Authorities at remote Shaya Prison in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang on Thursday released prominent dissident and rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng at the end of a jail term of nearly three years. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘Xinjiang’ Category
Posted by Author on August 7, 2014
Posted by Author on August 20, 2011
(washingtonpost)- Thirteen American scholars say they have been barred from traveling to China because of a book they wrote, an incident that raises awkward questions about academic freedom at a time of unprecedented collaboration between U.S. and Chinese universities.
The academics have taken to calling themselves the Xinjiang 13 to emphasize their shared misfortune. Seven years ago, they assembled a book about Xinjiang, a vast region of western China that has a large Muslim population and an occasionally violent separatist movement.
They say their book triggered a backlash from the Chinese government because of its sensitive topic. Contributors have repeatedly been refused visas, thwarted from returning to the region that is the focus of their careers. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in censorship, China, Human Rights, News, NW China, People, Politics, USA, World, writer, Xinjiang | Comments Off on 13 American scholars barred from traveling to China for their book on Xinjiang
Posted by Author on July 24, 2010
Reporters Without Borders, July 24, 2010-
Reporters Without Borders said it was outraged at the harshness of a 15-year prison sentence handed down today to journalist Gheyret Niyaz by a court in Urumqi, in Xinjiang province.
He was arrested in October 2009 following ethnic unrest in Xinjiang in July 2009 and found guilty of “threatening national security” after criticising Chinese official policy towards the Uyghurs, sending news about the riots to foreign journalists and contributing to a website accused of inciting violence.
“We are utterly astonished at the outcome of this trial,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “Gheyret Niyaz did indeed make some criticism of Chinese policy in his region, but he is neither a criminal nor a dissident. He is seen by Uyghurs based abroad as supporting China’s administration of Xinjiang and even shares some of the Chinese government’s views of the summer 2009 unrest.
“In giving him such a heavy sentence and imprisoning other journalists and netizens whose sole crime is to have spoken about these events, the Chinese authorities are not encouraging a negotiated solution. On the contrary, this shocking sentence shows that the authorities put control of news above the reconciliation process. Prisoners of opinion should be released and the verdict against Gheyret Niyaz quashed on appeal”, the organisation added.
Niyaz gave an interview to Hong Kong magazine Yazhou Zhoukan (www.yzzk.com), in July 2009 in which he supported the official version of events that implicated external agents in the rioting, saying that the Islamic Liberation Party, Hizb-ut-Tahrir al Islami, was behind them. He also claimed to have warned the authorities that things were getting out of hand. In the same article he raised the issue of economic inequalities in Xinjiang, as well as some aspects of the struggle against “separatism”.
He also contributed to the website Uighurbiz.cn, a bilingual forum on Uyghur life and culture that the government accused of inciting violence by posting news about clashes between Uyghurs and Han Chinese in another region of the country……. (more details from Reporters Without Borders)
Posted in China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, NW China, People, Politics, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on Uyghur journalist and website editor sentenced to 15 years in jail for criticising China
Posted by Author on February 16, 2010
ChinaAid, February 16, 2010 –
CHINAAID— “This is nonsense!” Gao’s wife Geng He furiously refuted the rumor which first broke out on February 12, 2010. In response to the San Francisco-based think tank Dui Hua Foundation’s request for information about Gao Zhisheng, the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. said that Gao Zhisheng was alive, working happily in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, more than 1,800 km from Beijing. Around the same time, a Chinese informant then posted photos of Gao Zhisheng online in a Chinese report, claiming he worked in the same company as Gao Zhisheng. He said that Gao was a talkative, even funny man, who had allegedly become a successful operational manager, talking about his wife and family and even “whistling a happy tune” daily.
On February 14th, the story broke to western media, leading to speculation as to whether the reports were valid. One American legal expert Chinese government’s disclosure a “step in the right direction,” but has called the Chinese government’s treatment of Gao’s case highly irregular. Gao’s wife, Geng He has denounced the claim as false, greatly frustrated by the lack of communication and deception. Neither she nor Gao’s brother or sister have been able to contact him, much less acquire “useful information” about his whereabouts and condition.
On February 15th, China Free Press agency Canyu released an article exposing the fake photos and highlighting an interview with Geng He. Tell-tale marks of tampering in the photos include the discrepancy of the time of year, based on Gao wearing a summer shirt while sitting beside a Uyghur man in a winter jacket, as well as striking similarities between the images allegedly taken of Gao very recently, and a set of photos taken before his arrest and torture in 2007. (See the Canyu report)
President of ChinaAid Bob Fu anticipates a more sinister angle to the false reports: “With no evidence to suggest otherwise, this appears to be a ploy by the Chinese government to confuse people and cover up the truth. By telling reporters and advocacy organizations that Gao is in Xinjiang, it will keep them from hunting around Beijing for answers. The Chinese government is just playing games now.”
There has also been evidence to suggest that Gao’s wife and children continue to be held under close surveillance by the Chinese spy network while living in the United States. In the Chinese informant’s report, he referred to Gao’s son accidentally eating a pesticide pallet, and becoming ill. No reports of the event had been recorded prior to that, and Geng He herself only mentioned it in a phone call conversation some months ago. Other details of Gao’s daughter’s recent hospitalization and emotional troubles indicate the informant had access to inside information, which could only be obtained by close monitoring of the family.
The Gao family is not alone. One recent report, released on February 9, 2010, used the stated number of informants in Kailu County, Inner Mongolia, to estimate the number of Chinese spies at nearly 3% of the Chinese population, a low estimate considering other regions like Xinjiang and Beijing have higher security threats. It has been a stated goal of the Chinese government to use punishment as a preventative measure, relying on paid and unpaid informants to provide timely inside information to preserve stability. (See the report at Telegraph.co.uk).
For the Gao family, the danger is very real. Gao Zhisheng has still made no personal contact with them, and the Chinese government continues to withhold verifiable information about his condition and whereabouts.
ChinaAid urges you to act now. Call on the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to press the Chinese government for the truth. Urge your U.S. Congressman or local representative to denounce the punishment of those who disagree with the Chinese government.
We question the motives of the Chinese government, and urge them to contact Gao’s family directly and to make his information public. We call on the Chinese government to disclose verifiable information about Gao Zhisheng, and to cease the intentional misdirection of those who seek the truth.
For more ways to get involved, visit www.FreeGao.com
Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, Life, News, NW China, People, Politics, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on Dispelling the Lies: ChinaAid Calls for the Truth about Gao Zhisheng
Posted by Author on February 14, 2010
BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese embassy in Washington has said the country’s best known activist lawyer, missing for a year after being taken from his home, is working in the western city of Urumqi, a U.S.-based rights group said late on Saturday.
Gao, a Christian lawyer who helped defend members of China’s banned Falun Gong spiritual group, was abducted from his relative’s home in Shanxi province on Feb 4, 2009. Chinese authorities have not provided consistent information on his fate.
“On Feb 12, the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC informed John Kamm, executive director of The Dui Hua Foundation, that Mr. Gao Zhisheng is working in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and that he has been in contact with his wife and relatives in China,” said the foundation, which campaigns for the rights of prisoners.
At the time of Gao’s disappearance, his wife and children had already escaped from their home, ultimately arriving in Bangkok where they applied for asylum to the United States.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu in January told reporters Gao was “where he is supposed to be,” but the following week said he did not know Gao’s whereabouts.
Gao’s family had feared he was dead, after a cryptic comment from police that he had “lost his way and gone missing” in September.
“This really is a case that calls for ‘habeas corpus’,” said Jerome Cohen, an expert on Chinese legal issues who is active in pressing Gao’s case.
Gao was sentenced to four years in jail for subversion in 2006 but won a good behavior reprieve. He has, however, since been under constant police watch and periods of secretive detention, his wife, Geng He, told Reuters after her escape.
Dui Hua said it was trying confirm the information on Gao’s whereabouts, adding that Gao’s wife had had no contact from him.
Gao had previously published instances when he was tortured while in detention. Self-educated, he had grown disenchanted with the Chinese system while representing other activist lawyers, Falun Gong practitioners and underground Christians.
In 2005, he wrote an open letter to China’s president and premier, calling for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong, which China regards as a dangerous cult.
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 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