Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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  • Books to Read

    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
  • Did you know

    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘NW China’ Category

Top EU Official Asks China to Account for Missing Chinese Lawyer Gao Zhisheng

Posted by Author on February 10, 2010

Human Rights in China, Feb. 10, 2010-

In a statement issued on February 9, 2010, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, asked the Chinese government to “clarify without delay the situation of Gao Zhisheng and to open a fully independent and transparent investigation into his disappearance.” Following is the full text of the statement.

Brussels, 9 February 2010
A 15/10

Statement by HR Catherine Ashton, on human rights in China

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, made today the following statement:

“The EU notes with concern that on 4th February 2010, one year passed since the prominent human rights lawyer Mr Gao Zhisheng disappeared from his home town in Shaanxi province. During the last year, the EU has repeatedly called on the Chinese government, at the highest level and including during its bi-annual dialogue on Human Rights, to reveal the whereabouts of Mr Gao, to give Mr Gao access to a lawyer and to allow Mr Gao to maintain contact with his family.

The EU is especially concerned at recent reports that Mr Gao has “gone missing”. In this context, the EU urges China to clarify without delay the situation of Gao Zhisheng and to open a fully independent and transparent investigation into his disappearance.”

This statement is also available online at the EU website.

Human Rights in China

Posted in China, Europe, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, NW China, People, Politics, Shaanxi, World | Comments Off on Top EU Official Asks China to Account for Missing Chinese Lawyer Gao Zhisheng

Did missile test spark China UFO reports?

Posted by Author on January 15, 2010

By James Oberg, NBC News space analyst, Special to MSNBC, Jan. 15, 2010-

In an ironic encore, yet another secret military missile test has sparked widespread UFO reports from surprised ground witnesses.

On Dec. 9, a Russian Bulava missile was launched from a submarine within sight of northern Norway, resulting in a spectacular spiral display and a spate of UFO sightings.

This week’s UFO reports apparently were sparked by a Chinese missile that was fired to intercept another missile in flight, for the first time in the nation’s history.

Witnesses in China’s inland provinces of Xinjiang and Gansu weren’t as well equipped with cameras as last month’s Norwegian witnesses were, so the only images reaching the West merely show fuzzy-colored clouds and streaks. The military secrecy surrounding China’s missile test is so tight that Beijing officials seem to be at a loss as to how to respond to the reports……. (more details from MSNBC)

Posted in China, military, News, NW China, Technology, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on Did missile test spark China UFO reports?

14 Chinese Christians Detained and Interrogated in Xinjiang, Northwest China

Posted by Author on January 8, 2010

ChinaAid, January 8, 2009 –

XINJIANG— At 5:00 PM, (Beijing time) officers from the Public Security military office Nong Wu Shi in the Aksu Region raided the home of a Han Chinese house church Christian, disrupting the worship gathering and seizing 14 believers. The Han Chinese Christians were escorted by the police to the local Aksu police station, where they were detained for over 12 hours. They each faced interrogation for allegedly conducting an “illegal religious gathering.”

In the morning of January 8th (Beijing time), 11 of the 14 detained Christians were released, leaving house church leaders Yang Tianlu, He Sujin, and Sujin’s son, He Guangyuan, in detention. Yang Tianlu had been previously arrested, tortured, and interrogated along with 30 other house church leaders in Xinjiang for meeting with four American missionaries two years ago, in April, 2007……. (more details from China Aid)

Posted in China, Christianity, Human Rights, Law, News, NW China, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on 14 Chinese Christians Detained and Interrogated in Xinjiang, Northwest China

Oil Spill From Broken Pipeline Threatens China’s Yellow River

Posted by Author on January 4, 2010

NTDTV, Jan. 4, 2010-

39,000 gallons of diesel oil spilled into the Wei River last Wednesday.

The leak was from a pipeline owned by China National Petroleum Corporation in northwestern Shaanxi Province.

Concerns are high because the Wei River is a tributary of the Yellow River, a major source of water for millions of people.

According to state television reports, the Yellow River and other sources of water have not been contaminated by the spill.

But diesel has been found in water 20 miles from the leak, and residents have been warned against using any of the river water.

A preliminary investigation showed that the pipeline damage was caused by construction work by a third party.

China periodically faces spills into rivers that result in water supplies being cut off.

The most serious incident was in 2005 when an explosion at an industrial plant sent toxic chemicals streaming into the Songhua River. That forced the shutdown of water supplies to nearly four million people.

Run-off from heavy fertilizer use, industrial waste and untreated sewage also caused a foul-smelling algae bloom on a lake in Jiangsu Province in 2007 that left tap water undrinkable in a city of more than two million people.


Posted in China, Environment, News, NW China, pollution, River, Shaanxi, water, World | Comments Off on Oil Spill From Broken Pipeline Threatens China’s Yellow River

Family Plea for Missing Prominent Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng

Posted by Author on November 26, 2009

Radio Free Asia, 2009-11-26 –

HONG KONG–The family of a prominent civil rights lawyer who has been missing for more than nine months has called on the Chinese government to give them news of his whereabouts, saying that his sister had now also lost contact with the rest of the family.

Civil rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was last seen in public in February, 2009 after reporting repeated kidnappings, detentions, surveillance and beatings at the hands of the authorities.

“Even if Gao Zhisheng had committed a terrible crime, his family would still have the right to know what had happened to him,” Gao’s brother Gao Zhiyi said in an interview.

“For every question, there are three unknowns. No-one knows anything,” he said. “They won’t talk to us and they won’t meet with us,” he said.

Gao Zhiyi added that his Shandong-based sister, who had also been under police surveillance at her home, had now stopped communicating with the rest of the family.

“His sister hasn’t called us or contacted us,” he said, adding that he had refused previous interview requests for fear that his brother would feel the repercussions.

Hong Kong Democratic legislator Albert Ho, who has led a campaign of lawyers calling for Gao’s release, said the group had written to U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of his state visit to China.

“We called on him to pay attention to our concerns about the safety of Gao Zhisheng,” Ho said.

“We are not going to let this drop. We have also written to the U.S. government asking for a reply now that Obama has left.”

Gao’s whereabouts have remained unclear for months after he was subjected to a secret trial by the authorities on unspecified subversion charges in 2006.

Lauded by China’s own Justice Ministry as one of China’s Top 10 lawyers in 2001 for his pro bono work in helping poor people sue government officials over corruption and mistreatment, Gao was once a member of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. He resigned from the Party in 2005.

Gao’s fortunes took a sharp downturn after he wrote an open letter to President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao in October 2005 slamming the continuing persecution of practitioners of Falun Gong, a banned spiritual movement.

Chinese lawyers who have defended members of the Falun Gong say they are forbidden to defend their clients on the proper application of law or the nature of the incident.

According to Jiang Tianyong, a defense lawyer for Gao who has himself been prevented from practising by authorities in Beijing, the entire legal profession is under increasing strain when it comes to defending the constitutional rights of individuals. “I and other human rights attorneys in China are suffering an increasing level of harassment, suppression, and persecution [by the government], because we serve as defense counsels in cases of safeguarding the freedom of religious belief,” Jiang testified in front of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Oct. 29.

Radio Free Asia

Posted in China, East China, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, NW China, People, Politics, Shaanxi, Shandong, Social, World | Comments Off on Family Plea for Missing Prominent Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng

Hasty executions in China highlight unfair Xinjiang trials

Posted by Author on November 10, 2009

Amnesty International, 10 November 2009-

Chinese authorities must ensure all individuals charged with offences during the July riots in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) receive a fair trail and do not face the death penalty, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

The China Daily reported on Tuesday that the authorities prosecuted another 20 suspects on Monday, for offences ranging from murder, arson and robbery linked to the riots.

The trial follows the execution of eight Uighurs and one Han Chinese individual, announced by the authorities on Monday. The announcement did not say when the nine were executed but reported that it was after the Supreme People’s Court reviewed and approved the sentences.

“In hastily executing these individuals after unfair trials, the Chinese authorities are perpetuating some of the very injustices that helped trigger the outburst of violence in the first place,” said Roseann Rife, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific programme.

The nine were among 21 individuals tried and sentenced in October in relation to the July unrest. Another three received suspended death sentences while the rest were sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Their trials lasted less than a day. Their sentences were upheld by the XUAR Higher People’s Court on 30 October.

Amnesty International said it believes that statements made by Chinese officials following the unrest made it very difficult for a fair trial to be conducted. Urumqi’s Communist Party Secretary stated in a news conference in July that “brutal criminals will be sentenced to death”.

The defendants were also denied legal representation of their choice, with judicial authorities in Beijing putting pressure on human rights lawyers not to take up the cases of the accused. …… (More from Amnesty International)

Posted in China, ethnic, Law, News, NW China, People, Social, World, Xinjiang | 1 Comment »

Survey of blocked Uyghur websites shows Xinjiang still cut off from the world

Posted by Author on October 29, 2009

Reporters Without Borders, 29 October 2009 –

Reporters Without Borders has surveyed access to websites dedicated to the Uyghur community, including sites in the Uyghur language, in Mandarin and sometimes in English. These sites, operated by Uyghurs for Uyghurs, are for the most part inaccessible both to Internet users based in Xinjiang and those abroad. More than 85 per cent of the surveyed sites were blocked, censored or otherwise unreachable.

“The discrimination to which Uyghurs have been subjected for decades as regards their freedom of expression and their religious and economic freedom now applies to their Internet access as well,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Four months after the violence in Urumqi, the Chinese authorities continue to keep the province cut off from the rest of the world. We must not be duped by the illusion of normality. Most Uyghurs still cannot go online, send SMS messages or even make phone calls.”

The press freedom organisation added: “The official reason given for this blackout, that ‘terrorists used the Internet and SMS messaging,’ is unacceptable. Do the Pakistani or Afghan authorities suspend the Internet because terrorists sent email messages? No. The Chinese government seems more interested in preventing Xinjiang’s inhabitants from circulating information about the real situation in the province, especially about the crackdown after the July riots.”

Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities to restore Internet and phone connections in Xinjiang without delay. “The dozens of websites in the Uyghur language and websites about Xinjiang that have been closed must be allowed to reopen and those who edit them must have freedom of movement,” the organisation added.

Carried out in October, the survey examined around 100 Uyghur websites, portals, forums, blogs and other kinds of online platform. Various factors were considered, such as the country in which the site is based, the type of site (such as forum or blog), the type of content (such as news, politics, culture or sport), the language, and the problems encountered when the attempt was made to visit the site (such as change of address, overly long delay in opening or error message)……. (more details)

Posted in China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, News, NW China, People, Religious, Technology, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on Survey of blocked Uyghur websites shows Xinjiang still cut off from the world

China: Christian Minor Expelled from Xinjiang High School for His Faith

Posted by Author on October 27, 2009

China Aid,  October 26, 2009 –

XINJIANG–Second-year high school student Chen Le stated emphatically, “I would rather be forced out of school, than deny my faith.” On October 20, 2009, the High School Division of the Huashan Middle School officially expelled Chen for signing a document confirming his identity as a Christian. The Official Notice of Expulsion reads as follows:  (report from China Aid)

Posted in Children, China, Freedom of Belief, Human Rights, News, NW China, People, Politics, Religious, Social, Student, teenager, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on China: Christian Minor Expelled from Xinjiang High School for His Faith

China: 43 Detainees ‘Disappeared’ After Xinjiang Protests, Recent Report Shows

Posted by Author on October 22, 2009

Human Rights Watch, October 21, 2009 –

(New York) – The Chinese government should immediately account for all detainees in its custody and allow independent investigations into the July 2009 protests in Urumqi and their aftermath, Human Rights Watch said in a new report on enforced “disappearances” released today.

The 44-page report, “‘We Are Afraid to Even Look for Them’: Enforced Disappearances in the Wake of Xinjiang’s Protests,” documents the enforced disappearances of 43 Uighur men and teenage boys who were detained by Chinese security forces in the wake of the protests.

“The cases we documented are likely just the tip of the iceberg,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Chinese government says it respects the rule of law, but nothing could undermine this claim more than taking people from their homes or off the street and ‘disappearing’ them – leaving their families unsure whether they are dead or alive.”

Last week, Xinjiang judicial authorities started trials of people accused of involvement in the protests. Nine men have already been sentenced to death, three others to death with a two-year reprieve, and one to life imprisonment.

Human Rights Watch research has established that on July 6-7, 2009, Chinese police, the People’s Armed Police, and the military conducted numerous large-scale sweep operations in two predominantly Uighur areas of Urumqi, Erdaoqiao, and Saimachang. On a smaller scale, these operations and targeted raids continued at least through mid-August.

The victims of “disappearances” documented by Human Rights Watch were young Uighur men. Most were in their 20s, although the youngest reported victims were 12 and 14 years old. It is possible that some Han Chinese also became victims of “disappearances” and unlawful arrests. However, none of the more than two dozen Han Chinese residents of Urumqi interviewed by Human Rights Watch provided any information about such cases.

According to witnesses, the security forces sealed off entire neighborhoods, searching for young Uighur men. In some cases, they first separated the men from other residents, pushed them to their knees or flat on the ground, and, at least in some cases, beat the men while questioning them about their participation in the protests. Those who had wounds or bruises on their bodies, or had not been at their homes during the protests, were then taken away. In other cases, the security forces simply went after every young man they could catch and packed them into their trucks by the dozens……. (more details from Human Rights Watch)

Posted in China, ethnic, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, NW China, People, Politics, Report, Social, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on China: 43 Detainees ‘Disappeared’ After Xinjiang Protests, Recent Report Shows

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)

Posted in China, ethnic, Law, News, NW China, People, Politics, Social, Torture, World, Xinjiang | 1 Comment »

Communist Party City Chief in Xinjiang Sacked After Mass Protests

Posted by Author on September 6, 2009

Radio Free asia, 2009-09-05 –

Chinese armed police march along a street in Urumqi, Sept. 5, 2009. (via RFA)

Chinese armed police march along a street in Urumqi, Sept. 5, 2009. (via RFA)

HONG KONG— The top Communist Party official in the city of Urumqi, Li Zhi, has been removed from his post after days of mass protests in which five people died, sparked by a bizarre series of syringe stabbings.

The director of Xinjiang’s public security department, Liu Yaohua, was also sacked and replaced with Aksu prefecture party chief Zhu Changjie.

Authorities have meanwhile deployed thousands of riot police to the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where nearly 200 people were killed in July in fighting between Han Chinese and ethnic Uyghurs.

Unconfirmed reports said police used tear gas to disperse protesters, while other reports said the stabbings were continuing.

Protesters marched by the thousands Thursday and Friday demanding the resignation of Li and his boss, Xinjiang party secretary Wang Lequan, for failing to provide adequate public safety in the city.

No reasons were citing for the firings, but the rioting in July was the worst in Xinjiang in more than a decade. Uyghurs, who are ethnically distinct and largely Muslim, have long chafed under Beijing’s rule.

“I think it’s saying to local officials: don’t allow anything like this to happen.  The implicit message is: do whatever you need to make sure there are not such events, meaning–use repression, use policing, use infiltration and so forth,” Gardner Bovingdon, a professor of Central Eurasian studies at the University of Indiana told RFA on Saturday.

“Hard-liners are in the ascendant.   The July 5 protests and this new round of protests and the firing … all indicate that the government is going to go for still more rigorous political control,” he added……. (more details from Radio Free asia)

Posted in China, Incident, News, NW China, Politics, Social, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on Communist Party City Chief in Xinjiang Sacked After Mass Protests

China’s Muslim Uyghurs Forbidden to Fast During Ramadan

Posted by Author on September 2, 2009

Epoch Times Staff  Sep 1, 2009  –

Chinese authorities in Xinjiang Province have issued a notice that any Uyghur cadres or workers found not eating lunch during Ramadan could lose their jobs.

It is part of the campaign of local authorities in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uyghur ethnic group, to force the Uyghur people to give up their religious rituals during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is a holy month in the Islamic calendar, which begun this year on Aug. 22. It requires not eating during the daytime.

“Free lunches, tea, and coffee—that authorities are calling ‘Care from the government’ or ‘Living allowance’—are being offered in government departments and companies. But it is actually a ploy used to find out who is fasting,” said Dilxat Raxit, World Uyghur Congress spokesman, speaking to The Epoch Times.

According to Dilxat, Uyghur Communist Party cadres throughout Xinjiang had been forced to sign “letters of responsibility” promising to avoid fasting and other religious activities. They are also responsible for enforcing the policy in their assigned areas, and face punishment if anyone in these areas fasts.

For the first time, Dilxat said, the crackdown has extended to retired Communist Party members. Current cadres are required to visit them to prevent them from participating in the fast. If anyone violates the ban, local leaders will be held responsible and severely punished, he said.

Muslim restaurant owners are forced to sign a document to remain open and continue selling alcohol during Ramadan or have their licenses revoked, he said.

Uyghurs arrested during the July riots in Urumqi are also prohibited from fasting; those who insist on fasting will be force fed food and water while enduring insults for their misbehavior, he said in the interview.

Monks in mosques are forced to preach to others that fasting is a “feudal activity” and harmful to health, said Dilxat. Otherwise, their religious certification will be cancelled……. (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in China, ethnic, News, NW China, People, Politics, Social, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on China’s Muslim Uyghurs Forbidden to Fast During Ramadan

China: All communications with Xinjiang cut for past six days

Posted by Author on July 11, 2009

Reporters Without Borders, 10 July 2009 –

Several Uyghur students currently in Paris told Reporters Without Borders today they have been unable to contact their relatives in Xinjiang since 5 July, either through the Internet or by telephone.

At the same time, the China Digital Times website had published a list of 118 keyword combinations such as “Xinjiang blood”, “Han and Uyghur cannot live under the same sky”, “Uyghur and Han, demonstration” and “conflict, Han and Uyghur” that produce no result in search engines because they have been blocked by the Chinese authorities. See….

For more information on the censorship of independent news and information about Xinjiang, see the Reporters Without Borders press release of 7 July……. (more details from Reporters Without Borders)

Posted in China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, military, News, NW China, Politics, Social, Technology, website, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on China: All communications with Xinjiang cut for past six days

Facebook Inaccessible in China After Violent Clashes in Urumqi

Posted by Author on July 10, 2009

By Tim Culpan, The Bloomberg, July 9, 2009 –

July 9 (Bloomberg)
— Facebook Inc.’s social-networking Web site was inaccessible in China as the government blocks information after violent clashes in one of its regions.

As of 1:36 p.m. Beijing time, there were at least 36 reports of being unavailable from China, according to, a project at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, which tracks Web outages. Local access to the video site of Google Inc. was also broken, and connections to Inc.’s online store were irregular.

China’s government, which maintains tight control over the Internet, media and information flow, severed access to e-mails and the Web this week in the western city of Urumqi in Xinjiang province amid ethnic clashes that left more than 150 people dead and 1,000 injured. Authorities blocked Google’s search engine last month amid criticism it spread pornography.

“The government wants to show it’s doing as much as it can to prevent links to information from overseas as well as from inside China,” Duncan Clark, chairman of BDA China, a Beijing- based technology consultancy, said by phone. “It won’t work.” couldn’t be accessed from Beijing or Shanghai as of 11 a.m. local time, while connections were possible from Seattle and Brisbane, Australia, according to Yahoo! Inc.’s Internet portal and Microsoft Corp.’s e-mail service were reachable from all four locations, according to

“It does appear to be running slowly” in China, said Larry Yu, a spokesman for Palo Alto, California-based Facebook. “We’re looking into the matter, what the reason is for the service running slowly.”

‘Prisoner of State’, the world’s largest online store, sells “Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang,” the banned memoirs of the former chief of the Chinese Communist Party, who was under 16 years of house arrest until his death in 2005. He secretly taped his account of the infighting among party officials before they ordered the military to crush pro-democracy demonstrations on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989. Clicking on the book’s Web page from China blocks the whole site for at least 15 minutes, and it can be re-accessed once the Internet browser’s history is cleared.

This may mark the first time the government has totally suppressed access to, broadening previous restrictions on Web pages for individual books, Clark said. …… (More from Bloomberg)

Posted in censorship, China, ethnic, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Incident, Internet, News, NW China, Politics, Social, Speech, Technology, website, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on Facebook Inaccessible in China After Violent Clashes in Urumqi

US Commission raises concern about China religious persecution

Posted by Author on July 9, 2009

Paolo Gallini, Religious Intelligence, 9th July 2009 –

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) expressed concern today over the continued persecution of Uighur Muslims and the Chinese government’s violent response to the Uighur protest in Urumqi in the Xinjiang autonomous region Sunday, that left more than 150 dead and thousands injured.
US Commission raises concern about Chinese religious persecution

Media reports from the scene said that Uighur protesters, with legitimate grievances, were forced to disperse by government security forces. When they failed to disperse, force was used that led to the deaths of more than 150 Uighurs. Reports also indicate that, amidst the violence, Han Chinese were killed by Uighur rioters.

In a swift statement, the Chinese government said its violent crackdown was in response to a protest by Uighur separatists who rioted, burning hundreds of shops and cars. More than 700 persons were detained.

“The heavy hand of Chinese government repression displayed at Tiananmen Square and last year against Tibetan protesters appears evident again. We call on the Chinese government to end its violent response to the protests and act with moderation and restraint in dealing with Uighur unrest in Xinjiang, and to allow peaceful demonstrations and greater religious freedoms,” said Leonard Leo, USCIRF chair……. (more details from Religious Intelligence)

Posted in China, Freedom of Belief, Human Rights, Incident, NW China, Politics, Religion, Social, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on US Commission raises concern about China religious persecution

RSF Worried by Uyghur blog editor’s arrest in China

Posted by Author on July 8, 2009

Reporters Without Borders, 8 July 2009 –

Reporters Without Borders is very worried by yesterday’s arrest in Beijing of Ilham Tohti, editor of the Uyghur Online blog ( and economics professor at Beijing’s Central Nationalities University, who had been relaying information about the rioting in Urumqi, the capital of the far-western province Xinjiang, since 26 June.

“The crackdown is not limited to Xinjiang,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The authorities have arrested an independent writer who was just posting reports on his blog. We think his arrest is a direct result of the role he played in informing the Uyghur community in China and abroad. We call for his release, which could help to stop the violence.”

This is the third time this year that Tohti’s blog has been blocked. The authorities pressured him to stop posting articles in March and June. On 12 March, for example, he posted this note: “I hope my readers will forgive me but I must remain silent for a while. I have to face a lot of threats and harassment. But whatever happens, I urge my friends to continue our struggle.”…… (more details from Reporters Without Borders)

Posted in Beijing, Blogger, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, News, NW China, People, Social, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on RSF Worried by Uyghur blog editor’s arrest in China

Xinjiang: Why China Needs To Be Brutal

Posted by Author on July 7, 2009

by John Lee, Foreign Policy, via,, July 7, 2009-

After scolding the West for interfering in the internal affairs of Iran, Beijing’s public relations department will now be on the defensive following riots in Urumqi, the capital of the westernmost region of Xinjiang. Chinese state media has admitted that 140 people have been killed and almost 1,000 arrested. Hundreds had taken to the streets to protest the local government’s handling of a clash between Han Chinese and Uighur factory workers in far southern China in late June, in which two Uighurs died. The police responded to the rallies with force, claiming that the unrest was the work of extremist forces abroad and that a heavy reaction was necessary to bring the situation under control.

Given the region’s population of 20 million — barely 1.5 percent of the country’s people — many are wondering: Why has Beijing taken such a hard line in Xinjiang? The reason is summed up in one of the ruling party’s favorite mantras: “stability of state.” Unrest of even a small magnitude, the Chinese authorities believe, can spell big consequences if it spirals out of control.

Instability of the sort in Xinjiang today is hardly new for China. Behind Shanghai’s glamour and the magnificence of Beijing, there are large swaths of disunity and disorder. Taiwan, which mainland China still claims as its own, remains recalcitrant and effectively autonomous. Residents of Hong Kong want guarantees that Beijing will not dismantle the rights they enjoyed under British colonial rule. And traditional Tibetans, who fear a complete political and religious takeover by the ethnically Han majority, want cultural and administrative autonomy — even if most have abandoned hopes of achieving outright secession. Many of the 10 million Uighurs in Xinjiang want the same. The current violence is just the latest manifestation of their simmering anger.

There is widespread disorder even in provinces that pose no challenge to Beijing’s right to rule. In 2005, for example, there were 87,000 officially recorded instances of unrest (defined as those involving 15 or more people) — up from just a few thousand incidents a decade ago. Most protests are overwhelmingly spontaneous rather than political; they arise out of frustration among the 1 billion or so “have-nots” who deal with illegal taxes, land grabs, corrupt officials, and so on. To deal with the strife, Beijing has built up a People’s Armed Police of some 800,000 and written several Ph.D.-length manuals to counsel officials on how to manage protests. Those documents detail options to deal with protest leaders: namely the tactical use of permissiveness and repression, and compromise and coercion, on a case-by-case basis. The tactics are designed to take the fuel out of the fire. Sometimes leaders of protests are taken away; other times they are paid off; still other times they are given what they want.

Much of this is done quietly, which is perhaps why the current riots stand out. When it comes to what Beijing sees as separatist behavior, subtlety is no longer an option. Although their populations are relatively small, Xinjiang and Tibet together constitute one third of the Chinese land mass, and Beijing will not tolerate losing control over these territories. To be sure, the protesters in Urumqi and their supporters cannot spark an uprising throughout China. The protests will eventually be quelled, and their leaders will no doubt be dealt with brutally. But as the history of the Chinese Communist Party tells us, when the regime’s moral and political legitimacy is threatened, the leadership almost always chooses to take a hard, uncompromising line.

President Hu Jintao, who incidentally earned early brownie points within the party by leading a crackdown of political dissidents in Tibet in 1989, understands better than anyone that authoritarian regimes appear weak at their own peril. Losing face, he believes, will only embolden the “enemies of the state.” The Communist Party’s Leading Group on Foreign Affairs, which is chaired by Hu, has often spoken warily about the democratic “viruses” behind the “color revolutions” in Ukraine and Georgia, and perhaps eventually Iran — the same kind that could conceivably take root in places such as Xinjiang and Tibet. This is why Chinese authorities are deeply suspicious of any group with loyalties that might transcend the state and regime or at least cannot be easily controlled by the state, such as the Falun Gong, Catholics, or independent trade unions.

It’s important to remember that, at home, the government’s hard line is not wholly unpopular. Most Chinese do not support the separatist agendas of Tibet, Xinjiang, or Taiwan. They would rather see a strong and unified China restored to historic glory. No wonder then that the Chinese state media has been quite upfront about reporting on the current unrest in Urumqi.

Chinese leaders learned much about control in their extensive studies of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Their conclusion is clear: It was Mikhail Gorbachev’s ill-fated attempts to be reasonable that brought down that empire. The current generation of Chinese leaders is determined not to make the same mistake. And that means no compromise in Xianjiang.

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Up to 190,000 may have died as a result of China’s weapons tests

Posted by Author on April 20, 2009

Michael Sheridan, Times Online, April 19, 2009 –

The nuclear test grounds in the wastes of the Gobi desert have fallen silent but veterans of those lonely places are speaking out for the first time about the terrible price exacted by China’s zealous pursuit of the atomic bomb.

They talk of picking up radioactive debris with their bare hands, of sluicing down bombers that had flown through mushroom clouds, of soldiers dying before their time of strange and rare diseases, and children born with mysterious cancers.

These were the men and women of Unit 8023, a special detachment charged with conducting atomic tests at Lop Nur in Xinjiang province, a place of utter desolation and – until now – complete secrecy.

“I was a member of Unit 8023 for 23 years,” said one old soldier in an interview. “My job was to go into the blast zone to retrieve test objects and monitoring equipment after the explosion.

“When my daughter was born she was diagnosed with a huge tumour on her spinal cord. The doctors blame nuclear fallout. She’s had two major operations and has lived a life of indescribable hardship. And all we get from the government is 130 yuan [£13] a month.”

Hardship and risk counted for little when China was determined to join the nuclear club at any cost.

Soldiers galloped on horseback towards mushroom clouds, with only gas masks for protection.

Scientists jumped for joy, waving their little red books of Maoist thought, while atomic debris boiled in the sky.

Engineers even replicated a full-scale Beijing subway station beneath the sands of the Gobi to test who might survive a Sino-Soviet armageddon.

New research suggests the Chinese nuclear tests from 1964 to 1996 claimed more lives than those of any other nation. Professor Jun Takada, a Japanese physicist, has calculated that up to 1.48m people were exposed to fallout and 190,000 of them may have died from diseases linked to radiation.

“Nuclear sands” – a mixture of dust and fission products – were blown by prevailing winds from Lop Nur towards towns and villages along the ancient Silk Road from China to the West.

The victims included Chinese, Uighur Muslims and Tibetans, who lived in these remote regions. Takada found deformed children as far away as Kazakhstan. No independent scientific study has ever been published inside China.

It is the voices of the Chinese veterans, however, that will reso-nate loudest in a nation proud of its nuclear status but ill informed about the costs. One group has boldly published letters to the state council and the central military commission – the two highest government and military bodies – demanding compensation.

“Most of us are between 50 and 70 and in bad health,” they said. “We did the most hazardous job of all, retrieving debris from the missile tests.

“We were only 10 kilometres [six miles] from the blast. We entered the zone many times with no protective suits, only goggles and gas masks. Afterwards, we just washed ourselves down with plain water.”

A woman veteran of Unit 8023 described in an interview how her hair had fallen out. She had lost weight, suffered chronic insomnia and had episodes of confusion.

“Between 1993 and 1996 the government speeded up the test programme, so I assisted at 10 underground explosions,” she said. “We had to go into the test zone to check highly radioactive instruments. Now I’m too sick to work – will the government help me?”

The price was paid by more than one generation. “My father was in Unit 8023 from 1967 to 1979, when his job was to wash down aircraft that had flown through the mushroom clouds,” said a 37-year-old man.

“I’ve been disabled by chronic immune system diseases all my life and my brother’s daughter was born with a heart defect,” he said. “Our family has spent thousands of yuan on operations over the decades. Two and three generations of our family have such illnesses – was it the nuclear tests? Does our government plan any compensation?”

In fact, the government has already responded to pressure from veterans’ groups. Last year Li Xueju, the minister of civil affairs, let slip that the state had started to pay “subsidies” to nuclear test personnel but gave no details of the amounts.

Such is the legacy of the decision by Chairman Mao Tse-tung, in 1955, to build the bomb in order to make China a great power.

Mao was driven by fear of the US and rivalry with the Soviet Union. He coveted the might that would be bestowed by nuclear weapons on a poor agricultural nation. Celebrations greeted the first test explosion on October 16, 1964.

The scientists staged a total of 46 tests around the Lop Nur site, 1,500 miles west of Beijing. Of these tests, 23 were in the atmosphere, 22 underground and one failed. They included thermonuclear blasts, neutron bombs and an atomic bomb covertly tested for Pakistan on May 26, 1990.

One device, dropped from an aircraft on November 17, 1976, was 320 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

The last explosion in the air was in 1980, but the last underground test was not until July 29, 1996. Later that year, China signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and, once again, only the sigh of the winds could be heard in the desolation of the Gobi desert.

The financial cost remains secret, but the price of the first bomb was roughly equal to more than a third of the entire state budget for 1957 – spending that went on while at least 30m Chinese peasants died of famine and the nuclear scientists themselves lived on hardship rations.

Rare was the outsider who gained a glimpse of this huge project. One was Danny Stillman, director of technical intelligence at Los Alamos, New Mexico, home of America’s nuclear weapons. He made 10 visits to secret Chinese nuclear facilities during a period of detente and information exchange from 1990 to 2001.

“Some of the videos they showed me were of PLA [People’s Liberation Army] soldiers riding on horses – with gas masks over the noses and mouths of both the horses and the soldiers – as they were riding towards the mushroom cloud of an atmospheric surface detonation,” Stillman recalled.

“It was strange because the soldiers had swords raised above their heads as they headed for the radioactive fallout. I have always wondered how many of them survived.”

Stillman was also allowed to see the lengths to which the Chinese scientists had gone to experiment with annihilation in the desert.

Like the Americans, the Chinese placed caged live animals, tanks, planes, vehicles and buildings around test sites. Such were the remains gathered by the men and women of Unit 8302.

“The surprise to me was that they also had a full-scale Beijing subway station with all supporting utilities constructed at an undefined depth directly underneath,” said Stillman.

“There were 10,000 animals and a model of a Yangtze River bridge,” recalled Wu Qian, a scientist.

Li Yi, a woman doctor, added: “Animals placed two kilometres from the blast centre were burnt to cinders and those eight kilometres away died within a few days.”

China had borrowed Soviet blueprints and spied on the West, according to The Nuclear Express, a book by Stillman and Thomas Reed, the former US air force secretary.

It explains how China then exploited its human capital to win technological parity with the US for just 4% of the effort – 45 successful test explosions against more than 1,000 American tests.

“The Chinese nuclear weapon scientists I met . . . were exceptionally brilliant,” Stillman said.

Of China’s top 10 pioneers, two were educated at Edinburgh University – Cheng Kaijia, director of the weapons laboratory, and Peng Huan-wu, designer of the first thermonuclear bomb. Six went to college in the United States, one in France and one in Germany.

For all this array of genius, no Chinese scientist has dared to publish a study of the human toll.

That taboo has been broken by Takada, a physicist at the faculty of medicine at Sapporo University, who is an adviser on radiation hazards to the government of Japan.

He developed a computer simulation model, based on fieldwork at Soviet test sites in Kazakhstan, to calculate that 1.48m people were exposed to contamination during 32 years of Chinese tests.

Takada used internationally recognised radiation dosage measurements to estimate that 190,000 have died of cancer or leukaemia. He believes 35,000 foetuses were deformed or miscarried, with cases found as far away as Makanchi, near the Kazakh border with China.

To put his findings in perspective, Takada said China’s three biggest tests alone generated 4m times more radioactivity than the Chernobyl reactor accident of 1986. He has called the clouds of fallout “an air tsunami”.

Despite the pall of silence inside China, two remarkable proofs of the damage to health have come from official Communist party documents, dated 2007 and available on provincial websites.

One is a request to the health ministry from peasants’ and workers’ delegates in Xinjiang province for a special hospital to be built to cope with large numbers of patients who were “exposed to radiation or who wandered into the test zones by mistake”.

The other records a call by a party delegate named Xingfu for compensation and a study of “the severe situation of radiation sickness” in the county of Xiaobei, outside the oasis town of Dunhuang.

Both claims were rejected. Residents of Xiaobei report an alarming number of cancer deaths and children born with cleft palates, bone deformities and scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.

Specialists at hospitals in three cities along the Silk Road all reported a disproportionate number of cancer and leukaemia cases.

“I have read the Japanese professor’s work on the internet and I think it is credible,” said one. No cancer statistics for the region are made public.

Some memories, though, remain indelible. One man in Dunhuang recalled climbing up a mountain-side to watch a great pillar of dust swirl in from the desert.

“For days we were ordered to keep our windows closed and stay inside,” recounted another middle-aged man. “For months we couldn’t eat vegetables or fruits. Then after a while they didn’t bother with that any more.”

But they did go on testing. And the truth about the toll may never be known unless, one day, a future Chinese government allows pathologists to search for the answers in the cemeteries of the Silk Road.

The dead of Dunhuang lie in a waste ground on the fringe of the desert, at the foot of great dunes where tourists ride on camels. Tombs, cairns and unmarked heaps of earth dot the boundless sands.

By local tradition, the clothes of the deceased are thrown away at their funerals. Dresses, suits and children’s garments lie half-buried by dust around the graves.

“People don’t live long around here,” said a local man who led me to the graveyard. “Fifty, 60 – then they’re gone.”

– : Revolt stirs among China’s nuclear ghosts

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Bird flu outbreak in North-west China

Posted by Author on February 11, 2009

AFP, Feb. 11, 2009-

BEIJING (AFP) — China has reported its first bird flu outbreak among poultry this year, with thousands of fowl destroyed in the nation’s far northwest to prevent an epidemic.

The alert was raised after 519 fowl died in the Xinjiang region that borders Central Asia, the agriculture ministry said in a statement posted on its website late on Tuesday.

They were confirmed on Tuesday to have died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu that is responsible for killing about 250 people around the world since 2003.

Emergency measures were introduced in Xinjiang, which included killing 13,000 more fowl, the ministry said, without specifying if the animals were chickens or other types of poultry.

The ministry said the situation was under control. Officials at the ministry’s media department were unavailable on Wednesday to comment further.

China previously reported that eight people were infected with bird flu across the country this year, five of whom died.

However until Tuesday, authorities said no outbreaks of bird flu had been detected in poultry, raising questions as to how people contracted the disease.

Experts fear the H5N1 virus could mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans, rather than from poultry to humans, with the potential to kill millions in a pandemic.

But there has been no evidence yet of this happening.

The fourth person to die of bird flu in China this year, a 31-year-old woman, was living in a city neighbouring Xinjiang’s capital of Urumqi and contracted the disease on January 10, officials said previously.

However the outbreak among poultry reported on Tuesday was in Moyu county, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) away, indicating no obvious connection.

Twenty-five people have died from bird flu in China since the disease re-emerged in 2003, according to World Health Organisation figures.


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51 Christians Detained in Northwest China

Posted by Author on January 5, 2009

ChinaAid, Jan 05 2009-

XINJIANG – At 1 p.m. local time on January 2, 2009, a house church in Shayibake District of Urimuqi city, Xinjiang Autonomous Region was raided by a number of Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers. Fifty-one Christians were detained for questioning, with forty-eight released later that day.

Authorities held three church leaders, Ms. Zhou Li, Ms. Zhu Jinfeng and Mr. Yang Miaofa, an extended time in PSB custody. Mr. Yang Miaofa was released after paying 500 yuan fine. Ms. Zhu Jinfeng suffered a longer detention before her eventual release. Ms. Zhou Li was sentenced to 10 days administrative detention. She is currently separated from her son who is almost two years old.

– Original: 51 Christians Detained in Xinjiang, One Young Mother Sentenced, from ChinaAid

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Eviction Protests Quashed in Northwest China

Posted by Author on November 28, 2008

Radio Free Asia, 2008-11-26 –

Authorities in Xingping, in China’s northern Shaanxi province, have launched a major campaign to evict villagers from their homes to make way for the expansion of a chemical plant.

HONG KONG— Authorities in the northern Chinese province of Shaanxi have launched a crackdown on villagers who blockaded a fertilizer plant in protest at plans to resettle them to make way for its expansion.

“At one time, the villagers totally blocked the entrance to the fertilizer plant, which caused a big stir,” a source close to the situation said. “There were some journalists there taking pictures but no reports were ever published. A lot of police and armed police were mobilized.”

The crackdown began around three weeks ago, he said. “The municipal Party secretary and the mayor both came to the scene to talk to the people. They promised that the expansion would be temporarily halted and the incident would be forgotten.”

More than 1,000 residents of Xiaofu village, Xingping city, are complaining about forced evictions with insufficient compensation and a lack of due process amid plans to expand a fertilizer plant owned by the Shaanxi Xinghua Chemical Co.

Reports have been posted online by netizens who say they are residents of Xiaofu village protesting the expansion. Those reports said villagers were offered compensation of 50,000 yuan (U.S.$7,300) per person.

However, the dispute arose over the fact that compensation issues were still not fully agreed when demolition gangs began moving in, the online reports said……. (more details from Radio Free Asia)

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(photos) Police beating villagers in northwest China protest

Posted by Author on November 23, 2008

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China orders evening curfew and street closure to curb unrest after new riots

Posted by Author on November 21, 2008

By Ian Ransom, Reuters, Wednesday, November 19, 2008 –

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has told police to ensure stability amid the global financial crisis, while thousands of people attacked police and government offices in a northwestern city in unrest triggered by a plan to resettle residents.

After decades of solid economic growth, China is battling an unknown as falling demand for its products triggers factory closures, sparks protests and raises fears of popular unrest.

Rioting involving thousands of people exploded on Monday in Wudu, in Gansu province’s poverty-stricken region of Longnan, where 1.8 million people were made homeless by the May 12 Sichuan earthquake.

The unrest, which flared up again on Tuesday, saw rioters invade local government offices, loot equipment and torch police cars, though the incident appeared to be related to a local dispute rather than the slowing economy.

The Longnan rioting follows a number of strikes by taxi drivers and labor protests in the country’s major export regions, where thousands of factories have closed in recent months, prompting fears the global financial crisis could stir wider popular unrest.

Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu said police “should be fully aware of the challenge brought by the global financial crisis and try their best to maintain social stability,” according to the China Daily.

State media said the riots were triggered by a scheme to move the government headquarters to a neighboring county, which would force local residents to relocate, and had prompted fears from some residents about future housing and livelihoods.

Youtube footage showed police struggling to restore order while being pelted with stones. Pictures on Chinese web portals showed columns of armed riot police sheltering beneath shields.

An uneasy calm had fallen on Wudu on Wednesday, after authorities ordered an evening curfew and closed major streets and local businesses, according to local residents, who said heavy-handed police had inflamed the riots.

“No one’s rioting today, the streets are all closed … People will be snatched if they go out after 10 p.m. at night, so no-one dares to go out,” a hotel worker who declined to leave his name told Reuters by telephone.

“Actually, there were only a few thousand petitioners, but police fired tear gas which made women and children sick. This made the others angry,” he said. …… (more from Reuters: China seeks to curb unrest after new riots)

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