Sun, Jan 12, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Group stages sit-in for Uighurs in China

SUPPRESSED:The group said Uighurs’ treatment in China did not receive enough attention and Taiwanese must be made aware of the oppression this group faces

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Members of the Taiwan Friends of Uighurs hold a sit-in demonstration at the Taipei Main Railway Station yesterday in response to World Uyghur Congress President Rebiya Kadeer’s protest against the killing of Uighurs in China.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The Taiwan Friends of Uighurs (TFU) has joined the cause voiced by the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) in calling for an end to the Chinese government maltreatment of Uighurs by staging a sit-in demonstration at Taipei Main Station.

The group, founded in June last year, said it received a call from WUC president Rebiya Kadeer on Friday afternoon informing it of the worldwide demonstration that has been scheduled to take place in Taiwan, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, US and Canada between Friday and tomorrow.

According to a statement on the congress’ official Web site, the demonstration “seeks to draw attention to the Chinese government’s systematic human rights violations, especially extrajudicial killings, against Uighurs in East Turkestan,” also known as the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

“We are hoping that the event will raise awareness of the suffering of the Uighur people under China’s rule among the Taiwanese public,” TFU executive director Marie Yang (楊月清) said yesterday.

“The Chinese government has continued to suppress minorities in China. Tibetans have received more public attention due to their world-renowned spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, but Uighurs’ plight is less well known,” she said.

The relative inattention might have to do with the branding of the WUC by the Chinese government as a terrorist-related separatist organization and its leader “an ironclad separatist colluding with terrorists and Islamic extremists,” according to the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily, along with the Taiwanese government’s ban on Kadeer’s entry into the nation in 2009 citing “security concerns.”

Yang called the accusation baseless.

“The WUC’s office is just a block away from the US Congress and the organization has also received funding from the US government,” Yang said.

TFU chairman Paul Lin (林保華) said there were at least 10 known incidents of bloodshed in the restive western autonomous region last year, adding that they were “bloodshed” rather than “terrorist attacks” as described by some Taiwanese, Hong Kong and overseas Chinese media repeating the Chinese government’s stance.

“However, the Chinese government has failed to ferret out a single gun from the resisting Uighur people in these ‘terrorist attacks.’ All they found were machetes, other kinds of knives and the so-called improvised explosive devices that were simply bottles filled with oil,” he said.

Lin mentioned an incident in 2012 that was claimed by the Chinese government to be a “hijack attempt,” which was in fact simply “a fight between six Uighurs and some Han Chinese on the plane.”

Two Uighur passengers died as the result of the fight, and the other four were arrested, of which three have since been executed, Lin said.

“The Chinese report later claimed the Uighurs involved had carried explosives onto the plane, but withdrew the accusation after receiving protests from the ground crew, who would be held accountable for negligence if the allegation was true.”

The Han people involved were praised as heroes and lavishly rewarded, which Lin described as “hush money.”

Lin called on Taiwanese to be aware of the human rights violations in China, especially at a time when Western democracies are bowing to Beijing’s economic power.

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