A US-based group of exiled Uighurs issued a statement yesterday saying it feared the Chinese government would launch a “fierce” repression of Uighurs in its northwestern Xinjiang region after the Olympics.
The Uyghur American Association (UAA) said recent comments made by top Chinese officials and the tightened restrictions and many arrests following a spate of deadly attacks this month were indications that China may be planning a tough crackdown once the Olympics end.
The region’s Communist Party secretary, Wang Lequan (王樂泉), recently stated that all levels of government officials should understand that China faces a “life or death” struggle to quell Uighur unrest.
China’s Political Consultative Committee head Zhu Hailun also said in a televised news conference on Monday that government forces must “strike hard” at the three “evil forces” (terrorism, separatism and extremism), and mobilize the masses to guard against these forces at all levels of society, the group said.
It said that another group, the Uyghur Human Rights Project, had heard reliable reports that all non-resident Uighurs in the city of Korla in Xinjiang had been detained and told they would be released after the Beijing Olympics were over.
The alleged detention of non-resident Uighurs in Korla reportedly began following a series of bombings China said were carried out by Uighurs in nearby Kucha County on Aug. 10.
UAA reiterated the Munich-based World Uighur Congress’ (WUC) recent reports that more than 100 Uighurs have been arrested in Kashgar following an attack on paramilitary police in the city on Aug. 4, which killed 16 officers.
In addition, at least 90 Uighurs, including several women, have reportedly been arrested in and near Kucha following the Kucha attacks, the UAA said, also backing the WUC’s claims.
“At present, Uighurs do not feel secure anywhere in China, including East Turkestan, as they are seen as political suspects by the PRC [People’s Republic of China] authorities,” the group said.
UAA quoted Rebiya Kadeer, leader of the Uighur human rights movement, as saying: “I am extremely concerned that the Chinese government will launch a ‘life and death struggle’ on the Uighur people once the international community’s focus has shifted from China.”
Meanwhile, an exiled student leader who took part in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 said yesterday that China had blocked him from visiting Hong Kong during the Olympics.
Wang Dan (王丹) said in a statement from Los Angeles that the Chinese consulate in that city refused to accept his application for a visa to visit Hong Kong for a talk yesterday.
Wang said the consulate rejected his application because his Chinese passport expired in 2003 — but Chinese officials have also refused to renew his passport. He currently travels on a travel document issued by the US government.
“As the Olympics are being held, we’ve seen the Chinese government promise to be more open to the world. But it can’t even be open to its own citizens. How can this kind of openness convince people?” Wang said in his statement.
The former student leader said he applied for a Hong Kong visa once before and was also denied.
A former British colony, Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, but it maintains separate political and financial systems from the mainland and has promised Western-style civil liberties commonly denied in China.
Wang rose to global prominence as one of the students who led the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. After a deadly crackdown on the demonstrations, Wang was jailed and later went into exile in the US.
Meanwhile, the US urged China to release eight US nationals detained after pro-Tibet protests in Beijing during the Games.
“We have asked for their immediate release and are continuing to follow their cases closely,” embassy spokeswoman Susan Stevenson said.
She said US officials had met the pro-Tibet activists, who did not complain of being mistreated.
“The US government encourages the government of China to demonstrate respect for human rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of religion of all people during the Olympic Games,” Stevenson said.
COMMUNICATION: A US representative said that Starshield is inactive in and around Taiwan, which could put US military personnel at risk in the Western Pacific in a conflict Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) might have contravened its Pentagon contract by not providing access to its satellite communication network Starshield in and around Taiwan, a letter from a US House of Representatives committee to the company said. In September last year, the US Department of Defense awarded SpaceX a one-year contract for Starshield access, worth US$100 million. A few months before that, the Pentagon also commissioned SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network to be used by Ukrainian forces amid Russia’s invasion. Starshield is a derivative of Starlink intended for military use. SpaceX has long worked closely with the US military and intelligence agencies, which
TWO REPORTS: The body called on EU states to support the meaningful participation of Taiwan in international organizations, as well as closer cooperation with the nation The European Parliament has backed deepening ties with Taiwan and voiced concern about heightened tension across the Taiwan Strait in reports on two major security policies, which include a passage denying that Taiwan is subordinate to China. The parliament adopted the annual report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy in a vote of 338 in favor, 86 against and 122 abstentions during a plenary session from Monday to yesterday. It also passed the annual report on the implementation of the Common Security and Defense Policy in a vote of 350 in favor, 91 against and 96 abstentions. “Neither Taiwan
WAR GAMES: While US and Japanese militaries practice coordinating troops to stage landings, Taiwan is next month to test artillery and uncrewed aerial surveillance vehicles The US Marine Corps and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force have begun a military drill to simulate the retaking of outlying islands in Kyushu and Okinawa Prefecture in a conflict scenario, the Sankei Shimbun reported yesterday. The drill, commonly known as “Iron Fist,” has been held in the US since 2006 before being moved to Japan for the first time this year, it said. The large-scale operations are conducted with a possible “Taiwan emergency” in mind, aiming to keep China in check, it said. Unlike last year’s exercises, which focused on on-site training, this year’s maneuvers include strategy formulation and command for each
NEVER FORGET: Feb. 28 is a day to demand justice and redress, and remember the long, hard road Taiwanese walked to democracy, Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che said President-elect William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said he would work to safeguard the nation’s security and democracy to ensure freedom and economic prosperity, and that the tragic events of the 228 Incident “never happen in Taiwan again.” The Incident refers to the indiscriminate killing of a person in a crowd on Feb. 27, 1947, and the gunning down by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government of protesters at a resulting demonstration the next day. It was followed by a brutal crackdown. Estimates of the number of eventual deaths vary from 10,000 to more than 30,000. The Incident was closely followed by the White