The recent Tiananmen incident that led to the death of five people once again revived the debate on the Xinjiang/Uyghur question. The Uyghur issue not only exposes deficiencies in human rights and fundamental liberties in China but also appears as a hurdle for China’s two most pronounced strategic imperatives, namely “building a harmonious society” and the “peaceful rise of China.” PRC’s reaction to the recent incident and its pattern of handling crises of ethnic tension are increasingly dragging China into a strategic pit, which gets deeper with every instance of ethnic violence related to Tibet or Xinjiang. Beijing’s reluctance to acknowledge the root causes of minority discontent leads the PRC to “resolve problems in its own way” by using force, instilling fear in society, marginalizing minorities, and radicalizing dissent groups.
East Turkestan & the Uyghurs
College students in China's restive western Xinjiang region will not graduate unless their political views are approved, a university official said, as the country wages what school administrators called an ideological war against separatism.
A top ethnic minority Uyghur scholar and activist has hit out at moves to ban college students in China's troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang from graduating unless they pass a test of political views, saying that the policy is "dangerous" and "ridiculous." "The Xinjiang authorities are in the process of doing something very dangerous," Uyghur university professor Ilham Tohti, a vocal critic of China’s policies toward ethnic minority Uyghurs, said in response to official media reports from a regional education conference.
Beijing has alleged that the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement,” which purportedly has links with Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida as well as many other Central and West Asian terrorist organisations is waging a “holy war with the aim of setting up a theocratic ‘Islamic state’ in Xinjiang.” While this allegation leveled against the Uyghur community is indeed damning, Beijing has unfortunately failed to provide even a shred of credible evidence to support its claim.
A Chinese government worker in the ancient Silk Road oasis of Kashgar beckons two women to her street side stand and logs their details under the gaze of a surveillance camera. Their offence: wearing veils. The "Project Beauty" campaign aims to discourage women from covering their faces - a religious practice for some Muslim Uighurs, the largest ethnic group in China's Xinjiang region - in an attempt to improve security.
Chinese authorities posted unarmed Uyghur auxiliary policemen at the frontline of an attack on a police station in Xinjiang which left three of them dead before a SWAT team gunned down the assailants, witnesses and family members of the deceased said Friday. The authorities had said that nine ethnic Uyghur youths, armed with knives and sickles, were shot dead while storming the Siriqbuya (in Chinese, Selibuya) police station in Kashgar prefecture’s Maralbeshi (Bachu) county last week in a possible suicide mission.
An audio recording attributing the fatal crash in China’s Tiananmen Square last month to an ethnic Uyghur “jihadi” organization surfaced this weekend on a website that monitors armed groups. The recording, widely reported by international media, will be used by Beijing to justify its repression of the Muslim minority in the western region of Xinjiang and across the country, according to Uyghur affairs experts and rights activists.
Ethnic Uyghurs from around the world gathered in Washington this week to commemorate the anniversary of two short-lived independent republics set up by their forefathers within what is today called the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. Around 100 Uyghurs attended a ceremony on Tuesday at Capitol Hill in Washington to remember the establishment of East Turkestan republics on Nov. 12 in 1933 and 1944.
(Reuters) - China's far-flung western region of Xinjiang is demanding that lawyers guarantee family members don't wear burqas or grow long beards, the latest government move critics say unfairly targets the region's Muslim Uighur ethnic community.
Lawyers in Turpan, an oasis city southeast of the regional capital, Urumqi, have to sign a pledge denouncing extremism and participation in "illegal religious activities", the Xinjiang judicial affairs department website said on Tuesday.