June 30, 2010

East Turkestan: Uyghurs Commemorate the One- year Anniversary of the Urumchi Tragedy.

Sample ImageOn July 5th Uyghurs in exile around the World will Commemorate the lives lost a year ago during the Urumchi Tragedy in East Turkistan, and show their continued support of the Plight of Uyghurs.

 

Below is a Statement issued by the World Uyghur Congress on June 29th:

 On July 5, 2010 and in the days surrounding July 5th, Uyghurs in exile and their supporters  around the globe will stage demonstrations and other actions to commemorate the one-year anniversary of one of the saddest and most horrific days in the history of the Uyghur people and of East Turkestan (also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China) and to ensure that the world does not forget about the devastating plight of the Uyghur people. 

On July 5, 2009, Chinese security forces brutally suppressed a peaceful protest by Uyghurs in Urumchi, the regional capital of East Turkestan, and killed many protestors according to eyewitnesses.  Ethnic unrest and violence followed, as well as one of the Chinese government’s fiercest and most repressive crackdowns on Uyghurs in history.

The World Uyghur Congress (www.uyghurcongress.org), which promotes the human rights of the Uyghur people on behalf of the Uyghur exile community worldwide, is spearheading the global commemoration of July 5th.  WUC and its affiliate Uyghur human rights organizations are organizing actions in 17 countries, including but not limited to the United States, Japan, Turkey, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.  The actions will include demonstrations in front of Chinese foreign missions, marches, and conferences and teach-ins on the July 5th events and the aftermath.  For a list of actions worldwide, see

www.uyghurcongress.org/en/wp-content/uploads/Protest-Clandar-EN.pdf.

 “My people have been suffering tremendously at the hands of the Chinese authorities for decades and since July 5, 2009, that suffering has even reached new heights,” said Rebiya Kadeer, President of the World Uyghur Congress, former prisoner of conscience, and multiple-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee.  “We hope that more governments and more individuals around the world will respond to our calls for help and that their compassion and humanity will not be compromised by our oppressor’s economic and political power.  We hope that the actions that we are organizing for the one-year anniversary of July 5th will help to educate the world about the magnitude of our plight.” 

Background

On July 5, 2009, Uyghurs in the city of Urumchi, the regional capital of East Turkestan [also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China], participated in a peaceful protest [1] against government inaction on the killing of at least two, but possibly several dozen, Uyghur migrant workers, by Han Chinese workers at a toy factory in the city of Shaoguan, in the southern province of Guangdong [2]. The protest had been organized over the internet as a peaceful demonstration. [3]  The authorities blocked students on some university campuses from leaving school grounds on July 5th in order to prevent their participation in the demonstration. [4] Human Rights Watch noted that while the protest seemed to be sparked by the Shaoguan incident, the root causes for the protest lie in the longstanding discriminatory policies of the Chinese government towards the Uyghurs and the egregious repression of Uyghurs’ religious, political, educational, linguistic, and economic rights. [5]  

Chinese security forces moved in and used extreme force and violence to disperse and suppress the protest. [6]  Amnesty International has stated, “Eyewitness accounts received by Amnesty International contradict government accounts of the events of July, and suggest the authorities used excessive force against the protesters, resulting in the deaths of possibly hundreds of people.” [7]

Security forces used tear gas and stun batons on the demonstrators. [8]  Witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International indicated that security forces also fired on the demonstrators, as well as beat and kicked them. [9]   Uyghur organizations abroad and media outlets received similar witness accounts. [10]  Witness accounts received by Uyghur organizations abroad also indicated that protesters fled to other points of the city, where they were forced into several enclosed areas from which they could not escape and the police indiscriminately shot and killed Uyghur protestors in these enclosed areas and arrested those who remained. [11]  In sum, numerous witness accounts provided to Uyghur and other human rights organizations abroad, as well as witness accounts provided to the media, indicated that security forces committed extra-judicial killings of protestors. 

The human rights violations that the Chinese authorities have perpetrated against the Uyghurs in the aftermath of the July 2009 incidents have included but have not been limited to:  mass and arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances of Uyghurs, including minors [12]; arbitrary sentencing of Uyghurs to death and other severe sentences after trials plagued with politicization and strangleholds on due process [13]; and arbitrary executions [14].   


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[1] See eg., Amnesty International (AI) (online), “China:  Further Information:  Nine Executed in China” (Urgent Action) (www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA17/063/2009/en), Nov. 11, 2009; Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) (online), “Annual Report 2009” (www.cecc.gov/pages/annualRpt/annualRpt09/CECCannRpt2009.pdf), Oct. 10, 2009, p. 249 (citing sources).

[2] See Uyghur American Association (UAA) (online), “UAA Expresses Concern over Shaoguan Indictments” (press release)

(www.uyghuramerican.org//articles/3743/1/UAA-expresses-concern-over-Shaoguan-indictments/index.html), Sept. 24, 2009 (citing sources); UAA (online), “UAA condemns killing of Uyghur Workers at Guangdong Factory” (press release)

(www.uyghuramerican.org//articles/3089/1/UAA-condemns-killing-of-Uyghur-workers-at-Guangdong-factory/index.html), June 29, 2009.  See generally, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State (online), “2009 Human Rights Report:  China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau)” (www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135989.htm), Mar. 11, 2010; Amnesty International USA (online), “Amnesty International Urges the Supreme Court to Review the Sentencing of Five Uighurs to Death” (press release) (www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGUSA20091203002&lang=e), Dec. 3, 2009; Amnesty International (AI) (online), “China Must Halt Death Sentences Against Uighurs”

(http://amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/china-must-halt-death-sentences-against-uighurs-20091203), Dec. 3, 2009; Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC)(online), “Annual Report 2009” (www.cecc.gov/pages/annualRpt/annualRpt09/CECCannRpt2009.pdf), Oct. 10, 2009, p. 249 (citing sources); Human Rights Watch (HRW) (online), “China:  ‘We Are Afraid to Even Look for Them’:  Enforced Disappearances in the Wake of Xinjiang’s Protests”

(www.hrw.org/en/reports/2009/10/22/we-are-afraid-even-look-them), Oct. 2009, p. 11 (citing sources).   

[3] See Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) (online), “Annual Report 2009” (www.cecc.gov/pages/annualRpt/annualRpt09/CECCannRpt2009.pdf), Oct. 10, 2009, p. 249 (citing sources).

[4] See Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) (online), “Nur Bekri Calls for Heightened Political Consciousness at Colleges, Students Reported to be Locked Within Campus” (Commission Analysis) (www.cecc.gov/pages/virtualAcad/index.phpd?showsingle=125931), posted on Aug. 6, 2009 (citing sources).

[5] See Human Rights Watch (HRW) (online), “China:  ‘We Are Afraid to Even Look for Them’: Enforced Disappearances in the Wake of Xinjiang’s Protests” (www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/xinjiang1009webwcover.pdf), Oct. 2009, pp. 9-11 (citing sources).

[6]  See Amnesty International (AI) (online), “Stop Human Rights Violations Against Uighurs” (www.amnesty.org/en/campaigns/activists/issues/stop-human-rights-violations-against-uighurs-china), Feb. 5, 2010; AI (online), “China:  Prevent Executions for Uighur Unrest” (Urgent Action) (www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA17/061/2009/en), Nov. 2, 2009;Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) (online), “Annual Report 2009” (www.cecc.gov/pages/annualRpt/annualRpt09/CECCannRpt2009.pdf), Oct. 10, 2009, p. 249 (citing sources).  See generallyBureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State (online), “2009 Human Rights Report:  China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau)” (www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135989.htm), Mar. 11, 2010.

[7] Amnesty International (AI) (online), “China:  Prevent Executions for Uighur Unrest” (Urgent Action) (www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA17/061/2009/en), Nov. 2, 2009.   

[8] See Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) (online), “Annual Report 2009” (www.cecc.gov/pages/annualRpt/annualRpt09/CECCannRpt2009.pdf), Oct. 10, 2009, p. 249 (citing sources).

[9] See Amnesty International (AI), “Urgent Action:  20 April 2010:  Further information on UA 336/09 (15 December 2009):  Risk of torture/incommunicado detention:  China:  Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz (m), aged 18” (Urgent Action) (www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/uaa33609.pdf) (published on Amnesty International USA’s website), Apr. 20, 2010; AI (online), “Stop Human Rights Violations Against Uighurs”

(www.amnesty.org/en/campaigns/activists/issues/stop-human-rights-violations-against-uighurs-china), Feb. 5, 2010. 

[10]  See Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) (online), “Annual Report 2009” (www.cecc.gov/pages/annualRpt/annualRpt09/CECCannRpt2009.pdf), Oct. 10, 2009, p. 249 (citing Radio Free Asia reports); Statement by Ms. Rebiya Kadeer, Uyghur democracy leader at the National Press Club on July 20, 2009, “Unrest in East Turkestan:  What China Is Not Telling the Media”

(www.uyghuramerican.org//articles/3304/1/Unrest-in-East-Turkestan-What-China-is-Not-Telling-the-Media/index.html) (published on the Uyghur American Association’s website on July 20, 2009) (referring to witness accounts that Uyghurs in the region gave in phone calls to the Uyghur American Association and other Uyghur organizations); “Urumqi Tense, Quiet After Violence”

(www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/riots-07052009153209.html?searchterm=None), Radio Free Asia (RFA) (online), July 5, 2009 (updated July 6, 2009).  

[11] See Statement by Ms. Rebiya Kadeer, Uyghur democracy leader at the National Press Club on July 20, 2009, “Unrest in East Turkestan:  What China Is Not Telling the Media”

(www.uyghuramerican.org//articles/3304/1/Unrest-in-East-Turkestan-What-China-is-Not-Telling-the-Media/index.html) (published on the Uyghur American Association’s website on July 20, 2009) (referring to witness accounts that Uyghurs in the region gave in phone calls to the Uyghur American Association and other Uyghur organizations). 

[12] See Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) (online), “Annual Report 2009” (www.cecc.gov/pages/annualRpt/annualRpt09/CECCannRpt2009.pdf), Oct. 10, 2009, p. 250 (citing sources) (regarding mass arrests); Human Rights Watch (HRW) (online), “China:  ‘We Are Afraid to Even Look for Them’:  Enforced Disappearances in the Wake of Xinjiang’s Protests”

(www.hrw.org/en/reports/2009/10/22/we-are-afraid-even-look-them), Oct. 2009, pp. 21-32 (citing sources) (regarding mass arrests and enforced disappearances). 

[13] See Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) (online), “198 People in Xinjiang Reportedly Sentenced in Trials Marked by Lack of Transparency” (Commission Analysis) (www.cecc.gov/pages/virtualAcad/index.phpd?showsingle=137197), posted on Apr. 21, 2010; Human Rights Watch (HRW) (online), “China:  Xinjiang Trials Deny Justice:  Proceedings Fail Minimum Fair Trial Standards” (www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/10/15/china-xinjiang-trials-deny-justice), Oct. 15, 2009; CECC (online), “Annual Report 2009” (www.cecc.gov/pages/annualRpt/annualRpt09/CECCannRpt2009.pdf), Oct. 10, 2009, p. 251 (citing sources); HRW (online), “China:  ‘We Are Afraid to Even Look for Them’:  Enforced Disappearances in the Wake of Xinjiang’s Protests” (www.hrw.org/en/reports/2009/10/22/we-are-afraid-even-look-them), Oct. 2009, p. 19-20 (citing sources); CECC (online), “Detentions Continue, Official Pledges Death Penalty for Perpetrators” (Commission Analysis) (www.cecc.gov/pages/virtualAcad/index.phpd?showsingle=125931), posted on Aug. 6, 2009 (citing sources).

[14] See id.Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State, “2009 Human Rights Report:  China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau)” (www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135989.htm), Mar. 11, 2010; Amnesty International (AI) (online), “China:  Further Information:  Nine Executed in China” (Urgent Action)

(www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/063/2009/en/97062c40-0d64-4f75-a209-ed8de6a7a393/asa170632009en.html), Nov. 11, 2009.   

   

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