Will Uighurs upend Turkey-China relations

Semih Idiz February 22, 20190

ARTICLE SUMMARYAnkara’s angry outburst over the alleged death of a renowned Uighur folk musician while in Chinese detention has exposed the weakness of Turkey’s claims of defending the minority and its dire need to maintain good relations with Beijing. REUTERS/Murad SezerDemonstrators wave Turkish and East Turkestan flags as they shout slogans during a protest against China, Istanbul, Nov. 6, 2018.

Turkey’s scorching condemnation of China on Feb. 9 over the treatment of the Turkic Uighur minority in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region caught many, including Uighur activists in Turkey, by surprise. Few expected such an outburst after Ankara’s prolonged period of silence despite China’s well-documented and ongoing repressive policies against the Uighurs.

Ankara’s statement pleased many in the expatriate Uighur community, giving them hope that it signals the start of a new and more dynamic policy regarding their cause. Others are not so sure, however, due to past experience, broken promises and Turkey’s openly expressed and actively pursued desire to develop ties with China as a counterbalance to its deteriorating ties with the West.

In addition, questions have been raised about the timing of Ankara’s harsh statement and the true reasons behind it, given that China’s treatment of the Uighurs is nothing new. The obvious catalyst for the unexpectedly harsh statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy was reports circulating on social media that the Uighur folk musician Abdurehim Heyit had died in detention.

Expressing sorrow over Heyit’s death, Aksoy said it was no longer a secret that more than 1 million Uighur’s were being subjected to torture and political brainwashing in Chinese internment camps and prisons. Characterizing this as a “great shame for humanity,” Aksoy called on the international community and the UN secretary-general “to take effective measures in order to bring to an end this human tragedy in Xinjiang.”

Beijing responded immediately by uploading a video of Heyit showing him to be alive. In it, Heyit states the date as Feb. 10 and says he is in good health and has not been abused during his investigation for allegedly violating the law.

The Chinese Embassy in Ankara responded officially to Aksoy on Feb. 11 with a statement calling the allegations regarding Heyit’s death and the treatment of Uighurs “groundless and distorted.” It also said that the “internment camps” referred to by Aksoy were “training centers” and asserted that Turkish journalists had visited and inspected them as recently as January.

Many Uighur activists argue that the video of Heyit could easily have been doctored because China has the technology to do so. Nevertheless, the video represents an embarrassment for Ankara, which appears now to have jumped the gun, as noted by Murat Bardakci, a popular columnist for the daily Haberturk.

Bardakci called Aksoy’s statement on Heyit’s alleged death a “major diplomatic gaffe, made hastily on the basis of hearsay over social media, and without any effort to verify the facts.” He further stated, “To stand up to China over its tormenting and murder of the Uighurs … with statements that can be instantly rebutted does nothing but weaken our hand and make the other side question our seriousness.” 

Ankara noticeably toned down its rhetoric after the release of the Heyit video, and at the time of writing, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who in the past has presented himself as a vocal champion of the Uighurs, had not spoken on the matter.

Addressing the topic during a Feb. 11 press conference in Ankara, government spokesman Omer Celik chose his words carefully to avoid escalating the situation. Responding to a question about Heyit, Celik said, “If the Chinese authorities employed a more transparent approach to claims regarding missing Uighurs, this would help to reduce tensions for everyone.”

Celik also asserted “Ankara’s respect for China’s territorial integrity” and for “Beijing’s need to provide for its security.” He was clearly trying to quash any suggestion that Turkey might be encouraging Uighur separatism or supporting radical groups in Xinjiang.

It is such vacillations in Ankara’s tone that leads Uighurs to doubt its sincerity in claiming to defend their cause. Some Uighur representatives in Turkey are not holding back from openly criticizing Erdogan and the government in this respect. The shared concern is that this latest and unexpected outburst against China may turn out to be a “one-shot affair” because it has more to do with Turkey’s local elections in March than the plight of the Uighurs.

Ankara may have been holding back from hitting China in recent years, but the Uighur’s enjoy great support among religious and nationalist Turks. These groups frequently take to the streets to protest against China and have even mistakenly attacked Korean tourists in Istanbul, mistaking them for Chinese. Aware of this, after Aksoy’s statement China issued a travel warning to its citizens visiting Turkey.

Erdogan needs a strong turnout for his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the March elections to further consolidate his hold on power. Many see Ankara’s latest attack on China as an attempt to please the AKP’s religious and nationalist bases.

Many Uighurs recall that Erdogan also lambasted China in 2009, while prime minister, deeming Beijing’s treatment of the Uighurs “tantamount to genocide.” He failed, however, to follow-up with a clear policy on behalf of the Uighurs. Instead, Ankara very quickly made clear​ that it had no intention of moving in that direction because it valued its ties with China.

In the meantime, China and Turkey worked hard to deepen bilateral ties. Their efforts culminated in a February 2012 visit to Turkey by Vice President Xi Jinping, later president, and a visit by Erdogan to China a few months later.

Erdogan paid another official visit to Beijing in 2015 and traveled again to China in September 2016 for the G20 summit and for the Belt and Road summit in May 2017. Erdogan’s talks with President Xi Jinping during these visits bolstered the positive outlook for bilateral ties, especially in the economic arena, where cooperation is already worth tens of billions of dollars.

Ankara can ill afford to put such potential at risk given its current economic difficulties. As noted, Erdogan is also seeking powerful new political allies, including China, as he drifts away from the West.

In 2016, Erdogan declared his desire for Turkey to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in which China plays a key role, alongside Russia. He signaled that Ankara would be prepared to dump its EU membership bid should that happen. Meanwhile, last December, AKP deputies blocked a motion tabled by the nationalist opposition for a parliamentary inquiry into the plight of Uighurs in China.

During a visit to Beijing in July 2018 Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had told reporters that Ankara viewed threats to China’s security as threats to Turkey and would not allow “anti-China activity inside Turkey or territory controlled by Turkey.” He was trying to assuage China’s concerns regarding anti-Chinese activities by Uighurs in Turkey aimed at promoting independence for Xinjiang and also acknowledging the problem posed by the scores of Uighurs who traveled through Turkey to join Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria.

Despite the recent heated exchanges between Ankara and Beijing, the general expectation is that ties will return to the status quo ante in light of broader interests that neither side can afford to endanger.

Tugrul Keskin, an international relations professor at Shanghai University, does not expect Turkey’s harsh tone toward China to make much of a difference to the long-term relationship, even if mutual suspicions remain.

“Turkey cannot ignore the Uighurs and their living conditions, whereas China is very suspicious about Turkish support for the Uighurs,” Keskin told the South China Morning Post. “This is the hard reality of Turkish-Sino relations and they cannot overcome this.” Keskin added, however, “The future of Turkish-Sino relations will not be different from the past.”

Nevertheless, Turkey is currently gripped by election fever, and there is no guarantee that the Uighur issue will not flare up again to be used as fodder in domestic politics. This could one again cloud Turkey’s ties with China and will require more deft diplomatic management by Ankara than thus far exhibited, especially if Turkey wants to help the Uighurs in earnest.

Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/02/turkey-unexpected-outburst-against-china-uighurs.html#ixzz5gIgrNVkm

Uighurs call on MBS to condemn persecution of Muslim minority during China visit

Activists say Saudi leader must stop ignoring plight of Uighur Muslims persecuted for practising their faith in China

About one million Uighurs are said to be held in internment camps in China’s northwest province (AFP/File photo)By Azad Essa in New York CityPublished date: 21 February 2019 17:49 UTC | Last update: 7 hours 57 min ago

History will judge Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) for staying silent in the face of China’s harsh treatment of millions of Uighur Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang province.

That’s the message Omer Kanat, director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, a leading Uighur rights organisation in the United States, wants to send to MBS as the de facto Saudi leader embarks on a two-day visit to Beijing this week.

“As the Communist Party bulldozes mosques and removes the crescent and star from the mosques left standing, all Muslim leaders need to ask hard questions,” Kanat told Middle East Eye on Thursday.

“Further silence from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Muslim-majority states will invite allegations of acquiescence with Chinese rights violations against the Uighurs and history will judge these actions.”‘If we remain silent, it might get worse’: Uighurs fear for loved ones in ChinaRead More »

Following trips to Pakistan and India over the past week, MBS is currently in Beijing for talks that are likely to focus on energy as trade relations between Saudi Arabia and China expand.

China is the Gulf kingdom’s biggest trading partner, with Saudi imports from China totalling about $46bn last year.

Still, the Uighur issue is unlikely to feature on the agenda.

Peter Irwin, programme manager for the Uyghur World Congress, based in Munich, Germany, said that while members of the Uighur diaspora don’t think MBS will raise the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping, failing to do so would be an insult to Muslims around the world.

“It would be quite an affront to the dignity of Muslims if the leader of the country tasked with the custodianship of the holiest site in Islam would remain silent on the arbitrary detention of at least one million Muslims targeted for their adherence to Islam,” he said.

Irwin said it’s also important to note that Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang province, an area they refer to as occupied East Turkistan, “have been jailed in China for years simply for travelling to Saudi Arabia to complete the Hajj without expressed authority from the Chinese government”.

Internment camps

Since 2014, the Chinese government has embarked on a campaign against the Muslim minority group in the country’s northwestern province. The region borders Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, and it has been under Chinese control since 1949.

The Chinese government’s programme against the Uighurs accelerated in 2017, when it was mandated that any public or private display of religious affiliation could warrant arrest.

The Uighurs, who total about 10 million people in their home province, have beensystematically rounded up by the state.

About one million Uighurs are said to be held in internment camps where they are undergoing political “re-education”. The region is also under intense and intrusive surveillance.

Salih Hudayar, the international and political officer of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, a Uighur advocacy group in the US, told MEE that Islam as a religion is now banned in the region.

“We are being forced to eat pork. They collect our Qurans and desecrate them,” he said.

China has consistently denied allegations that it is persecuting the minority group. Instead, it has accused human rights groups of interfering in China’s internal affairs.

The Saudi embassy in Washington, DC has not responded to MEE’s request for comment about MBS’s trip to China.

MBS ‘weak in the eyes of Muslims’

Irwin said there was a possibility that the Saudi government delegation to China may raise the Uighur issue privately.

MBS’s Asia tour throws up a golden gun, a redirected flight and Uighur silenceRead More »

He said if that’s the case, then “no progress will be made to close the [internment] camps”.

“Chinese authorities will undoubtedly provide the same lame response to the mountains of reports on horrendous rights violations of Uighurs, including torture and numerous deaths in detention – that they are simply benign facilities set up to facilitate job-skills training,” Irwin said.

Hudayar, of the Uighur advocacy group in the US, said that if MBS did not raise the issue, “it would make him appear weak in the eyes of Muslims”.

“He has a duty. We are surprised he hasn’t said anything, given the talk that he cares about human rights. I hope he changes his mind.”

In Central Asia’s forbidding highlands, a quiet newcomer: Chinese troops


Villagers say dozens, maybe hundreds, of Chinese troops have been posted for three years at an outpost near Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan. (Gerry Shih/The Washington Post)By Gerry ShihFebruary 18 at 8:09 PM

NEAR SHAYMAK, Tajikistan — Two miles above sea level in the inhospitable highlands of Central Asia, there’s a new power watching over an old passage into Afghanistan: China.

For at least three years, Chinese troops have quietly monitored this choke point in Tajikistan just beyond China’s western frontier, according to interviews, analysis of satellite images and photographs, and firsthand observations by a Washington Post journalist.

While veiled in secrecy, the outpost of about two dozen buildings and lookout towers illustrates how the footprint of Chinese hard power has been expanding alongside the country’s swelling economic reach.

Tajikistan — awash in Chinese investment — joins the list of Chinese military sites that includes Djibouti in the strategic Horn of Africa and man-made islands in the South China Sea, in the heart of Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s economic ambitions over the past seven years have brought a wave of major investment projects, from the resource-rich Caspian Sea to Cambodia’s coastline.

The modest facility in Tajikistan — which offers a springboard into Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor a few miles away — has not been publicly acknowledged by any government.

But its presence is rich in significance and symbolism.

[Watch: U.S. Navy ship sails in disputed South China Sea]

At a moment when the United States might consider a pact that would pull American troops out of Afghanistan, China appears to be tiptoeing into a volatile region critical to its security and its continental ambitions.

Already, the retreat of old powers and arrival of the new are on display in Tajikistan, a tiny, impoverished country that served as a gateway into Afghanistan for U.S. units in the early phases of the 2001 invasion.

During a recent trip along the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border, The Post saw one of the military compounds and encountered a group of uniformed Chinese troops shopping in a Tajik town, the nearest market to their base. They bore the collar insignia of a unit from Xinjiang, the Chinese territory where authorities have detained an estimated 1 million Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority.

The crackdowns against the Uighurs have been internationally condemned as a violation of human rights, but the Chinese government says they are part of a campaign to insulate its restive far west from Islamic extremism seeping in from Central Asia.

“We’ve been here three, four years,” a soldier who gave his surname as Ma said in a brief conversation while his Chinese comrades, guided by a Tajik interpreter, bought snacks and topped up their mobile SIM cards in Murghab, a sprawl of low-rises about 85 miles north of the base.

When asked whether his unit had intercepted anyone crossing from Afghanistan, Ma smiled.

“You should be aware of our government’s policies about secrecy,” he said. “But I can say: It’s been pretty quiet.”Scarce public information

Details about China’s activities at the facilities, some of which bear the Chinese and Tajik emblems, are not made public. Also unclear are the arrangements over their funding, construction and ownership. Satellite imagery shows what appear to be two clusters of buildings, barracks and training grounds, about 10 miles apart near the mouth of the Wakhan Corridor, a narrow strip of territory in northeastern Afghanistan. 

A Chinese soldier with the surname Ma buys goods in the Murghab bazaar. He told The Post that Chinese forces have been in Tajikistan for three to four years. (Gerry Shih/The Washington Post)

The Post separately spoke to members of a German mountaineering expedition who said they were interrogated in 2016 by Chinese troops patrolling the Afghan corridor, near the settlement of Baza’i Gonbad. Photos provided by Steffan Graupner, the expedition leader, showed Chinese mine-resistant armored vehicles and equipment embossed with the country’s paramilitary logo. Taken together, the findings add weight to a growing number of reports that China, despite public denials, has been conducting security operations inside Afghanistan.

[China’s military advances have Pentagon on edge]

China’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment and directed questions to the Defense Ministry, which did not respond to requests for comment.

In a statement, Tajikistan’s Foreign Ministry said there are “no People’s Republic of China military bases on the territory of the Republic of Tajikistan,” nor “any talks whatsoever” to establish one. 

Analysts say the Chinese encountered by The Post may be paramilitary units under the command of the central military leadership but technically distinct from the People’s Liberation Army, China’s main war-fighting force.

U.S. officials say they are aware of the Chinese deployment but do not have a clear understanding of its operations. They say they do not object to the Chinese presence because the United States also believes that a porous ­Afghan-Tajik border could pose a security risk.

China’s encroachment into Afghanistan is “fascinating but not surprising — and should be welcomed by Washington,” said Ely Ratner, executive vice president at the Center for a New American Security, who was a deputy national security adviser to then-Vice President Joe Biden.

A satellite view of one of the Chinese outposts at the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan on Sept. 29. (Planet Labs)

“We can and should foist more responsibility for Afghanistan on China,” Ratner said. “They don’t want a target on their back, but they’ve been free-riding on U.S. dollars and lives for security.”

[Watch: U.S. general says China’s military rise is on all fronts]

Despite harboring concerns about militants in Afghanistan for decades, China has been loath to be seen as siding with any party in the conflict, much less to put boots on the ground.

Instead, China’s state-owned companies and banks have inked infrastructure deals, mining concessions and loans across Central and South Asia, the poor and turbulent belt that makes up its backyard. Its diplomats, who have robust ties with Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Taliban, have talked up China’s role as a regional peace broker — never a peacekeeper.

But China’s global posture is changing under Xi, who has shed the country’s long-standing isolationism and spoken loftily about restoring its great-power status.

People’s Liberation Army (PLA) strategists increasingly advocate for pushing beyond the Chinese mainland with deployments that follow in the wake of the country’s expanding “haiwailiyi,” or interests abroad, said Andrew Scobell, a Chinese security expert at the Rand Corp.

“China’s peaceful rise has encountered a complicated and severe situation,” Maj. Li Dong wrote in a 2016 journal article as part of a PLA assessment of China’s overseas military strategy. He pinpointed the Central Asian frontier as one of three top flash points along with the Korean Peninsula and the East and South China seas.

China’s deployments abroad lack strength and “flexibility,” Li wrote. “China should push the construction of its overseas military presence gradually.”A rugged chessboard

In 2017, China unveiled a naval base in Djibouti that gave it a foothold in the Middle East and Africa. It steadily installed infrastructure — and later, weaponry — in the contested South China Sea. A recent Pentagon report predicted a PLA base could appear soon in Pakistan — a prospect China has denied.

Chinese troops visit the Murghab bazaar. (Gerry Shih/The Washington Post)

Beijing’s moves have been similarly opaque in the rugged mountains spanning Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and China: the same chessboard where czarist Russia and the British Empire vied for influence 150 years ago.

There will be “no Chinese military personnel of any kind on Afghan soil at any time,” Col. Wu Qian, the Defense Ministry’s spokesman, told reporters in August.

[Opinion: The awkward romance of China and Russia]

In private, the Chinese tell a slightly different story.

In late 2017, the Development Research Center, an influential think tank under China’s cabinet, invited a handful of Russian researchers to its central Beijing offices. In what was billed as a private seminar, the Chinese explained why China had a security presence in Tajikistan that extended into the Afghans’ Wakhan Corridor, according to Alexander Gabuev of the Carnegie Moscow Center, a Russian participant. 

The Chinese researchers took pains to describe the outpost as built for training and logistical purposes — not a military occupation. They also sought to gauge Russia’s reaction with questions: How would Moscow view China’s move into its traditional sphere of influence? Would it be more palatable if China deployed private mercenaries instead of uniformed men?

“They wanted to know what Russia’s red lines were,” said Gabuev, who has held similar conversations with scholars working under the Chinese intelligence agency. “They don’t want Russia blindsided.”

In the 1990s, a Uighur separatist group, calling itself the East Turkestan Independence Movement, rose in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban and threatened attacks against China. Although Western officials and analysts question the ETIM’s ability to carry out significant attacks, it heralded the beginning of an extremist threat facing China.

Since 2014, hundreds, or most likely thousands, of Uighurs have left China for Syria, and Chinese officials, like their Western counterparts, have warned about the prospect of fighters there decamping for Central Asia as they lose territory. In 2016, the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan was targeted in a suicide bombing that Kyrgyz authorities attributed to the al-Nusra Front in Syria.’You never saw us here’

To make the days-long overland journey across Tajikistan, from the capital, Dushanbe, to the remote canyon held by Chinese soldiers, is to witness a landscape altered by an even more irrepressible force than the troops: Chinese money.

In the west, Chinese-built coal-fired plants loom over the skyline, providing electricity and heat to the capital’s residents. In the east, Chinese-funded hospitals and schools rise from the hardscrabble countryside. In the south, Chinese-financed tracks circumvent a crucial Soviet-era railway that had been shut down by Tajikistan’s neighbor, Uzbekistan. Stitching it all together are Chinese-bored tunnels and ­Chinese-laid asphalt that cut hours off trips along the country’s winding east-west highway.

Murghab, established as an army outpost in the 1890s by Russian Cossacks, is about 85 miles north of the remote Chinese border outpost. (Gerry Shih/The Washington Post)

The projects reflect Tajikistan’s strategic position in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, an ambitious infrastructure investment plan to pull the Eurasian land mass into its economic embrace. China, through a single state bank, held more than half of Tajikistan’s external debt as of 2016, up from none in 2006, according to 2017 Tajik Finance Ministry data.

In the soft-power stakes, the United States and Russia both appear to be losing relative ground to China, which provides scholarships for undergraduate Tajiks and military academy training for up-and-coming defense officials.

Susan M. Elliott, former U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan, said China’s generous aid and funding should be applauded but viewed with skepticism. In the past year, a handful of countries that have taken Chinese investments have reconsidered BRI deals amid allegations of corruption and low feasibility.

[China’s charm offensive in Asia]

“If someone’s offering money to build roads and help put power lines up, it’s hard to turn that down when you have no alternative,” Elliott said. “This is a strategic and important part of the world, and we need to continue our strong partnerships with Tajikistan and other countries in the region.”

In many ways, the shifting geopolitical currents play out on the windy streets of Murghab, established as an army outpost in the 1890s by Russian Cossacks. 

These days, it is Chinese troops who are dropping by in their unassuming minivans to pick up provisions.

Aiperi Bainazarova, a part-time manager at the only hotel in town, said locals believed there were scores, maybe hundreds, of Chinese troops who stayed on base. They mostly come to town to buy phone credit. Sometimes they buy hundreds of kilograms of yak meat at the price of 30 somoni — about $3 — a kilo, she said.

“It helps the economy,” said Bainazarova, 21, an ethnic Kyrgyz who studied on a Chinese government scholarship in Shanghai.

Despite the Chinese government’s insistence on keeping things secret, its troops’ periodic visits to Murghab’s bazaar, a row of shipping containers converted into storefronts, are anything but.

Safarmo Toshmamadov is a shopkeeper in Murghab. Some of her customers are Chinese troops. (Gerry Shih/The Washington Post)

Safarmo Toshmamadov, a 53-year-old ethnic Pamir shopkeeper, said they have come to her for maybe three years. Some attempt a few words of Russian — although they always come accompanied by Tajik interpreters, she said.

“We don’t think about them, and they don’t bother us,” Toshmamadov said, shrugging. “They buy my water and snacks. It’s good.”

One afternoon outside Toshmamadov’s store, a Post reporter saw Ma, the Chinese soldier, who was initially surprised to encounter another Chinese speaker.

He spoke guardedly but affably about his deployment, which he explained was secret.

“You should know our government’s standard policies around revealing information,” he said. “So don’t tell your friends.”

When asked to pose for a photo together, Ma recoiled.

“Remember,” he said, walking away. “You never saw us here.”

Anton Troianovski in Moscow, Yuan Wang in Beijing and Dan Lamothe in Washington contributed to this report.

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Thermo Fisher to Stop Sales of Genetic Sequencers to China’s Xinjiang Region


Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. said Wednesday it will no longer be selling or servicing genetic sequencers in China’s Xinjiang region, following mounting criticism that its products were used for state surveillance of citizens there that enabled human rights abuses.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company said the decision to stop supporting customers of its human identification technology in the area—where police have rolled out one of the most extensive state surveillance programs ever built—was “consistent with Thermo Fisher’s values, ethics code and policies” and followed “fact-specific assessments.”

“We recognize the importance of considering how our products and services are used—or may be used—by our customers,” the company said in a statement. It didn’t specify whether it would continue to sell these sequencers elsewhere in China.

The devices were described in a December 2017 Wall Street Journal article that highlighted the ways Chinese police gather DNA samples from many citizens who aren’t criminal suspects. Earlier that month, a report by Human Rights Watch identified Thermo Fisher as a supplier of some DNA sequencers to Xinjiang police.

The use of Thermo Fisher’s devices was then questioned by members of Congress. Last February, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio urged the company to ensure that its products weren’t being misused. In May, the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China—of which Mr. Rubio was then co-chairman—wrote a letter asking the U.S. Department of Commerce to take steps to prevent U.S. technology from being used for questionable practices by Chinese police, saying “ the government there is using technology, including U.S. made, to systematically crackdown on its people.”

Chinese companies rely on U.S. suppliers for high-tech DNA sequencers as well as microchips and other components needed to build artificial-intelligence equipment used for state surveillance.

Few locations in China are as extensively surveilled as Xinjiang. The province on China’s western frontier is at the forefront of Beijing’s deployment of surveillance technology and aggressive policing, to deal with what it sees as antigovernment, terrorist violence fueled by militant Islam. Up to one million people, or about 7% of the Muslim population there, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to U.S. officials and United Nations experts.

Beijing backs ‘patriotic actions’ of Chinese students who reported Uygur activist in Canada

  • But embassy in Ottawa says the incident at McMaster University – as well as a separate case in Toronto – had nothing to do with Chinese officials
  • Students were infuriated Rukiye Turdush had been given a chance to deliver a speech on campus and sent video and photos to consulate
Lee Jeong-ho

Lee Jeong-ho  

Updated: Saturday, 16 Feb, 2019 11:30pm91545

China’s embassy in Ottawa said the two incidents at Canadian campuses this week had “nothing to do with the Chinese embassy and Chinese consulate general”. Photo: EPA-EFE
China’s embassy in Ottawa said the two incidents at Canadian campuses this week had “nothing to do with the Chinese embassy and Chinese consulate general”. Photo: EPA-EFE

China’s embassy in Ottawa said the two incidents at Canadian campuses this week had “nothing to do with the Chinese embassy and Chinese consulate general”. Photo: EPA-EFE

Beijing backed the “patriotic actions” of Chinese students who reported a Uygur activist’s talk at a Canadian university to the consulate, but said they were not told to do so by officials.

“We strongly support the just and patriotic actions of the Chinese students,” the Chinese embassy in Ottawa said in a statement on Saturday.

“Safeguarding sovereignty and opposing separatism are the common position of the international community, and they are also the position that the Canadian government upholds,” it said.

“[But] what happened recently at the University of Toronto and McMaster University has nothing to do with the Chinese embassy and Chinese consulate general in Canada.”

Uygur activist Rukiye Turdush gave a talk at McMaster University in Ontario this week. Photo: Handout

Uygur activist Rukiye Turdush gave a talk at McMaster University in Ontario this week. Photo: HandoutShare:Earlier this week, a group of Chinese students at McMaster University in Ontario were infuriated when they found out Rukiye Turdush – a Uygur woman they considered a separatist – had been given the opportunity to deliver a speech on campus about the mass internment of Muslimsin the Xinjiang region, in China’s far west.

They took to Chinese social network WeChat to rally support, then attended the event, filming and taking photos, which were later sent to the Chinese consulate in Toronto.SUBSCRIBE TO US CHINA TRADE WARGet updates direct to your inboxSUBMITBy registering for these newsletters you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy

Also this week, a Tibetan woman seeking to become student union president at the University of Toronto at Scarborough was targeted in a petition signed by nearly 10,000 people who were unhappy about her pro-Tibet stance.

Beijing is facing a growing outcry from the United Nations and Western governments over its treatment of the mostly Muslim Uygur minority in Xinjiang. The UN has said it received credible reports that as many as 1 million ethnic Uygurs were being held in mass internment camps there.

Turkey’s row with China over Uygurs unlikely to affect relations in long term, analysts say

At a regular UN review of the country’s human rights record last year, Beijing characterised the far west region as a former hotbed of extremism that had been stabilised through “training centres” that helped people to gain job skills.

The embassy statement repeated Beijing’s explanation of its treatment of Uygurs, saying there had been no human rights violations in Xinjiang and dismissing the Uygur activists’ movement in Canada.

It added that the training centres had been set up to protect China’s national security from the “three evils” of terrorism, extremism and separatism.

“The Chinese government protects the freedom of religious belief and all related rights of people of all ethnic groups in Tibet and Xinjiang in accordance with the law,” the statement said, adding that the authorities had taken “necessary measures to counter terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang”.

“Canada is a multicultural country advocating freedom of speech … People who oppose [separatism] should also be entitled to enjoy the freedom of speech,” it said. “We hope that the Canadian people could correctly view the relevant issues and will not be misled by the wrong information.”

China releases video of ‘dead’ Uygur poet Abdurehim Heyit but fails to silence critics

A large number of Chinese students are enrolled at Canadian universities. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, there were more than 140,000 students from China in Canada in 2017.

As the number of Chinese students at foreign universities has grown, the Washington Post reports that educators have expressed concern that student activism carried out with the support or direction of Chinese officials could corrode free speech by making students and scholars, particularly those with family ties to China, afraid to criticise the Communist Party line.This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: ‘patriotic’ students in canada hailed

Muhajirettiki Uyghurlar qozghighan “Menmu Uyghur” pa’aliyitige gherblik Uyghurshunaslarmu awaz qoshti


"Menmu Uyghur" pa'aliyitige nöwette amérikining indi'ana uniwérsitétida doktorluq aspirantliqida oquwatqan Uyghur muzika-medeniyet tetqiqatchisi élis andérson xanimmu qatnashqan.

“Menmu Uyghur” pa’aliyitige nöwette amérikining indi’ana uniwérsitétida doktorluq aspirantliqida oquwatqan Uyghur muzika-medeniyet tetqiqatchisi élis andérson xanimmu qatnashqan.

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Awazni köchürüsh

Sen’etkar abduréhim héyitning xitay türmiside ölgenlik xewiri tarqalghandin kéyin türkiye tashqi ishlar ministirliqi xitayning milyonlarche Uyghurlarni lagérgha qamighanliqini eyiblep bayanat élan qilghan idi. Xitay buninggha qarita naraziliq bayanati élan qilip, abduréhim héyt sözlitilgen sin körünüshini ashkarilidi hemde türkiyeni yalghan xewer tarqitish bilen eyiblidi. Bu weqe muhajirettiki Uyghurlar qozghighan “Menmu Uyghur” pa’aliyiti arqiliq xelq’araning diqqitini yene bir qétim Uyghur diyaridiki lagérlar mesilisige merkezleshtürdi.

Melum bolushiche, bu pa’aliyetke Uyghurlardin bashqa gherb döletliridiki Uyghurlar mesilisige yéqindin köngül bölüp kéliwatqan kishilik hoquq pa’aliyetchiliri we bir qisim Uyghurshunas tetqiqatchilarmu awaz qoshqan.

Bélgiye biryussél höriyet uniwérsitétining xitaydiki az sanliq milletler medeniyiti tetqiqatchisi, dotsént wénisa fan’gwillé xanim ziyaritimizni qobul qilip, özining mezkur pa’aliyetke awaz qoshushidiki sewebler heqqide toxtaldi. U “Menmu Uyghur” pa’aliyitige qatnishish “Chet’ellerdiki Uyghur tetqiqatchiliri üchün wijdaniy mejburiyet” dédi. 

U bayanida ikki yildin buyan xitaydiki mezgilide yéqin dostluq munasiwiti ornatqan Uyghur bilim ademlirining xitay da’iriliri teripidin tutqun qilin’ghanliqi heqqidiki xewerlerni anglighan bolsimu, emma ular üchün héch qilip bérelmigenlikini bildürdi. U bu qétim finlandiyediki xalmurat Uyghur teshebbus qilghan “Menmu Uyghur” pa’aliyitidin xewer tapqandin kéyin, bu pa’aliyetken awaz qoshush qararigha kelgenlikini bayan eskertip ötti.

Wénisa fan’gwillé xanim yene mezkur pa’aliyetning xitaygha téximu qattiq bésim peyda qilish roli barliqini tekitlidi. 

“Menmu Uyghur” pa’aliyitige nöwette amérikining indi’ana uniwérsitétida doktorluq aspirantliqida oquwatqan Uyghur muzika-medeniyet tetqiqatchisi élis andérson xanimmu qatnashqan.

Élis andérson xanim 2012-2013-yillarda Uyghur diyarida ötküzülgen “Yipek yoli sadasi” namliq naxsha musabiqisige Uyghurche “Nazaket” dégen isim bilen qatniship, özining Uyghur naxshilirini eynen orunlash mahariti we rawan Uyghurche sözliri bilen Uyghurlar arisida tonulghan idi.

U “Menmu Uyghur” pa’aliyitige awaz qoshup, twittérgha yollighan yazmisida xitayda iz-déreksiz ghayib bolghan Uyghur folklor tetqiqatchisi doktor rahile dawut bilen bille chüshken resimini yollighan. Resimning astigha “Rahile dawut hazir qeyerde? uninggha oxshash tetqiqatchilarning insan qélipidin chiqqan mu’amilige uchrishigha néme seweb boldi?” dégen so’allarni qoyghan.

Élis andérson xanim bügünki künde Uyghur xelqi uchrawatqan bu xil éghir zulumlargha süküt qilalmaydighanliqini, özining “Menmu Uyghur” pa’aliyiti we bashqa usullar arqiliq naheq türmilerge qamalghan Uyghurlar üchün öz awazini anglitidighanliqini bildürdi.

Munasiwetlik xewerler

Uyghur diyaridiki 2 yérim milyon kishining shexsiy uchurliri pütünley ashkarilan’ghan


Uyghur diyaridiki 2 yérim milyon kishining shexsiy uchurlirining ashkarilan'ghanliqi heqqide 17-féwral roytérs agéntliqida bérilgen xewer.

Uyghur diyaridiki 2 yérim milyon kishining shexsiy uchurlirining ashkarilan’ghanliqi heqqide 17-féwral roytérs agéntliqida bérilgen xewer.

Photo: RFA00:00/00:00

Awazni köchürüsh

Gollandiyediki bir neper intérnét mutexessisining bildürüshiche, Uyghur diyaridiki 2 yérim milyondin artuq kishining chiray perqlendürüsh téxnikisi arqiliq xitayning sün’iy eqil kontrol sistémisigha kirgüzülgen shexsiy uchurliri pütünley ashkarilinip ketken.

Bu xewer bügün etigen, yeni 17-féwral roytérs agéntliqi, “Jenubiy xitay etigenlik pochtisi”, “El-jezire” we “Amérika awazi” qatarliq köp sandiki dunyawi taratqularda ulap xewer qilindi.

Xewerde déyilishiche, gollandiyediki GDI fondining tor bixeterliki mutexessisi wéktor géwérs aldinqi küni tasadipiy halda shénjéndiki bir xitay yuqiri téxnika shirkitining sandani, yeni sanliq melumat ambirida saqliniwatqan milyonlighan kishilerning shexsiy uchurlirini bayqighan. Mezkur sandanda Uyghur diyardiki 2 yérim milyondin artuq kishining kimlik nomuri, isim-familisi, jinsi, adrési, tughulghan yil-ay-küni, ish orni hemde ularning ötken 24 sa’et ichidiki chiray tonush téxnikisi arqiliq kaméra arxipigha yollan’ghan heriket haliti we yürüsh-turushi qatarliq shexsiy uchurliri xatirisi bar iken. 

Xewerde déyilishiche, bu peqet xitaydiki sün’iy eqil we yuqiri téxnika uchur sistémisi bilen shughullinidighan birla shirketning sandanining tasadipiy ashkarilinishi iken. Xitay taratqulirining ilgiri sürüshiche, xitay hökümet terep nöwette shénjéndiki mezkur shirketke qarita jiddiy halda tekshürüsh élip barmaqtiken.

Radiyomiz 2016-yilining axirliridin bashlap xitay hökümitining “Omumiy xelq salametlik tekshürüshi” dégen nam astida Uyghur diyaridiki yerlik ahalilerning shexsiy uchurliri, yeni ularning qan ewrishkisi, chiray körünüshi, köz almisi we köz qarichuqi, a’ile ezaliri we uruq-tughqanlar zenjiri shundaqla bashqa her türlük xususiy uchurlirini arxiplashturuwatqanliqi heqqide köpligen melumatlarni ashkarilighan idi. Uningdin bashqa xitay da’irilirining oxshash waqitta yene Uyghur diyardiki barliq matorluq qatnash wasitilirige iz qoghlash apparati ornatqanliqi, shexslerning yanfonlirigha hökümet meblegh sélip ishlep chiqqan kontrol eplirini qachilighanliqi melum bolghan idi.

Uyghur diyaridiki 2 yérim milyon kishining xitay hökümitining yuqiri téxnikiliq kontrol sistémisida saqliniwatqan shexsiy uchurlirining ashkarilinishi xelq’arada küchlük ghulghula qozghidi. Bu xewer xitay hökümitining Uyghur diyarida milyonlighan Uyghur, qazaq we bashqa yerlik musulman xelqlerni jaza lagérlirigha qamap, insaniyetke qarshi jinayet sadir qiliwatqanliqi ilgiri sürülüwatqan, xelq’ara jem’iyetning xitaygha bolghan inkasi küchiyiwatqan bir mezgilde ashkarilandi.

Közetküchiler, shénjéndiki peqet birla xitay shirkitining sandanida saqliniwatqan Uyghur diyaridiki 2 yérim milyon kishining shexsiy uchuri bizge xitay hökümitining Uyghur diyarida ghayet zor yuqiri téxnikiliq kontrol sistémisini qurup bolghanliqini, emdi dunya buninggha dawamliq süküt qilsa insaniyet tarixidiki mölcherligüsiz bir meydan paji’ening yüz bérishidin saqlan’ghili bolmaydighanliqini körsitip bermekte, dégenlerni ilgiri sürmekte.

Munasiwetlik xewerler