Analysis: Are the Uyghur Muslims being persecuted in China?

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 12:12 -- Kanat

Almost three quarters of all people arrested in China for "endangering state security" last year came from the western Xinjiang Province, according to report from an American Dui Hua Foundation. The province, which boarders Afghanistan a number of former Soviet Muslim republics, has seen ethnic tensions raise in recent years between the Han Chinese and indigenous Uyghur Muslim groups.

Almost three quarters of all people arrested in China for "endangering state security" last year came from the western Xinjiang Province, according to report from an American Dui Hua Foundation. The province, which boarders Afghanistan a number of former Soviet Muslim republics, has seen ethnic tensions raise in recent years between the Han Chinese and indigenous Uyghur Muslim groups.
 
Xinjiang's official status as an 'autonomous region' in China much like the state of Tibet, but has historically been under direct control from central government, and a policy of settling ethnic Chinese into the region has greatly diminished the size of the Uyghur population, which now stands a 43 percent in the province. This has been followed by curbs on religious and cultural freedoms, with the Chinese government restricting the number of Uyghurs who can take part in the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and the steady phasing out of the Uyghur language, which is written in Arabic, from schools and government offices. Increasing Ethnic tensions and violence, as in in 2009 riots broke out in the regional capital, Urumqi, killing almost 200 people.
So, is China looking to eliminate the Uyghurs from the province? Is this cultural or economic reasons? 
 
Joining John Rees to discuss this in the studio is Enver Tohti Bugda, former President of the Uyghur Association UK, by Skype we are joined by Christian Tyler, Author of Wild West China: The Taming of Xinjiang. And on the Phone we are joined by Brad Adams, head of the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, Dr Arzu Merali: Director of Research at the Islamic Human Rights Commission and Kaiser Abdurusul, President of International PEN Uyghur Centre.
 
(Islamic Channel Current Affairs, www.islamchannel.tv)