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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, November 23, 2004

The Real Terror in East Turkestan

Xinjiang  Uygur China mapAn excellent article that I commend to my readers.

Some facts, however, for the sake of understanding the real history without blurring for the sake of sensationalism.

The article states:
"On August 27, 1949, a plane carrying the leadership of the Republic of East Turkestan was on its way to Beijing for talks with Mao Zedong. In circumstances that can be euphemistically called suspicious, the plane crashed, killing everyone on board. Upon hearing the news, Mao sent in the Communist military, and the occupation of East Turkestan began."

The "Republic of East Turkistan" referred to in the above quote was one established in 1944 coincident with the demise of Nationalist government control but which only ever controlled 25% of the physical area of Xinjiang and was centered in the north west only.

The ETR (EastTurkistan Republic) had, prior to this fateful plane flight, agreed in principal to the joining of the ETR with China subject to the Uygur people having a high degree of autonomous government. The members of the ETR government aboard the plane were going to Beijing to complete agreements along these lines.

The rest of Xinjiang was, at the time, controlled to varying degrees, by remnants of the Nationalist government and Chinese (Han) warlords.

Having said that the ETR was comfortable joining Communist China and, the CCP having no real reason to down the representative's plane, there was subsequently a major shakeup in ETR representatives after the Communist takeover resulting in many being removed from positions of authority and replaced by either Han Chinese or more amenable Uygurs.

But that aside the rest of the article by D.J. Maguire holds true.

One very important point spelled out by Maguire is that the Uygur, albeit Muslim, are extremely western oriented. They believe that America can save them from Chinese persecution; that America and the west can help them to gain a degree of autonomy at least to the level promised to them by Mao Zedong back in 1949 but never delivered.

Maguire states:

"As America fights the terror triumvirate of Wahhabism, Ba’athism, and Khomenism, her people have asked: where are the Muslims who don't hate America? Where are the Muslims who do not see the fulfillment of their faith in emulating the hijackers of September 11, 2001? Where are the Muslims who understand us, our vision, and our desire for freedom for all?

Those of us fortunate enough to know the Uighur people do not ask these questions. We don't have to ask them. We see these Muslims every day; we work with them; we are proud to call them our friends.

These are true words. The Uygur people are truly friends.

They believe in us, we in America ,Australia, Britain, Canada et al.

They believe in our proclaimed "goodness", they believe in our system of democratic government, they believe above all that we we have humanity.

Sometimes I wonder if we deserve such blind faith!

Article Rating: Must Read
The Epoch Times | The Real Terror in East Turkestan

Monday, November 22, 2004

When Will It Stop!

China Mining Tragedy33 Dead; 28 still trapped in yet another Chinese Coal Mining disaster.

The accident (I hesitate in using the word "accident") has occurred in the mines in Zhangzhuang Village of Shahe, a city in southern Hebei 420 kilometres from Beijing and 137 kilometres from Shijiazhuang, capital of the province.

These are not accidents; these are "acceptable" losses.

This is the price China is willing to pay, in human lives, to feed it's insatiable appetite for energy.

For the Chinese government knows the state of it's mining industry, knows the risks to life and limb that, each day, Chinese miners face and is prepared to accept this trade off in human life for maximum production to feed the electricity grids of Chinese domestic and commercial demand.

When will western consumers, both state and individuals, realise the true cost of the "cheap" goods they purchase bearing the words "Made In China" and take appropriate action either to boycott Chinese goods until the Chinese Communist Party acts or help to fix the problem by investment in training and infrastructure?

"Mine blaze kills 33, leaves 28 trapped" China Daily 22/11/04

Saturday, November 20, 2004

uygurWORLD Toolbar

I am pleased to announce the uygurWORLD Toolbar that provides quick links to sites that concern the Uygur people of Xinjiang, the Tibetans and Human Rights in China generally .

The toolbar is downloadable via way of the China Letter website. Please look in the side menu bar at top for download link.

Link Read Rating:

Thursday, November 18, 2004

World Uyghur Congress Calls on Kazakhstan to Release Aussie Uyghur Prisoner

Following on from my last post regarding the Australian citizen Noorpolat Abdulla who is in a Kazakhstan jail serving a fifteen year sentence on vague terrorism charges the World Uygur Congress has called upon the Kazakh government for his immediate release as well as urging Australian authorities to apply more pressure to pursue it's citizen's rights.

The World Uygur Congress (WUC) which is a congress of various Uygur expatriate organisations world wide and is led by Erkin Alptekin in his position as President of WUC.

Alptekin is well known among Uygurs as being the son of one of the ministers in the East Turkistan Republic that held short control over 25% of Xinjiang in the 1940's prior to the Communist takeover. In his own right he has been a life long campaigner for human rights for his people and is generally held in high esteem by expatriate Uygurs world wide.

The WUC press release cites an article run recently in Asia Times Online in which Stephen Blank, professor of Strategic Studies Institute at U.S. Army War College, said,
"At present there is little doubt that doing everything possible to consolidate Beijing's hold over XUAR is one of the drivers of Chinese policy in all dimensions in Central Asia. Thus increasing amounts of bilateral military assistance are going to these states and the signs of coordination in intelligence on terrorism are multiplying as they crack down on Uyghur movements in their homelands to retain China's friendship. Indeed, for Beijing such crackdowns have increasingly become preconditions for any kind of friendly relationship with Central Asian states and the provision of desperately needed aid."

According to Alim Seytoff, Chairman for the Executive Committee of WUC and a leader of the Uyghur American Association (UAA)
"This is probably one of the main reasons why Kazakhstan denied Noorpolat Abdulla Australian consular representation and tried him in a closed court in order to hide its failure to produce any hard evidence against him. This kind of Soviet-style secret trial does not conform to international standard, which justifies his conviction."

It is obvious at the very least that Noorpolat Abdulla received a very heavy sentence based on what is the known evidence in his case. It is also obvious that Australia has failed it's citizen in not more strongly advocating his basic rights to an open and fair trial and the failure to demand Australian Consular access to one of her citizens.

Australia has been low key on this case because of two reasons: one, Abdulla's trial coming so close after "9/11" led Australia to support any aspects of the "War on Terrorism" in the belief that being Muslim equates with being a terrorist and two because of her sycophantic vestige interests in maintaining cordial relations with China with a view to increasing her very positive trade relations with that country.

I call upon the Honorable John Howard, prime minister of Australia, to open an enquiry into the Australian Foreign Affairs Department's handling of this case concerning one of our citizens at the hands of the Kazakhstan government and to actively pursue the re-opening of this case with full public disclosure.

Uyghur American Association Forum :: Uyghur American Association :: The World Uyghur Congress Calls on Kazakhstan to Release Uyghur Prisoner

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Aussie Uygur Languishes in Kazakhstan Jail

An Australian Citizen of Uygur heritage languishes in a Kazakhstan Jail a victim of that country's obsequious China policy.

Whilst Australia follows the high profile case of Guantanamo inmate David Hicks, the Australian caught in Afghanistan and accused of being an al Qaida terrorist, few would be aware that another Australian is serving 15 years in a Central Asian prison, the only Australian convicted of terrorism sine "9/11"

The Australian ABC programme the "7.30 Report" has revealed that in October 2001, Noorpolat Abdulla, a 31-year-old Australian citizen of Uygur origin, was convicted of preparing for a terrorist attack in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan, Central Asia.

Abdulla, originally from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China's northwest and a member of the ethnic Uygur people who form a substantial minority there, was arrested in 2001 and charged with terrorism and subsequently received a 15 year jail sentence.

Abdulla immigrated to Australia in 1986 and took up Australian citizenship. According to the 7.30 Report he and his family moved to the central Asian republic of Kazakhstan several years later to set up a wool trading business.

Kazakhstan, a predominately Muslim country whose people are closely related to the Uygur ethnically and historically was, prior to 1997, a refuge for Uygurs seeking escape from Chinese policies of religious and racial oppression against them in their homeland of Xinjiang.

After the serious riots in Gulja Xinjiang in 1997 and the consequent heavy crackdown on Uygurs throughout Xinjiang China fearing an Uygur uprising pressured neighbouring countries to crackdown on local Uygurs to cut off support and communication to Xinjiang.

The setting up of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in June 2001
which included the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People's Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan was a further inducement for these central Asian states to show "support" for regional security, more aptly China's anti-Uygur policies, in return for economic trade offs.

Khazakhstan boasts a large Uygur minority many who have lived in the former Soviet Republic since thousands were offered resettlement after Russia's withdrawal from Xinjiang in the latter part of the 19th century. Others followed in the years after the Communist takeover in 1949 especially in the famine years after the "Great Leap Forward" in the late 50's and early 1960's, all victims of periodic Chinese repression.

In September 2000 two Kazakh police were shot dead and Uygurs were suspected of being involved. Abdulla was among some 100 Uygurs rounded up, brought to the attention of Kazakh authorities through his English translating abilities and aiding Uygur refugees.

According to Abdulla's wife RABIYA ABDULLA, who believes her husband was set up by the Kazakh authorities:

"They search all the house and even the ceilings.

And then they searched the backyard While they were searching the backyard, they told me they found two grenades under the dog's house."

So weak was the prosecution case brought against Abdulla originally the 7.30 reporter states ...
"In fact, the judge was so unimpressed by the evidence, it was sent back to the police for re-examination."

Unfortunately his second trial took place in the month after "9/11" at which he was convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 15 years jail. Not a word was said by Australian Embassy officials despite reportedly being denied Consular access to Abdulla.

Abdulla, like hundreds of Uygurs imprisoned in central Asian countries, repatriated to China or imprisoned or executed in China, is not in jail because he is a terrorist but because he was an easy target to set up as an example; an example to Uygurs in Xinjiang that they have no friends in Asia and therefore to toe the Chinese Communist Party line.

7.30 Report - 15/11/2004: Govt under fire after Australian found guilty on terrorism charges in Kazakhstan

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Uygur Hawking Kebabs Causes Riot

Uygur Kebab hawkerAccording to a report in Chinapost an Uygur hawking mutton (read lamb kebabs) illegally on the streets in Baiyun district of Guangzhou city, Guangdong province, caused a minor riot when asked to move on by local security guards.

The Chinapost reports that the hawker returned with up to 70 other local Uygurs armed with knives and steel pipes who confronted the guards hospitalising two though not with serious injuries.

Steet hawking is a common business practice of the Uygur people and they are regularly harrassed and moved on by police whether they possess permits or not. What is significant in this report, if true, is that such a sizeable number of Uygurs thought it fit to react in the manner reported especially as Uygurs in Guandong would be a very small minority unlike in Xinjiang, the Uygurs homeland.

Perhaps it is indicative of a degree of racial tension in this area exemplified by a police spokesman claiming that

"There are many Uighurs in this area who steal and are engaged in other criminal activities,"

A rather negative statement from an official one would have thought but one based on a belief widely held by Han Chinese concerning the inherint "criminality" of the Uygur people.