L’Associazione degli Uighuri in esilio chiede la libertà per due studenti uighuri recentemente arrestati

Miradil Yasin, 20 anni, e Mutellip Teyip, 19 anni, sono stati arrestati dalla polizia cinese il 20 dicembre a Urumchi, capitale della regione del Xinjiang. I due giovani stavano distribuendo dei volantini che invitavano gli studenti del Campus dell’Università del Xinjiang, a partecipare ad una protesta pacifica. Non si hanno altre informazioni riguardo all’accaduto e se vi siano stati altri arresti. “Questi giovani studenti devono essere immediatamente liberati” dichiara Rebiya Kadeer, capo dell’organizzazione uighura. Segue il comunicato in inglese.

For immediate release

December 30, 2008, 7:00 EST

Contact: Uyghur American Association +1 (202) 349 1496

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) urges Chinese government authorities to release two young Uyghur students detained in East Turkestan (also known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC)) in relation to the organization of a peaceful protest. UHRP learned that the two university students were arrested in the regional capital of Urumchi for distributing leaflets on the Xinjiang University campus urging students to join in a peaceful demonstration. Xinjiang University police arrested Miradil Yasin, 20, and Mutellip Teyip, 19, on December 20, and then transferred them to the Urumchi Public Security Bureau for further investigation and interrogation.

It is presently unclear what demands were on the leaflet and how many more students may have been arrested following the interrogation of Miradil Yasin and Mutellip Teyip. It is also unclear which university the two students attended.

“These young students must be released immediately,” said Uyghur democracy leader Rebiya Kadeer. “Their only “crime” was to attempt to organize a peaceful protest. I fear that, if China’s track record is any indication, their detention will be used as a symbol to intimidate other young Uyghurs, and they will be treated harshly. Instead of allowing Uyghurs to air their grievances peacefully, and listening to their complaints, the Chinese government crushes even the smallest expression of dissent.”

UHRP has also learned that, during the same week, leaflets were distributed at the August First Agricultural University and the Xinjiang Medical University in Urumchi, possibly by the same two students. The leaflets urged Uyghur students from local universities to gather at the XUAR Sports Stadium for a demonstration, and then circle Urumchi streets in protest. Since the organizers were arrested and subsequent security and prevention measures were implemented, the peaceful protest did not take place.

On December 24, Xinjiang University held a special ceremony commending the police officers for arresting Miradil Yasin and Mutellip Teyip, and awarded 5,000 yuan each to police officers Ilyar Ablimit, Niyazmuhemmet Imam and Wang Bing. Underscoring the official significance attached to the drive to prevent any type of peaceful protest, top university officials and relevant Urumchi and provincial government officials attended the ceremony. Xinjiang University Party Secretary Zhang Xianliang stated during the ceremony that XUAR Party Secretary Wang Lequan was extremely pleased with the university’s extraordinary efforts in preventing the potential protest.

According to reports on the ceremony posted on the Xinjiang University website (http://www.xju.edu.cn/) on December 25, Wang Bing confiscated 220 leaflets from the students. One of the reports described the leaflets as “reactionary, full of poison, harboring evil intentions, and with absurd plans to incite students to take to the streets in protest and to create chaos.” The report goes on to state that Xinjiang University is launching ideological education activities to oppose splittism, and is urging university staff to model themselves after the three police officers and do all they can to protect campus security and stability. The second report quotes Zhang Xianliang as calling for heightened monitoring of Internet and cell phone use on campus.

A “life or death struggle” was announced by Xinjiang Party Secretary Wang Lequan in August, following a series of violent attacks in East Turkestan. In a speech, Wang stated that security forces must “stick to a strategy of seizing the initiative to strike preemptively, closely guard against and attack separatist sabotage by the three forces and never allow our enemies to gain strength.” Wang has presided over a period of political repression and extremely rigid social controls for Uyghurs in East Turkestan, and has spearheaded a drive to blur the distinction between peaceful dissent and terrorism in the region. Media reports suggested that large-scale military, public security and armed police personnel were mobilized in East Turkestan in the fall, and news reports have indicated the implementation of intensified ideological campaigns throughout the region in recent months.

Thousands of Uyghurs were arrested in Olympics-related security sweeps of Kashgar, Ghulja, Artush and other cities in East Turkestan prior to the Olympic Games in Beijing. The Olympics-related crackdown on Uyghurs also extended beyond East Turkestan to areas of the PRC outside the region, with reports indicating that Uyghur residents of Beijing were pressured to leave the city.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, the Chinese government has used the “war on terror” to justify harsh repression of the Uyghur people and project an image of Uyghurs as terrorists or radical Islamists on the world stage. Without providing credible evidence of a substantial terrorist threat, PRC officials have carried out widespread arrests and initiated a series of “security” campaigns in East Turkestan under the pretext of anti-terror efforts.

December 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of a demonstration by Uyghur students in Beijing in which they called for equality and human rights. Thousands of Uyghur students marched peacefully in Urumchi in June 1988, calling for an end to ethnic discrimination in East Turkestan.

UHRP calls upon the international community to urge the Chinese government to release Miradil Yasin and Mutellip Teyip, as well as any other students who may have been detained because of their involvement in organizing a peaceful protest. UHRP urges the Chinese government to allow university students the freedom of assembly and expression, and to cease the persecution of Uyghur students in the name of “stability”.

Please see:

Xinjiang University commends three staff members for preventing the dissemination of reactionary leaflets

Xinjiang University applauds three security personnel, including Niyazmuhemmet Imam

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The Uyghur American Association (UAA) works to promote the preservation and flourishing of a rich, humanistic and diverse Uyghur culture, and to support the right of the Uyghur people to use peaceful, democratic means to determine their own political future.

The UAA has undertaken the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) for the purpose of promoting improved human rights conditions for Uyghurs and other indigenous groups in East Turkistan, on the premise that the assurance of basic human rights will facilitate the realization of the community’s democratic aspirations.

Uyghur Human Rights Project

Uyghur American Association

1701 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Suite 300

Washington, D.C. 20006

Tel: +1 (202) 349 1496

Fax: +1 (202) 349 1491





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