Amnesty slams China for Uighur crackdown three years after riots

BEIJING Thu Jul 5, 2012 2:15am EDT

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China has detained and intimidated dozens of ethnic Uighurs in the far western region of Xinjiang for speaking out on rights abuses following riots in the regional capital three years ago, Amnesty International said.

In July 2009, the capital city of Urumqi was rocked by violence between majority Han Chinese and minority Uighurs that killed nearly 200 people. Many of the Muslim Uighurs, who speak a Turkic language and call Xinjiang home, chafe at Beijing's rule.

Since then, China has executed nine people it accused of instigating the riots, detained and prosecuted hundreds and ramped up spending on security, according to state media and overseas rights groups.

Amnesty, in a report issued late on Wednesday, said it had new testimony that Beijing continues to "intimidate" families seeking information on missing relatives who have revealed human rights abuses during and after the July 2009 protests.

Catherine Baber, Amnesty's director for the Asia-Pacific, said "the general trend toward repression that we see all over China is particularly pronounced" in Xinjiang.

"Chinese authorities must reveal the whereabouts of those individuals subject to enforced disappearance, and end the persecution of their family members seeking answers," Baber said.

The London-based rights watchdog said dozens of Uighur families have come out publicly with stories of family members disappeared since July 2009, though all fear retribution.

The group cited Patigul Eli, the mother of one of the Uighurs who have disappeared after the riots, as saying she had met at least 30 other families in front of police and government buildings in Urumqi trying to get information from the authorities about missing relatives.

Xinjiang is strategically vital to China and Beijing has shown no sign of loosening its grip.

A vast swath of territory, accounting for one-sixth of China's land mass, Xinjiang holds oil, gas and coal deposits and borders Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Central Asia.

The Germany-based World Uyghur Congress said it would hold protests, together with other Uighur rights groups, outside Chinese foreign missions in 14 countries on Thursday.

Since the unrest, China has turned its attention to boosting development in Xinjiang and providing greater job opportunities, especially for Uighurs, to try and address some of the root causes of the violence.

But the government has also installed some 40,000 surveillance cameras in Urumqi.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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Comments (3)
AussieinChina wrote:
The more some sections of the Uygur community continue on their violent quixotic journey towards an independent Uygur State encouraged by equally delusional outsiders, the more China will crackdown. In the end, everyone suffers including the innocent Uygurs.

The violent and terrorist activities perpertrated by Uygurs have continued even up to this week with the airline hijacking and now it’s safe to say that their own worst enemies are themselves.

To say that Xinjiang is strategically vital to China is implying it is not a part of China when in fact it became a Chinese Province at a time when there were only 38 American States in the Union. Regarding Xinjiang’s resources, they belong to the government and the people of the whole Nation as precisely what happens in every other country worldwide.

Jul 05, 2012 1:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mark38 wrote:
The first paragraph discredits this article. In fact, most deaths during the 2009 riot are of Han people. That’s why people are so angery at the government for failing to take effective action to stop the riot untill a large number of innocent people had been killed.
Whatever the root cause, violence only hurt innocent people and serve no good purpose.

Jul 05, 2012 3:52am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Spacetime wrote:
This “Amnesty” didn’t blame the Uighur terrorist of killing innocent civilians. Just a week ago these terrorists almost hijacked a passenger airplane and fortunately they were cracked down. If they succeeded you could imagine how they would destroy so many innocent lives and leave endless pain to many innocent families. Did this so-called “Amnesty” say anything about it? No at all. So what is the purpose of this terrorist helper “Amnesty”? Who do they want to give “Amnesty”? Do they want to “Amnesty” these terrorists and give them more chances to kill more innocent people? The answer is simple: the “Amnesty” is just a anti-human being malicious cult.

Jul 05, 2012 9:23am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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