Grenzenlose Grausamkeit: In Chinas Gefängnissen werden über 100 Foltermethoden angewandt

Von Susanne Ausic19. Februar 2019Aktualisiert: 20. Februar 2019 23:32Die Grausamkeit kennt keine Grenzen. Einsatz von elektrischer Schlagstöcken, sexueller Missbrauch und Organraub – so werden die Gefangenen aus Gewissensgründen in China gefoltert. Die Mehrheit der Opfer sind Falun Dafa-Praktizierende.

Nachstellung der brutalen Verfolgung von Falun Dafa-Praktizierenden in China. 20. Juli 2009 in London.Foto: SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images

Nach Ansicht von Menschenrechtlern ist die Anwendung von Folter und Misshandlungen in China gegen verfolgte Gruppen nach wie vor an der Tagesordnung. Einige Foltermethoden lassen sich auf das Mittelalter zurückführen, andere Formen des Missbrauchs, wie die Zwangsentnahme von Organen, sind in der Geschichte beispiellos.

In einem Bericht von Amnesty International aus dem Jahr 2015 mit dem Titel „Kein Ende in Sicht: Folter und erzwungene Geständnisse in China“ heißt es: „Folter und andere grausamen, unmenschliche oder erniedrigende Behandlungen oder Strafen sind seit langem in allen Situationen verbreitet, in denen Behörden Einzelpersonen ihrer Freiheit in China berauben.“

Harte Schläge sind üblich. Hundebisse sind eine weitere Foltermethode.Foto: Minghui.org

Falun Dafa-Praktizierende sind Gefangene aus Gewissensgründen in China. Sie sind Opfer einiger der schlimmsten und grausamsten Methoden des Missbrauchs und der Folter. Die 1999 von der Kommunistischen Partei Chinas gegen Falun Dafa-Praktizierende eingeleitete Verfolgung hat nach Ansicht einiger Forscher tatsächlich dazu beigetragen, die Verfolgungsmethoden auch gegen andere Gruppen zu verstärken.

Stiche mit Bambusstäben unter die Fingernägel.Foto: Minghui.org

„Die Beamten, die die Kampagne zur Umerziehung in Xinjiang vorantreiben, haben fast 20 Jahre Erfahrung. Das erklärt, wie es geschafft haben, eine so massive Kampagne innerhalb so kurzer Zeit zu starten und umzusetzen,“ schrieb Sarah Cook, Asien-Spezialisten der Organisation Freedom House, in einem Artikel für die Jamestown Foundation über das Durchgreifen der Kommunistischen Partei in der Region.

100 Foltermethoden

Die häufigste Form der Folter in chinesischen Gefängnissen, Haftanstalten und Gehirnwäscheeinrichtungen ist der elektrische Schlagstock. Mit einer Spannung von bis zu 300.000 Volt werden Schlagstöcke eingesetzt, um empfindliche Körperteile wie Mund, Genitalien, Hals und Fußsohlen zu schocken.

Folter mit elektrischem Schlagstock.Foto: Minghui.org

Aber es gibt viele andere Foltermethoden – mehr als 100 sogar. Das wurde von Falun Dafa-Praktizierenden bestätigt, die das brutale Gefängnissystem Chinas überlebt haben. Andere Gefangene aus Gewissensgründen in China sind unter anderem die Anhänger die chinesischen Haus-Christen, Tibeter, Uiguren und Demokratie-Aktivisten.

Injektionen mit schädlichen Psychopharmaka.Foto: Minghui.org

Laut einem Bericht der „Status of Chinese People“, einer Website die Rechtsverletzungen in China aufdeckt, gehören zu den 100 Arten von Foltermethoden, die gegen Falun Dafa-Praktizierende angewendet werden: harte Schläge, sexueller Missbrauch, Handschellen in schmerzhaften Positionen über lange Zeiträume, Aussetzen von Witterungseinflüssen, Zwangsernährung mit Urin und Kot, Verbrennen mit Zigaretten, Isolationshaft, Schlafentzug, Einstechen von Fingernägeln mit gespitzten Bambusstäbchen, Bisse von Hunden und Schlangen.

Gefesselt in schmerzvollen Positionen über einen langen Zeitraum.Foto: Minghui.org

Viele der Foltermethoden haben sogar Namen wie „Kleiner Käftig“ (mit Handschellen an das innere eines kleinen Käfigs gefesselt sein, so dass die Opfer weder stehen noch sitzen können), „Hölleneinsperrung“ (ein Gerät mit Handschellen und Fesseln, bei dem die Opfer nicht gehen, sitzen, die Toilette benutzen oder sich selbst ernähren können), „Schuppen bedecken“ (Ersticken) und „Ziehende Folter“ (die Opfer werden wiederholt über den rauen Boden geschliffen).

Diese Foltermethode verursacht extreme Schmerzen und verrenkt die Schultern.Foto: Minghui.orgADVERTISEMENT

Dann gibt es noch die berüchtigte „Tigerbank“, bei der das Opfer auf einer Bank sitzt, die Beine sind gerade ausgestreckt und mit Gurten fest mit der Bank angebunden. Ziegelsteine oder andere harte Gegenstände werden unter die Fersen des Opfers gelegt, wobei weitere Schichten hinzugefügt werden, bis die Gurte reißen. Diese Folter bereitet unerträgliche Schmerzen.

Gezwungen, über einen längeren Zeitraum auf einer kleinen Wellpappe zu sitzen.Foto: Minghui.org

Diese Foltermethoden können sowohl körperlich als auch geistig verheerende Auswirkungen haben, so die Website Minghui.org. Die Seite klärt über die seit 1999 von der Kommunistischen Partei eingeleitete Verfolgung gegen die spirituelle Praxis von Falun Dafa auf.

Die Praktizierenden werden auch mentaler Folterung in Form einer intensiven Gehirnwäsche unterzogen. Das Ziel ist, ihren Willen zu brechen, damit sie ihren Glauben aufgeben oder ihm entgegenwirken. Dies kann zu langfristigen Depressionen und Verzweiflung führen.

Zwangsernährung mit Salzwasser.Foto: Minghui.org

Eine weitere Foltermethode ist die Injektion von gefährlichen Medikamenten, die das zentrale Nervensystem schädigen und unerträgliche Schmerzen, psychischen Zusammenbruch und körperliche Behinderungen verursachen, berichtet „Minghui“ unter Berufung auf Betroffene.

Den Kopf in einen Eimer mit Kot und Urin tauchen.Foto: Minghui.org

Sexueller Missbrauch

Neben der körperlichen Folter wird Vergewaltigung konsequent und systematisch als Mittel zur Demütigung und Traumatisierung von Praktizierenden eingesetzt, berichtet „Minghui“ weiter.

Im berüchtigten Zwangsarbeitslager Masanjia warfen die Wächter 18 weibliche Praktizierende in die Zellen der Männer und ermutigten sie, die Frauen nach Belieben zu vergewaltigen, was zum Tod, zur Behinderung oder zur geistigen Instabilität der Frauen führte.Mögen Sie unsere Artikel?Unterstützen Sie EPOCH TIMESHIER SPENDEN

Es gab zahlreiche Fälle von Gruppenvergewaltigungen von Praktizierenden durch Häftlinge im gesamten Arbeitslagersystem – das Masanjia wurde inzwischen geschlossen. Auch Kinder waren nicht davor geschützt. Im Jahr 2002 wurde ein 9-jähriges Mädchen von drei Männern im Changping Mental Hospital in Peking vergewaltigt. Das Mädchen war die verwaiste Tochter einer Falun Dafa-Praktizierende, die bei der Folter getötet wurde.

Anfang 2003 schockten die Wächter von Mansanjia eine Praktizierende mit zwei elektrischen Schlagstöcken gleichzeitig an den Brüsten für mehrere Stunden ohne Unterbrechung. Infolge dessen waren die Brüste völlig zerfetzt.

Sexueller Missbrauch, einschließlich Gruppenvergewaltigung durch Wächter oder Häftlinge ist eine gängige Foltermethode.Foto: Minghui.org

Andere Arten von sexuellem Missbrauch, die Frauen irreparablen körperlichen und geistigen Schaden zugefügt haben, sind das Zusammenbinden mehrerer Zahnbürsten und das Verdrehen innerhalb der Vagina, das Verdrahten und Schocken der Brustwarzen, das Einführen von Chilisauce in die Vagina, das wiederholte Reiben eines dicken Stricks über die Vagina, das Trampeln auf den Brüsten der Opfer, wiederholte Tritte gegen die Vagina und das wiederholte Stechen oder Eindringen der Vagina mit einem Stock oder anderen Gegenständen.

Im Frauenzwangsarbeitslager Shibalihe zogen Wächter weibliche Praktizierende aus und befestigten eine Kaminzange an ihren Vaginas, während sie zeitgleich auf ihre Brüste schlugen, berichtet „Minghui“. Sie verbrannten auch die Gesichter mit einer erhitzten Zange.

Organraub

Die Entnahme ihrer lebenswichtigen Organe, während sie noch am Leben sind, ist die extremste Form der Folter und auch eine, die immer mit dem Tod endet. Dieser Methode sind vor allem Falun Dafa-Praktizierende ausgesetzt, nachdem die Kommunistische Partei ihre Kampagne zur Ausrottung der traditionellen spirituellen Praxis gestartet hatte.

Zwangsentnahme von Organen, solange der „Spender“ noch am Leben ist.Foto: Minghui.org

Ein Bericht der kanadischen Menschenrechtsanwälte David Matas und David Kilgour aus dem Jahr 2006 ergab, dass gefangene Falun Dafa-Praktizierende in großem Umfang getötet wurden, damit ihre Organe gewinnbringend in der die Transplantationsindustrie Chinas eingesetzt werden konnten.

Im Juni 2016 veröffentlichten Kilgour, Matas und der US-amerikanische Autor und Menschenrechtler Ethan Gutmann einen Bericht über die Fortsetzung und das Ausmaß des Organraubs in China. Sie fanden heraus, dass die 169 von der Regierung genehmigten Transplantationskrankenhäuser im ganzen Land die Kapazitäten hatten, seit dem Jahr 2000 mehr als eine Million Transplantationen durchzuführen.

Die Opfer sind Falun Dafa-Praktizierende, Tibeter, Uirguren und Hauschristen, wobei die Falun Dafa-Praktizierenden die am häufigsten betroffene Menschengruppe ist. Gutmann schätzt, dass in Chinas riesigem Gefängnissystem jederzeit zwischen 450.000 und 100.000 Praktizierende festgehalten werden.LESEN SIE AUCH„Wall Street Journal“: Der Albtraum menschlichen Organraubs in ChinaChinesische Spitzenärzte geben zu: Falun Gong-Praktizierenden werden die Organe geraubtEU-Parlament bezieht Stellung gegen Organraub in China und verliest „Schriftliche Erklärung 48“Chinas Transplantations-Industrie: 700 Kliniken unter Massenmord-Verdacht – jährlich 100.000 OPsSchlagworteCCPChinaFalun DafaFalun GongGefängnisGutmannHaftkilgourKommunistische ParteimatasMissbrauchOrganraubTibeterUirgurenXianjiang

SAUDI ARABIA’S MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN DEFENDS CHINA’S USE OF CONCENTRATION CAMPS FOR MUSLIMS DURING VISIT TO BEIJING

BY CRISTINA MAZA ON 2/22/19 AT 9:24 AMPauseUnmuteCurrent Time?0:00Duration?1:24Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%QualityHDFullscreenDonald Trump Defends Saudi Arabia Despite Khashoggi Murder: ‘It’s All About America First’SHAREWORLDINTERNATIONAL AFFAIRSRELIGION

As he faces criticism from Western countries over the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia’s young crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is forming new alliances.

On Friday, the leader colloquially known as MBS arrived in China, another country accused of authoritarianism, to meet with officials there. He was greeted by China’s Vice Premier Han Zheng and signed key agreements with Beijing related to energy production and the chemical industry. During his visit, he also appeared to defend China’s use of re-education camps for its country’s Muslim population.

“China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremization work for its national security,” the crown prince was quoted as saying on Chinese television.View image on Twitter

Luz Ding@luzdingyu

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed said during meeting with Xi Jinping “China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremization work for its national security.” -reported CCTV 7PM News.16012:36 PM – Feb 22, 2019235 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

China has detained an estimated 1 million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps, where they are undergoing re-education programs allegedly intended to combat extremism. The Uighur are an ethnic Turkic group that practices Islam and lives in Western China and parts of Central Asia. Beijing has accused the Uighur in its Western Xinjiang region of supporting terrorism and implemented a surveillance regime. Millions of Muslims are also allegedly being forced to study communist doctrine in the camps.

“The Chinese government has long carried out repressive policies against the Turkic Muslim peoples in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China. These efforts have been dramatically scaled up since late 2016, when Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo relocated from the Tibet Autonomous Region to assume leadership of Xinjiang,” read a report from the organization Human Rights Watch.

gettyimages-599084278-594x594

Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 opening ceremony at Hangzhou International Expo Center in Hangzhou, China, on September 4, 2016.NICOLAS ASFOURI/GETTY IMAGES

“There have been reports of deaths in the political education camps, raising concerns about physical and psychological abuse, as well as stress from poor conditions, overcrowding, and indefinite confinement,” the report continued. “While basic medical care is available, people are held even when they have serious illnesses or are elderly; there are also children in their teens, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people with disabilities. Former detainees reported suicide attempts and harsh punishments for disobedience in the facilities.”View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Abdugheni Sabit@AbdugheniSabit

Mohammad Bin Salman is in #China – Will he bring up the plight of #Uyghur #Muslims in East #Turkistan .

Møre than two million #Uyghurs have been sent to concentration camps where they are forced to denounce #Islam and pledge allegiance to the #Chinese communist party.8310:00 PM – Feb 21, 2019103 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

China claimed the camps were vocational training schools.

Uighur groups called on Mohammed bin Salman to use his official visit to pressure China on the issue of the concentration camps, as Saudi Arabia has traditionally been a defender of the rights of Muslims worldwide.RELATED STORIES

But under the leadership of the young crown prince, the country’s leadership has become more pragmatic in its pursuit of foreign policy interests. For example, Saudi Arabia has reportedly started developing closer ties with Israel despite persistent complaints from human rights groups about the country’s treatment of Palestinians. The tentative alliance is meant to sideline Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia’s mutual enemy.

Mohammed bin Salman will also meet China’s President Xi Jingping during his visit to the country. China and Saudi Arabia have close economic ties, having done an estimated $63 billion worth of trade in 2018.

The killing of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October 2018 isolated Saudi Arabia internationally. The U.S. intelligence community determined that Mohammad bin Salman was responsible for orchestrating the murder. REQUEST REPRINT OR SUBMIT CORRECTIONAds by Revcontent

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Exiled Uighurs in Turkey say they are anxious for loved ones in China

Ankara’s words on plight of Uighur community may ring empty

An Uighur man talks on the phone in front of a Uighur restaurant. Kerem Uzel for The National
An Uighur man talks on the phone in front of a Uighur restaurant. Kerem Uzel for The National
Andrew Wilks

Andrew Wilks

February 19, 2019

At first glance, Istanbul’s 58th Boulevard has all the characteristics of a typical Turkish area.

On the southern flank of the Zeytinburnu neighbourhood, it is lined by the same banks, cafes and pharmacies as any other shopping street in Turkey’s largest city.

It is the passers-by, wrapped up warm against the February wind, that identify it as the heart of Turkey’s Uighur diaspora, a Muslim minority from China’s north-west Xinjiang region.

Elderly men with long, wispy beards chat on benches, their traditional felt hats pulled down against the cold, as boys wearing doppas – square-shaped, embroidered skull caps – run past.

It is in this working-class district near Ataturk airport that concern for friends and relatives in China is felt acutely.

Last week their spirits were lifted when Ankara issued a statement on the plight of Xinjiang’s Uighurs.

In recent years Beijing has increased surveillance of the Uighur population. Hundreds of thousands have reportedly been jailed, often for claimed threats to national security.

READ MORE

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China’s President Xi Jinping ordered security forces to “strike first” against extremism in 2014 after a deadly bomb blast in Urumqi and other attacks across China.

The rise in violence followed reports of thousands of Uighurs fighting in Syria for Al Qaeda-linked groups and ISIS, raising Chinese concerns about returning fighters.

The Turkistan Islamic Movement, a separatist organisation of Uighurs who seek a “caliphate” for Xinjiang and eventually Central Asia, has been fighting in Syria.

It has been designated a terrorist organisation by the EU, US, UK and other countries.

In his statement, Turkish foreign affairs spokesman Hami Aksoy called for an end to the “human tragedy” in the north-western region and said at least a million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other mostly Muslim minorities were in internment camps.

Uighur dissidents claim a higher figure for those interned, while China denies allegations of torture in camps, which they say are “re-education centres”.

Mr Aksoy’s statement was widely welcomed by Turkey’s 20,000 Uighurs after a period of public silence regarding the fate of their cousins.

In particular, a reference to “our kinsmen and citizens of Uighur origin” who “cannot get news from their relatives in the region” gave a glimmer of hope to those in Zeytinburnu.

Many of those who spoke to The National described the frustration of not knowing what had happened to family members in Xinjiang.

“My family has been missing for more than four years,” said Ekber Kazak as he gestured to an arrangement of photos of missing relatives set up in the street.

“I got word two years ago that one of my brothers was in a camp but I don’t know about the others.”

He has not heard from his father Sabir Omer, 70, his mother Tacigul Abdulkadir, 68, or a second brother and his wife and son.

“I don’t know if they are alive or dead,” Mr Kazak, 45, said. “I don’t know where they are.

“The last contact I had with them was by telephone four years ago. I heard my brother was taken away after speaking to me on the phone.”

Kitchen staff of Oguzhan restaurant . Kerem Uzel for The National
Kitchen staff of Oguzhan restaurant . Kerem Uzel for The National

Turks claim kinship to Xinjiang’s 11 million Uighurs, and other nationalities across Central Asia, through shared cultural, ethnic and linguistic heritage.

In 2009, then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned rioting in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, which was his first stop during a visit to China three years later.

Uighur activist protesting against China on 58th Boulevard Street in Zeytinburnu. Kerem Uzel for The National
Uighur activist protesting against China on 58th Boulevard Street in Zeytinburnu. Kerem Uzel for The National

Despite that Turkey’s relations with China have gone from strength to strength, with bilateral trade reaching $26 billion a year.

China has invested huge amounts in Turkey as Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative seeks to recreate the Silk Road trade route that once spanned Asia.

With such large sums dependent on smooth relations with China, there had been concerns that Turkey, which is in economic turmoil, was putting Uighur rights aside.

READ MORE

Turkey demands China close its internment camps for Muslims

China exiles point spotlight on Muslim repression

Hillary Clinton accuses China of using technology to repress Muslim Uighurs

But there are worrying signs for the diaspora. Mr Cengiz said about 200 people have been ordered to report regularly to the Turkish police after China identified them as agitators.

Another 80 Uighurs are being held in detention in Turkey awaiting deportation as illegal immigrants, he said.

The Turkish statement on human rights abuses in Xinjiang followed reports this month of the death of a popular Uighur musician.

China later released a video showing the musician, Abdurehim Heyit, alive and well.

Kutluk Kagan Sumer, president of the Turkic Human Rights Association in Istanbul, said the statement and the purportedly contradictory video could undermine Turkish support for Uighurs.

“When people saw the government speak out about Uighur rights and Abdurehim Heyit they were happy, but in the future, people will have doubts about the situation and wonder if they are being manipulated.”

But the incident sparked a reaction among overseas Uighurs who are calling on China to provide video evidence of their relatives’ well-being.

The #MeTooUyghur social media campaign has emerged as a tool to seek news of loved ones, document the identities of detainees and put pressure on Beijing.

Portrait of Iskiyar Abdurrahim. A large Uighur community lives in Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul. Kerem Uzel for The National
Portrait of Iskiyar Abdurrahim. A large Uighur community lives in Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul. Kerem Uzel for The National

In Zeytinburnu, Iskiyar Abdurrahim, 27, longs for news of his grandfather, mother, father and two sisters.

Of his extended family, he claims almost 100 are behind bars.

Mr Abdurrahim said he fled to Turkey through Egypt in 2014 after having seen all the male members of his family thrown in jail. He claimed one uncle was tortured.

He called on the international community to “protect our people”.

An earlier version of thisarticle referred to China’s Xinjiang province as East Turkestan. This is incorrect. There was also no clarification on the Turkistan Islamic Movement fighting in Syria, or its designation as a terrorist organisation. This has been added to clarify to the reader the complexity of the issue

Updated: February 21, 2019 05:05 AM

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

NATASHA KHAN FEBRUARY 20, 2019

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.