Newsletter No. 11
June 2011    
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Ershidin Israel

  Where is Ershidin Israel? The World Must Demand Accountability for Deported            Uyghur Refugee
  Human Rights Violations against Uyghur People Discussed at UNHRC
  2nd Anniversary of the 5 July 2009 Events - Call for Action by the WUC
  WUC Press Release on Xinjiang Work Conference
  UAA Press Release on Tiananmen Anniversary
  Radio Free Asia Interviews WUC Project Coordinator
  BBC Interviews WUC Secretary General
   WUC Secretary General at International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy
   Uyghur Women´s Committee in Austria and Switzerland
   Netherlands East Turkestan Uyghur Union at "Turkic People Cultural Forum"
  Meeting Between Turkish Politicians and Uyghur Organizations
  Uyghur Meeting in Australia
  WUC Secretary General at Bavarian Parliament
Mongolians and Uyghurs Stage Demonstration in Amsterdam
  Tiananmen Commemoration in Brussels
  WUC Demonstrations in Berlin against Extradition of Ershidin Israel
  EU-China Human Rights Dialogue
  Review of Kazakhstan at the UN Human Rights Committee
  New Video on 5 July 2009 Events Published by Italian Media
  Article on Uyghurs in German Media

Where is Ershidin Israel? The World Must Demand Accountability for Deported Uyghur Refugee
On 30 May 2011, Kazakh authorities extradited the Uyghur refugee Ershidin Israel to China against international law standards. Even though his exact location is unknown, Chinese authorities confirmed that he is in detention (probably in Urumqi) and that he is facing “terror charges.”

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC), Uyghur American Association (UAA), Nonviolent Radical Party, Human Rights in China, Freedom House, Society for Threatened Peoples, Rafto Foundation, and Amnesty International condemned Israel´s deportation in the strongest possible terms. By forcibly returning Israel to China, Kazakhstan violated two of its most binding commitments under international law, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture which both prohibit the return of any individual to a country where he or she faces a credible risk of torture, whether or not the person is a bona fide refugee.

The WUC and its member organizations fear that Israel´s fate will be the same as of the 20 Uyghurs deported back to China from Cambodia in December 2009 and whose whereabouts remain unknown until today. According to a Kazakh diplomat interviewed by Reuters, Chinese officials “gave written guarantees that Israel would not be executed” upon his return to China. However, China’s demonstrated lack of transparency regarding treatment of Uyghurs previously deported to China from other countries undermines the credibility of such guarantees. Uyghurs who have been extradited to China in the past, were detained, imprisoned, sentenced, tortured, executed or disappeared after their return to China (for some past cases see here).

The WUC and other human rights organizations have also protested the failure of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to protect Israel, a former history teacher, and prevent his deportation to China. On 3 May 2011, UNHCR decided to withdraw Israel´s refugee mandate status without any explanation and as a direct result of UNHCR’s decision, and apparently in stark contrast to the fundamental mission of the UNHCR, Israel was returned to a country that has a documented history of torturing and ill-treatment. UNHCR’s failure to release details in Ershidin’s case necessitate questions into the impartiality of the organization’s procedures. The UNHCR, as much as any multi-lateral agency, should not be immune to the principles of accountability and transparency, the cornerstones of democratic processes and essential elements in the protection of refugees from China.

Anne Enochsson, a Swedish MP, has demanded that her country’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs conduct an investigation into how Israel was allowed to be deported to China when he had been accepted for resettlement.

China has long sought to equate all Uyghur opposition to Chinese rule with terrorism. East Turkestan remains the only part of China where people are still executed for non-violent crimes of political opposition to the Chinese state. Chinese government authorities consistently fail to provide corroborating evidence for terror claims made against Uyghur individuals, and evidence that is cited is not made available for public scrutiny. Many observers, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have argued convincingly that claims regarding terrorism have been used to deflect international criticism of egregious human rights abuses in East Turkestan.

The WUC is convinced that Israel was extradited mainly due to Chinese pressure on Kazakhstan.
As the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) marks a decade and a half of existence, Beijing has intensified its campaign of intimidation in neighboring countries by using bilateral agreements with SCO members. The SCO members Kazakhstan, China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, are obliged to extradite individuals accused by another member state government of “terrorism,” “separatism,” or “extremism.” They may also have to prevent the granting of refugee status and corresponding documents to persons alleged to be involved in offenses related to "terrorism." SCO member states´ dismal domestic human rights record and disregard for the rights of refugees represent a blow against human rights in the region.

The WUC and its member organizations call upon the international community to demand accountability from China regarding his whereabouts and treatment and to press Chinese officials for information on Israel’s case, including his current location, whether or not he has been formally charged with a crime, and whether or not he has been given access to a lawyer of his choice, instead of a government-appointed lawyer. The international community must also take legal action against Kazakhstan and demand that the SCO account for the human rights impact of its practices such as, but not limited to, denials of asylum and forcible return of asylum seekers.

Note: Only 10 days after Israel´s extradition to China, on 9 June 2011, Kazakhstan again violated its international human rights obligations by extraditing at least 28 ethnic Uzbeks to Uzbekistan, which is also notorious for torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Since their extradition, the whereabouts, legal status and well-being are unknown.

Background on Ershidin Israel
Ershidin Israel fled China in September 2009 after having provided information to Radio Free Asia ( about the torture to death of the Uyghur man Shohret Tursun at the hands of Chinese security forces. Kazakh authorities have held Israel since June 2010 amid Chinese accusations he was involved in "terrorism activities." However, the WUC and other international NGOs firmly believe that these accusations are fabricated and a punishment for leaking Tursun´s case. The UNHCR granted him mandate refugee status in March 2010, and he was scheduled to depart for Sweden, which had offered him resettlement, on April 1, 2010. However, Kazakh authorities refused to issue the documents necessary for Israel to exit the country, and subsequently placed him in police custody. Kazakh courts repeatedly rejected his bid for Kazakh refugee status, and several days after a sixth court hearing on May 18, 2011, Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court issued a decision rejecting his final bid for political asylum. Both Kazakh and Chinese officials pressured the UNHCR to revoke Israel’s refugee status what happened finally on 3 May 2011. However, UNHCR refuses to disclose the reasoning behind the UNHCR’s decision to withdraw Israel´s refugee status, citing the organization’s confidentiality policy. Kazakh Foreign Ministry press secretary Ilyas Omarov stated that Kazakhstan handed Israel over to Chinese custody on May 30 at the request of Interpol.

See also:
Kazakhstan Deports Uyghur Teacher
RFA, 02 June 2011

Criticism Over Deportation
RFA, 05 June 2011

UNHCR Refuses to Shed Light
RFA, 06 June 2011

Kazakhstan extradites Uighur who helped publicise China’s brutal suppression of riots
The Telegraph, 06 June 2011

Kazakhstan Made Conflicting Accusations
RFA, 08 June 2011

Rights group criticizes Kazakhstan over extraditions
Reuters, 10 June 2011

China confirms extradited Uighur facing terror charges
Reuters, 14 June 2011

Fabricated Evidence Used in Deportation
RFA, 15 June 2011

Human Rights Violations against Uyghur People Discussed at 17th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva
World Uyghur Congress, 17 June 2011

From 30 May to 17 June, the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) took place in Geneva, Switzerland. The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) would like to thank the country delegations, the UN mandate Holders / Special Procedures, and the non-governmental organizations in consultative status to the UN that raised and discussed the Uyghurs´ plight at the HRC session, as well as the stakeholders that raised general human rights abuses in China.

Statements made under Item 2 (Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and report of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General)
During the general debate on item 2, the Society for Threatened Peoples denounced the enforced disappearances of Chinese, Mongolians, Tibetans and Uyghurs when they exercise their right to freedom of expression and opinion”.

Statements made on item 3 (“Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development”)
On 3 June 2011, during the Interactive Dialogue (ID) with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, several NGOs raised Uyghur and China related issues.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) dedicated its entire ID statement to the violation of freedom of expression in China. Among many other issues, HRW criticized the fact that the Chinese government is “cutting off the Internet entirely in areas hit by episodes of social unrest, such as Tibet in 2008, Xinjiang in 2009, and most recently parts of Inner Mongolia”. HRW also raised the problem of imprisoning people for daring to peacefully express their views, such as the Uyghurs or Tibetans. HRW stated “the government routinely asserts that only imposes restrictions on expression in line with Chinese law, neglecting to mention that such laws are incompatible with international standards”. HRW also expressed its concerns regarding charges on “incitement to subvert state power” often misused by the Chinese authorities to silence any form of peaceful dissent, especially against the ethnic groups, and called on the HRC to urge China to amend the definition of these charges.

On 6 June 2011, during the general debate on item 3 the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP, delivered an oral statement on the ongoing violation of Uyghurs´ freedom of expression raising individual cases such as the imprisonment of the Uyghur media workers Gulmire Imin, Memetjan Abdulla or Gheyret Niyaz. The STP also expressed its concern over the recent extradition of the Uyghur refugee Ershidin Israel from Kazakhstan to China and urged the Human Rights Council to demand China and Kazakhstan to disclose Mr. Israel´s current whereabouts, legal status and well-being. The STP asked the HRC to look into the SCO member states’ ongoing prioritization of questionable regional commitments over their international human rights obligations – particularly those obligations enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture, and the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The video of the intervention is available here.

Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme (RADDHO) expressed concern over the restrictions on freedom of expression in China and regret the “continued lack of consideration by China of all the economic, social and cultural rights of its ethnic minorities”.

Statements made on item 4 (“Human Rights situations that require the Council´s attention”)
On 15 June 2011, the general debate on item 4 took place. Both the U.S. and the Czech Republic raised the issues in their statements. The U.S. denounced that “China has still not accounted for 20 Uyghur Muslims who were forcibly returned from Cambodia in 2009” and expressed concern over the enforced disappearance of 300 Tibetan monks and the general violation of freedom of opinion and speech in China. The Czech Republic called upon the Chinese government to “establish an environment where human rights, such as freedom of expression and assembly, and the rights of national minorities, including Uyghurs and Tibetans, are fully respected”.

On behalf of the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty (NRP,, WUC Project Coordinator Jana Brandt delivered a statement under item 4. In its statement, the NRP condemned the Chinese authorities´ inaction and refusal to reveal the real circumstances of the tragic 5 July 2009 events and called upon the Human Rights Council to press for an independent investigation. Despite international calls, the Chinese authorities have not allowed an impartial investigation into the incident and the number of people killed, detained, imprisoned, executed and disappeared remains unclear. The NRP also expressed its concern that the root causes of the protests, namely, the crackdown on Uyghur culture, identity, freedom of expression and religion, as well as the ongoing economic discrimination have not yet been addressed. In addition, the NRP condemned the recent extraditions of the Uyghur refugee Ershidin Israel and of at least 28 ethnic Uzbeks from Kazakhstan to China and Uzbekistan respectively. NRP said it was extremely worried about the deepening collaboration between Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states whose dismal domestic human rights record and disregard for the rights of refugees represent a blow against human rights in the region. The video of the intervention is available here.

The NRP, in collaboration with the World Uyghur Congress, submitted a written statement on item 4 entitled “Second anniversary of the 5 July 2009 events in Urumqi, regional capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), People’s Republic of China: Two years of impunity”.

The Society for Threatened Peoples delivered a joint statement with the Nonviolent Radical Party and International Educational Development on the enforced disappearance of over 300 Tibetan monks of the Ngaba Kirti Monastery.  The STP stated that “given this background, it becomes the responsibility of this Council to address chronic human rights situation faced by Chinese, Mongolians, Tibetans and Uyghurs under Communist China” and urged the Chinese authorities “to receive the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on a fact-finding mission that will include visits to Inner Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang”.

For the full article on the 17th session, go to

2nd Anniversary of the 5 July 2009 Events: Two Years of Impunity
- Call for Action by the World Uyghur Congress –
On July 5, 2011 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 second anniversary of one of the saddest and most tragic days in the history of the Uyghur people and of East Turkestan 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 Urumqi, the regional capital of East Turkestan, and killed an untold number of protestors.  Ethnic unrest and violence followed, as well as one of the Chinese government’s fiercest and most repressive crackdowns on Uyghurs in history.

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 of minors); arbitrary sentencing of Uyghurs to death, life, and various jail terms after trials plagued with intense politicization and strangleholds on due process; arbitrary executions; and intensified repression of freedom of expression, including but not limited to the detention and sentencing of Uyghur webmasters, bloggers, and journalists.

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC), which promotes the human rights of the Uyghur people, and its affiliate organizations are organizing commemoration events around the world. A detailed action calendar will be published on WUC´s website soon.

In addition, the WUC calls on the international community (NGOs, parliaments, individuals, media…) to support the Uyghurs by issuing statements / press releases on 5 July 2011 on the ongoing human rights violations against the Uyghur people and express its disagreement with the Chinese government´s policies.

The international community must urge the People’s Republic of China to:
  • Conduct an independent effective investigation into the events of July 2009 to clarify the exact death toll
  • Immediately and unconditionally release all those who are only alleged to have protested peacefully on July 5th or who have been held without evidence and to ensure that those accused of cognizable crimes under international and domestic law are afforded due process, not subjected to torture or other forms of ill treatment, tried in an open and fair court, and given access to legal representation of their choice.
  • Prove that the trials were conducted according to international standards, including allowing defendants to hire lawyers of their own choosing, allowing them access to their family and lawyers, and informing family members in a timely fashion of detentions, charges and trials.
  • To address the root causes of the July 5th protest and the ethnic unrest, including the severe political and religious repression and economic discrimination to which Uyghurs are subjected and the dilution of Uyghurs’ language and culture. 

WUC Press Release on Xinjiang Work Conference
On 20 May 2011, the WUC published a press release on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Xinjiang Work Conference. One year ago, from 17 to 19 May 2010, the Xinjiang Work Conference, a joint conference of the Chinese Communist Party’s central committee and the State Council, China’s cabinet, was held in Beijing. The conference ended with an agreement on a new economic and development strategy for East Turkestan to prevent social and ethnic tensions and achieve “long-term stability.” The conference concluded with a budget of hundreds of billions of yuan to be spent in East Turkestan until 2020. In addition Kashgar, a Uyghur-concentrated city, was assigned to be established as a Special Economic Zone and to become the economic engine for East Turkestan´s growth. However, during the first year after the conference and the first millions of yuan pumped into the region, the situation in East Turkestan remains tense and Uyghurs do still not benefit from the economic development of their region. The conference was a response to the protest and following ethnic unrest of 5 July 2009 in Urumqi, East Turkestan´s regional capital, which left hundreds of people dead. 
UAA Press Release on Tiananmen Anniversary
On 2 June 2011, the Uyghur American Association (UAA) published a press release on the 22nd anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre calling upon the Chinese government to embrace democratic reforms and respect the rights of all Chinese citizens. The UAA firmly believes that until the Chinese government provides a full and fair account of the events of 4 June 1989 there will be no foundation for the pursuit of freedom and democracy in China today.
Radio Free Asia Interviews WUC Project Coordinator
On 8 June 2011, Radio Free Asia (RFA) Uyghur service interviewed WUC Project Coordinator Jana Brandt on the U.S. – China Legal Experts Dialogue which took take place in Washington, D.C. on June 8-9. Ms. Brandt said that is was crucial to remind China to standardize its judiciary according to international law standards and criticised the current lawlessness in China, especially against Uyghurs and Tibetans. She said that it was fundamental to raise the Uyghur issue during the dialogue because it is not only important to show the Chinese authorities that the international community is very aware of the human rights situation in East Turkestan, but by raising the HR violations against the Uyghurs it is also moral support for the Uyghurs themselves. On 10 June, RFA Uyghur Service published an article on the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council and the oral statement delivered by Jana Brandt on behalf of the Society for  Threatened Peoples on the violation of Uyghurs´freedom of expression and the extration of Ershidin Israel.
BBC Interviews WUC Secretary General
BBC interviewed WUC Secretary General Dolkun Isa in two occasions. On 31 May 2011, BBC Chinese Service published an interview on the extradition of the Uyghur refugee Ershidin Israel. On 14 June 2011, BBC Uzbek Service conducted an interview on Ershidin´s case after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei acknowledged Israel’s extradition and confirmed that he was being held in Chinese custody and that he will face "terrorism charges".

WUC Secretary General at International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy
WUC General Secretary Dolkun Isa attended the International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy from 11-13 May in Berlin, which is one of the world's leading conferences in the fields of international relations and cultural studies. He met with several leading figures and experts from international politics, academia, diplomacy and civil societies from across the world, among them the Yasar Yakis, former foreign minister of Turkey, Emil Constantinescu, former president of Romania, Janes Jansa, former primer minister of Slovenia, Rexhep Meidani, former president of Albania, Dr. Erkki Toumioja, former foreign minister of Finland, H.E Ambassador Jean Feyder, Ambassador of Luxembourg to the UN, H.E Ambassador Dan Mulhall, Ambassador of Ireland to Germany,  Lucinda Creighton, Minister of European affairs of Ireland, and raised the plight oft he Uyghurs in conversations and discussions with them.
Uyghur Women´s Committee in Austria and Switzerland
In order to strengthen solidarity of the Uyghur women community and enhance the women's engagement to the international campaign for freedom, human rights and democracy for the Uyghur people, on 14 May the Uyghur Women's Committee in Germany organized a tour to Austria and Switzerland for nearly 50 Uyghur women in Germany. 
Netherlands East Turkestan Uyghur Union at "Turkic People Cultural Forum"
The Netherlands East Turkestan Uyghur Union (NETUU) participated in the "Turkic People Cultural Forum" in the Dutch city Tilburg on 15 May. Members of the NETUU showed the Uyghur culture and prepared delicious Uyghur foods during the event, which was attended by several hundred members of different Turkic people living in the Netherlands.
Meeting Between Turkish Politicians and Uyghur Organizations
Turkish Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz, the Head of the Kocasitan region Bikir Yildiz and the AKP candidate for the Turkish Parliament Ömer Deniz as well as their colleges visited the office of the East Turkestan Culture and Solidarity Association on 20 May in Kayseri, Turkey. The WUC vice president Seyit Tumturk made a speech to welcome the delegation and have a productive talks over the Uyghur plight with the visiting guests.
Uyghur Meeting in Australia
East Turkistan Australian Association (ETAA) held a meeting on 22 May in Adelaide to discuss the East Turkestan Uyghur Conference, which was successfully closed on 8 May in Washington, DC. A number of people including the board members of the ETAA and Uyghurs living in Adelaide attended the meeting and made a discussion on how to better implement the strategies and deceptions made during the significant conference for the future of East Turkestan in Washington, DC.
WUC Secretary General at Bavarian Parliament
On 23 May 2011, Dolkun Isa, WUC Secretary General, attended a seminar entitled “Future. Immigration. Integration.” at the Bavarian parliament where he met several members of parliament.
Mongolians and Uyghurs Stage Demonstration in Amsterdam
To show solidarity to the Mongol activist, Uyghurs in Netherlands participated a joint demonstration in Amsterdam on 30 May against the latest crackdown on the peaceful Mongol demonstrators by the Chinese authorities in Inner Mongolia.
Tiananmen Commemoration in Brussels
On 4 June 2011, on the 22nd anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre in Beijing. The Chinese-Tibetan Friendship Society Europe (CTFSE) held a commemoration at the University of Brussels, Belgium. Chinese human rights activists, former Tiananmen students and survivors of the massacre, Tibetans, Uyghurs and westerners joined hands together on this unique event. 55 people in total participated. Flowers were laid at the Tiananmen Monument in the Parc of the Brussels University and the memorial by Chinese, Uyghurs and Tibetans, and the victims of the CCP regime and Tian An Men were commemorated with one minute of silence. Afterwards, representatives of different groups and organizations gave a speech at the university, among them Lobsang Nyima, representative of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Jian Zhang who lives in Paris (France), a former Tian An Men student who participated in the protests in 1989., Bahtiyar and Garaitjan Rozi of the Uyghur Support Group in The Netherlands, Rigzin Choedon Genkhang, representative of the Office of Tibet in Brussels, Tsaye Kelsang, President of the Tibetan Community Belgium, and Andrew Swan from the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.  
WUC Demonstrations in Berlin against Extradition of Ershidin Israel
On 8 June 2011 and following a decision by WUC´s Steering Committee, the WUC organized demonstrations in front of the Kazakh and Chinese embassies in Berlin to protest against the extradition of the Uyghur refugee Ershidin Israel from Kazakhstan to China. 60 people in total attended the demonstration. During the protest in front of the Kazakh embassy, two embassy staff members approached the demonstrators to discuss the Israel´s case with them. WUC´s vice president Asgar Can and WUC Secretary General Dolkun Isa handed over a letter in which they expressed its concerns over Israel´s forced deportation as well as over past extradition cases and called upon the Kazakh government to respond to its international human rights obligations and not extradite Uyghurs back to China where they face torture and ill-treatment. In the letter, the WUC also expressed its concerns over the treatment and discrimination of ethnic Uyghurs in Kazakhstan and the deepening cooperation between Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states (among them China and Kazakhstan) whose dismal domestic human rights record and disregard for the rights of refugees represent a blow against human rights in the region.  
EU-China Human Rights Dialogue
On 16 June 2011 the European Union and the People's Republic of China held the 30th round of the "EU-China Dialogue on Human Rights" in Beijing. The WUC had provided information on the human rights situation in East Turkestan to members of the European delegation, as well as a list of individual cases of concern. The EU delegation to Beijing was led by Jim Moran, Director for Asia at the European External Action Service of the EU. The Chinese delegation was led by Chen Xu, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China. The two sides reviewed recent developments in human rights and had an in-depth discussion on the rights of minorities.  This looked in particular at the situation of ethnic Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Mongols. There were extensive discussions on the rule of law, freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, the situation of human rights lawyers and defenders.  The EU side sought further information about reports of torture of people in detention.  It repeated its call for the ratification by China of the ICCPR and of the reform of the Re-education through Labor system. The EU and China also discussed a number of specific items related to the rule of law.  The EU side expressed its concerns about the use of forced disappearances and extra-legal detentions. It stressed the importance of an independent judiciary and protection of the rights of lawyers to exercise their profession. The next regular meeting will be held in the second half of 2011, in Europe.

Review of Kazakhstan at the UN Human Rights Committee
In from 11-29 July 2011, the 102nd session of the UN Human Rights Committee will take place in Geneva. The Committee will consider among others, the country situation of Kazakhstan during the session. The WUC together with Human Rights in China (HRIC) will attend the review to raise different issues of concern, among them the recent extradition cases as well as the human rights abuses under the umbrella of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

New Video on 5 July 2009 Events Published by Italian Media
On 9 June, the Italian media Tiempi published an so far unknown video of the 5 July 2009 events which evidences the active role of Chinese security forces and party officials in inciting Han-Chinese people to attack innocent Uyghurs.
Article on Uyghurs in German Media
On 7 June 2011, the German Süddeutsche Zeitung published an extensive article entitled “Uiguren?” on the plight of the Uyghur people, raising a many different topics, such as the extradition of Ershidin Israel, the events of 5 July 2009, the violation of freedom of expression and other basic human rights. 

Uyghurs / East Turkestan
Tibet and Inner Mongolia
Wife and son of detained Mongolian human rights activist charged
The International Freedom of Expression eXchange, 12 May 2011

Chinese forces detain 300 Tibetan monks for a month
Reuters, 23 May 2011

China Clamps Down in Bid to Halt Protests in Inner Mongolia
Wall Street Journal, 30 May 2011

Danish Parliament Calls for Protection of Human Rights in Tibet
The Tibet Post International, 1 June 2011

China: Protesters Defy Crackdown
Eurasia Review, 1 June 2011

Travel Ban Ahead of Anniversaries

RFA, 10 June 2011

Fresh Protests in Kardze
RFA, 12 June 2011


The Uyghur People
The Uyghur people are indigenous to East Turkestan [also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China]. For many years, the Chinese government has waged an intense and often brutal campaign to repress all forms of Uyghur dissent, crack down on Uyghurs’ peaceful religious activities and independent expressions of ethnicity, dilute Uyghurs’ culture and identity as a distinct people, and threaten the survival of the Uyghur language.

The authorities have routinely equated Uyghurs’ peaceful political, religious, and cultural activities with the “three evils” – terrorism, separatism and religious extremism – and have couched their persecution of the Uyghurs as efforts to quash these “three evils.” The authorities have also economically marginalized the Uyghurs in East Turkestan through intense and blatant racial discrimination in employment.

The Uyghurs are a Turkic people and have long practiced a moderate, traditional form of Sunni Islam, strongly imbued with the folklore and traditions of a rural, oasis-dwelling population.
East Turkestan
East Turkestan lies in the very heart of Asia. Situated along the fabled ancient Silk Road, it has been a prominent centre of commerce for more than 2000 years. The current territorial size of East Turkestan is 1.82 million square kilometers. The neighboring Chinese province annexed part of the territory as a result of the Chinese communist invasion of 1949.

East Turkestan borders with China and Mongolia to the east, Russia to the north, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the west, and Tibet to the south.

According to latest Chinese census in 2010, the current population of East Turkestan is 21.81 million including 8.75 million ethnic Han Chinese (40,1%) illegal settled in East Turkestan after 1949 (the ethnic Han Chinese numbered 200,000 in 1949). The Uyghurs make up around 10.2 million Uyghurs (according to the 2000 census; the numbers for 2010 have not been published yet) and constitute still the majority of East Turkestan. However, the population shifts more and more in favor of the Han Chinese and make the Uyghurs strangers in their own land. However, Uyghur sources put the real population of Uyghurs around 20 million.
Events of 5 July 2009
The human rights situation of the Uyghur population in East Turkestan has been dire for decades and has even worsened since the July 2009 protest and ethnic unrest in Urumqi, the capital of East Turkestan.

The July 2009 protest began with a peaceful demonstration by Uyghurs in Urumqi that was brutally and lethally suppressed by Chinese security forces. The Uyghurs were protesting against a lack of government action in regard to a deadly attack on Uyghur factory workers in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province in the south of China. The violent and illegal reaction of the Chinese security forces to the peaceful protest led then to ethnic violence and riots between Uyghurs and Han Chinese, during which hundreds of Uyghur and Han Chinese civilians were killed.

According to data published by the Chinese Xinhua news agency, 197 people were killed, but the World Uyghur Congress estimates – based on eyewitness reports - that more than 1000 people died in the riots. However, until today, the exact death toll on both sides is not clear since so far no independent investigation of these events has been undertaken.

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is an international umbrella organization that represents the collective interest of the Uyghur people both in East Turkestan and abroad and promotes Uyghur human rights and a peaceful and non-violent solution based on rule of law for the conflict in East Turkestan. For more information, please visit our website.

WUC´s monthly newsletter provides the latest information on Uyghur related issues and informs about the work and activities of the WUC and its affiliate members. Older editions of the newsletter can be viewed from the web.

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© 2011 World Uyghur Congress    |    Published: 20 June 2011
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