "is one of many such terrorist groups in this area," adding that one of the 18 sentenced was trained in Afghanistan and had fought against American troops and then returned to China from Afghanistan and that the group had "..participated in setting off explosions, kidnapping and robbery and other terrorists activities,". This claim has not been collaborated.

The number of Uygur executions had decreased markedly from the period January 1997 through to the end of 1999 when Amnesty International claims a majority of the 210 persons sentenced to death in Xinjiang were Uygurs and most related to the Gulja (Yining) riots of February 1997 and the resultant Chinese crackdown on the Uygur population.

The execution rate of Uygurs for charges of separatism and terrorism had slowed markedly co-incident with the Beijing Olympics bid and the coming to power of the Hu/Wen government and there was some hope that Beijing's hardline may have softened with the new generation leadership, In 2003 for example only two Uygur executions were openly reported by the Chinese government.

To have four in the space of six weeks is certainly a sign of a change in attitude in Beijing back to a more hardline approach and is indicative of an overall firmer stance being taken by Beijing of late towards its "separation" concerns namely Taiwan, Tibet Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

As for the alleged existence of an East Turkistan People's Party I have not heard of them and the charges against the men are stock standard charges brought against most Uygur "separatists/terrorists".

Strangely the Chairman of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region was quoted only recently as saying that there had been no instances of terrorism/separatism or acts of violence in Xinjiang for some years but now we have Four executed and 16 sentenced for what must be considerable "crimes".

Uyghur Information Agency - China Executes Two Out Of 18 Muslim Uighurs Convicted Of Separatism

P.S. This story is now being run by several news agencies including Reuters so it is out of unverified status

Amnesty International Report relating to this incident

Monday, August 09, 2004

Separatism, Extremism, Terrorism: Read "Uygur Intimidation"

Chinese and Pakistani troops conduct terror exercises in the Pamirs. Pic courtsy Peoples Daily
With the striking and beautiful Pamir Mountains in the background pictures in China’s People’s Daily show "crack" Chinese and Pakistani troops doing what "crack" troops" do best: "killing" people.

In this case however the "killing" was pretend and those killed were mock terrorists or, as China refers to them, adherents of "separatism, extremism and terrorism".

The Pamir Mountains, 4,000 metres above sea level, were not chosen for the rigours of the terrain, or for high altitude training of these "elite" troops. The location was selected because the Pamirs are in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region close to the borders of Afghanistan, Tajikstan and Pakistan, and Xinjiang is where China has identified their exists the

"major threat to regional stability and security" the so called "East Turkistan
terror groups".

"East Turkistan" is the former name for Xinjiang and China uses the "three threats/evils" of separatism, extremism and terrorism" in an attempt to intimidate the Uygur people of Xinjiang into total submission.

The Uygur, a proud Turkic people who follow the Muslim religion, are descended from nomadic tribes that roamed Central Asia and in the 7th and 8th centuries C.E. they ruled a mighty empire that included most of what is today China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

In 1949 they constituted the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of the area China calls Xinjiang but due to Chinese government policy of massive Han migration to The "New Territories" they are now, at an estimated 9 million people, more than likely outnumbered by Han Chinese.

Like most peoples subjugated by a "foreign nation" the Uygur bridle under Chinese control and the clash of cultures and Chinese policy has led to several incidents, particularly since 1990, where isolated riots have occurred generally over local issues.

There also has been open calls from a small minority of Uygurs for "separation" from China and the setting up of an independent Uygur republic. These calls, whilst appealing to the hearts of most Uygurs, have never been able to unify them as a people in any concerted attempt to caste off the yoke of Chinese rule.

Instead, individuals and small disparate groups have attempted, but overwhelmingly have failed, to rally general support by initiating a very limited number of violent acts against low level Chinese government targets. In only one instance, agreed by most foreign observers, were civilians purposely put at risk of death or injury by the actions of this minority.

That particular incident, a bombing of a bus in Urumqi the capital of Xinjiang in 1997 that resulted in deaths, was in retaliation for a brutal suppression of an earlier Uygur demonstration in Gulja (Yining), that resulted in mass Uygur detentions, many executions and renewed crackdowns on religious and other freedoms of the Uygur. Whilst one can not condone such violence one can perhaps understand it in its context.

The Chinese claim that these "East Turkistan" forces pose a serious threat to the security and integrity not only of China but the general region of Central Asia and neighbouring Pakistan. They have even gone as far to claim one occasion that these forces pose a threat to world security, so great is their apparent obsession.

All this is in spite of the fact that no act of terrorism has ever been confirmed as being conducted by these "forces" outside of China and no incidents of any violence within China since the Urumqi incident in 1997.
The consequent massive crackdown on the so called "three evils" that sees jailing and executions on a regular basis as well as a general limitation of the Uygurs rights to freedom of association and religion has effectively destroyed any vestige of open dissent among the Uygur of Xinjiang.

Notwithstanding Beijing continues a massive "terror" programme against the Uygur people that seems far and away out of proportion to any real or perceived threat that the Uygur can pose. A concerted programme designed to totally intimidate the Uygur people and instill in them a real fear bordering on terror that if they step out of line then the results will be swift and unmerciful.

The Pamir Mountains "terrorist" exercise is but one example.

Militarily it can have no meaningful purpose. 200 hundred soldiers careering on ponies, like the very nomadic Turk tribes that instilled such fear in the Chinese’ forefathers some 2000 years ago, is hardly the level of sophistication required to confront real terrorism. But its worth from the Chinese viewpoint is in its propaganda value.

The mention of the "Three Evils" as a reason for the exercise sends a strong and plain message to the Uygur people: This is meant for you!

The "Three evils" in simple terms has become a synonym for the Uygur people and they know it.
But military exercises are but one tool in China’s intimidation campaign. China uses its economic clout against the Uygur as well.

The setting up of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation with China as the prime mover has been shamelessly used by the Chinese as a tool of Uygur oppression. In May and June China’s President Hu Jintao released joint statements with SCO member states presidents of Khazakhstan and Uzbekistan respectively re-affirming their joint interests in combating the "Three evils" and singling out the Uygurs for particular mention:

In the statement China and Uzbekistan (The Khazakhstan/China joint statement is almost verbatim)
".will continue to adopt powerful measures (italics mine) to fight all forms of
terrorism, including terrorism waged by the so called ‘East Turkistan’ terror

Similar statements have been garnered from Tajikstan, Krygystan and Pakistan and most of these countries as well as Nepal have forcibly repatriated Uygurs to China, many to their ultimate executions.

What is in it for these nations? An honoured place at the China trade and economic aid table.

The Uygur as a result know that they are now friendless in Central Asia and surrounded and isolated by nations toeing the Beijing line. Their feelings of powerlessness and vulnerability must be palpable.

But it does not stop only with military exercises and diplomatic machinations. It is regularly re-inforced by the jailing of Uygurs such as Rebiya Kadeer the prominent Uygur businesswoman in 2000, Tohti Tunyaz the historian in 1998 and many nameless others charged with various offences relating to "separatism" and "passing state secrets".

Add to this the ultimate deterrent, the seemingly regular execution of Uygurs accused of separatist/terrorist activities, the most recent of which was the execution sometime shortly after his June 30 sentencing this year of one Kuerban Tudaji.

What threat can these people pose China that has Beijing so obsessed with the need for the Uygurs total intimidation and subjugation?

Is it chauvinism? Is it racism?

Whatever ISM motivates them it is certainly not real fears of terrorism or religious extremism or separatism emanating from the Uygur!

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