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China Police Enforced Uyghur Family Burial in Xinjiang Province

Posted by Author on September 22, 2009

Radio Free Asia, 2009-09-21 –

HONG KONG—Police in China’s remote Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region surrounded the home of an ethnic Uyghur man who died in police custody and forced the family to bury him without an inquiry into how he died, the man’s father said.

The burial on Sunday ended a tense standoff between police in remote Lengger [in Chinese, Langan] village and the family of Shohret Tursun, 31, whose badly bruised and disfigured body was released to his relatives on Saturday.

On Saturday, one villager said eight trucks of soldiers and two other armed vehicles had surrounded Tursun’s family home in Lengger [in Chinese, Langan] village in Qorghas [in Chinese, Huocheng] county, Ili prefecture—after the family refused to bury him as instructed without an inquiry.

“We locked the door of the room where we keep the body, but the police officers broke the lock,” Tursun’s father, Tursun Ishan, said in an interview. “There were too many…”

“There were police officers waiting in front of our door. From the cemetery to the house, it was full of police officers on the street. Since yesterday, there were police officers on each and every corner of the city. They wouldn’t let people from other neighborhoods join the funeral.”

“My two daughters were trying to prevent the police officers from entering, but the police were very harsh with them. We were forced to bury [the body],” Ishan said.

“They told me that he had a heart attack. But it was a lie. It is a lie. My son never had a medical problem in his life,” Ishan said.

“His body was full of wounds and bruises—his legs, belly, and back were covered with wounds and scars. His chest was full of bruises.”

Police continued to surround the family home and the cemetery shortly after midnight Tuesday, he said.

Ethnic rioting

Tursun, a member of the Uyghur ethnic minority and the father of a two-year-old, was among some 40 men from Qorghas detained around the time of deadly protests July 5 in the regional capital, Urumqi, villagers said.

The protests by Uyghurs, a largely Muslim Turkic people, followed alleged official mishandling of earlier ethnic clashes in far-away Guangdong province.

The July 5 protest sparked days of deadly rioting in Urumqi, pitting Uyghurs against majority Han Chinese and ending with a death toll of almost 200, by the government’s tally.

Tursun was detained July 6 in Urumqi. He was transferred to Ili on July 18 and Qorghas on July 23, he father said.

“If I had bribed the police officers, my son would probably be released,” he said. “I considered selling my land to save my child, but his wife and mother were afraid a bribe would make him look guilty.”

“Another boy in the same prison cell with my son was released after his family paid 30,000” yuan, or about U.S. $4,400, he said……. (more details from Radio Fraa Asia)

One Response to “China Police Enforced Uyghur Family Burial in Xinjiang Province”

  1. 迷你倉 said

    A court in western China’s Xinjiang region has sentenced six people to death in the first trials over July 5 riots that left nearly 200 people dead, state-run television reported.

    China Central Television said one other defendant was sentenced to life in prison over the unrest, the worst ethnic violence to hit China in decades.
    During the rioting, members of the ethnic Uygur minority – most of whom are Muslims – went on a rampage in attacks directed mainly at members of China’s dominant Han ethnic group.

    The riots left 197 people dead, most of them Han, according to the government.

    Officials at the Urumqi court refused to immediately confirm the sentences, but CCTV said the death sentences were meted out due to the severity of the crimes.

    Those sentenced appeared to all have Uygur names.

    Police have detained at least 718 people suspected of crimes related to the unrest, earlier reports said.

    State-controlled Xinhua News Agency quoted the city’s prosecutor late last month saying 21 people had so far been charged with crimes including homicide, arson, robbery and property damage related to the riots.

    Footage broadcast by CCTV showed deserted streets in front of the Urumqi court, with riot police out in force.

    Urumqi has been under extremely heavy security since the riots, tightened amid a wave of needle attacks beginning in late August which Han have blamed on Uygurs.

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