BEIJING (Reuters) - China decried what it called interference in its internal affairs on Friday, after both the United States and European Union voiced concern over the detention of a high-profile ethnic Uighur academic from the restive western region of Xinjiang. Police in Beijing on Wednesday seized Ilham Tohti, a prominent economist who has championed the rights of the Muslim Uighur community, from his home and his whereabouts were unknown, his wife and a close friend told Reuters.
The bleak outlook for Uyghurs hoping to succeed in this Han dominated system has led to increased tension drawn upon ethnic lines. Protests against the Han influx became increasingly violent during the 1990s in response to the CCP’s tightening grip on Xinjiang’s administration. Although protests decreased in the early 2000s, the riots of 2009 were a bloody wake-up call to the worsening state of Uyghur-Han relations. The Chinese government, however, blamed these acts of violence not on state policy but on the encouragement of international agitators such as Rabiya Qadir, the leader of the World Uyghur Congress. The government labels all Uyghur violence as “terrorist acts” as a way to associate Uyghur separatism with global Islamic extremism and point the blame to causes external to Xinjiang’s domestic situation.
Police took Tohti, a vocal critic of Beijing's policies in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang, and his mother away from the family home in Beijing between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, the Uyghur Online website said. Police officers from Beijing and from the Xinjiang regional police department locked Tohti's wife and the couple's two children in the bathroom during the arrest and seized all the family's communications devices, the report said.
Wednesday's detention is the latest indication of the government's increasing hardline stance on dissent surrounding Xinjiang, where a series of violent riots in the past year have killed at least 91 people, rights activists say. Xinjiang is home to the Muslim Uighur people who speak a Turkic language. Many resent what they see as oppressive treatment by the government, though Beijing says they are granted wide religious, cultural and linguistic freedoms. Police in Beijing seized Ilham Tohti, a prominent Uighur economist who has championed the rights of the Uighur community in Xinjiang, at his home and his whereabouts were unknown, his wife and close friend told Reuters.
The Uyghur people's modern relationship with China is often sketched by analysts in terms of historic milestones. For example, the onset of the reform period in China in the late 1970s ushered in a period of détente; a signal that this was eroding came with unrest in 1990 in Baren. The definitive turning-point was, however, reached when Chinese forces killed Uyghur protesters in Ghulja in 1997. If this led Uyghurs in general to lose whatever belief they had had in the Chinese state, the deadly inter-ethnic violence in Urumchi in 2009 is cited as the moment when relations between Han and Uyghur communities became irretrievable.
Mr Reyim, 31, is a Uyghur (pronounced "weega" or "weecour"). He hails from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, and he is eager to share his food with those in his adopted homeland. "Not many Kiwis will ever get a chance to travel to Xinjiang, so by starting a restaurant serving Uyghur food I think it will be the only way they will get a chance to experience our food," Mr Reyim said.
The counter-terrorism dialogue between China and India finally took a serious turn in 2013 as the two sides discussed the issue of Afghanistan for the first time. The impending departure of Western combat forces from Afghanistan and the spectre of looming chaos seem to have persuaded Beijing that it cannot ignore the “Af-Pak” challenge forever. The two sides decided to initiate a long overdue dialogue on Afghanistan, which took place April 18, 2013, in Beijing.
Three Chinese men unlawfully detained by the United States at the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention camp in the island of Cuba were recently cleared for release to the Slovak Republic in Central Europe. At one point, however, these Muslims were ready to start a new life in Costa Rica, at least until the People’s Republic of China (PRC) got in the way.
Chinese authorities in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang have launched a New Year "strike hard" campaign targeting cell phones, computers, and religious materials belonging to ethnic minority Uyghurs, an exile group and local residents said on Thursday. "Since Jan. 1, the authorities have been engaged in raids and searches for cultural products ... and a 'strike hard' campaign in Uyghur neighborhoods," Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the exile World Uyghur Congress (WUC) group said.
Chinese president and Communist Party chief Xi Jinping made a major strategic decision regarding northwestern China's troubled Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region towards the end of last year, reports the website of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao. The Politburo Standing Committee, China's top decision-making body, heard a special report on Xinjiang issues on Dec. 19, with Xi personally ordering departments to develop major strategies to tackle problems in the region over the following week, said Ta Kung Pao, citing a Jan. 7 report in the Chinese-language Xinjiang Daily.