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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.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

China Sends Clear Message to Uygurs

Xinjiang  Uygur China mapIn an unmistakably clear warning to the Uygur ethnic minority of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region China has recently conducted military exercises in Xinjiang ominously called "Controlling East Turkistan".

East Turkistan is the Uygur's historical name for Xinjiang which was annexed by China during the Qing Dynasty and loosely controlled until the Communist takeover of 1949.

According to a Reuters report the exercises conducted in August by the People's Liberation Army

".. practised surround-and-annihilate tactics and field operations, 10 strategies for controlling East Turkestan and increasing the army's strength,"
These exercises followed closely on joint Sino-Pakistani military "anti-terrorist" exercises conducted in Xinjiang in August which Beijing used to re-inforce to the Uygur population that they were truly 'friendless" in the region.

Since 1980 China has waged a relentless multi-pronged policy of intimidation of the Muslim Uygur people who number some 9 million in Xinjiang.

The tools of this policy include imprisonment, restrictions on freedom of religion and association, executions and pressure being put on neighboring countries such as Pakistan to deny Uygurs asylum.

The objective: total submission of the Uygur people whom, like the Tibetans, see Chinese presence in Xinjiang as being a force of occupation and exploitation of their ancestral homeland..

In the last 12 months six Uygurs have been executed ( four in the last 8 weeks) for "separatism" and "terrorism" activities and the numbers executed since 1997 is closely approaching 300. Many thousands more have been detained, tortured and imprisoned.

This programme has not abated in intensity despite no evidence of any "terrorist" activity since 1997 and scant evidence prior to that date.

China, home of the next Olympics, is conducting systematic state terrorism against the Uygur people and should be condemned to the same degree as other cowardly terrorists sadly so much in the news of late.

Reuters AlertNet - China army drills to curb separatism in Xinjiang