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  1. #1
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    Default China's Crusade against Islam & Uighers

    The same muttered phrase greets any curious visitor who strays into the mosques and bazaars dotting towns in Xinjiang province in China's remote northwest.

    "We don't dare talk," members of the Uighur ethnic minority whisper, coming from prayers or as they head out shopping.

    One or two who are braver, or more foolish, glance around to scout for eavesdroppers before complaining about how hard it is to find jobs, educate their children or practice their religion.

    Xinjiang is nominally autonomous and ruled by the Uighurs - Muslims with Caucasian features who speak a Turkic language - and other ethnic minorities.

    But since Mao's troops seized China in 1949 and took control of the region, Beijing has maintained a firm grip on the levers of power and made Uighurs a minority in their own area by encouraging millions of Han Chinese to settle there.

    Any incautious criticism of Chinese rule can land a Uighur in prison, exiled activists say.

    Xinjiang strategic

    Only formally incorporated into China in 1884, Xinjiang saw a brief period of virtual independence from 1938 when it sought aid from the Soviet Union - giving added impetus to a 150-year fight for an independent East Turkestan homeland.

    But the province is strategically vital to Beijing.

    It sits on a third of the country's oil and 40% of its coal, accounts for around one-sixth of Chinese territory and gives it a border with several central Asian nations.

    Chinese officials say that while tight control is needed to stamp out separatist sentiment and "terrorist ideas" imported from countries such as Afghanistan, the 19-million-strong
    population basically lives in harmony.

    "Our biggest threat to ethnic relations is Osama bin Ladin and the Taliban," Bai Hua, vice-mayor of the regional capital, Urumqi, told Reuters, waving away suggestions of domestic discontent.

    Terrorism fears exploited

    But with the last serious violence dating back to the late 1990s - nine died in riots in Yining in 1997 - some say China is exploiting international fears of terrorism.

    "China very clearly wants to show the world that it too is a victim of terrorism, to vilify Uighurs' political activities," Dilxat Raxit, the Sweden-based spokesman of the World Uighur Congress, said.

    He said after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States "the Chinese started arresting Uighurs anywhere and for anything ... they did it outside any legal framework".

    Even financial success and government praise are no guarantee of immunity from the region's prisons.

    Rebiya Kadeer, an exiled businesswoman, was on a consultative body to China's parliament.

    But she was detained in 1999 and charged with providing state secrets to foreign institutions after sending newspaper clippings about separatist groups to her husband in the United States.

    A network of informants also sows distrust, Uighurs say.

    Riots

    In the border town of Horgas, officials said they rely on their whole population to prevent a repeat of the riots.

    "Ordinary people are very vigilant. As soon as they discover some kind of problem, they go straight to the government or public security bureau to report it," Jia Yisheng, a senior party official, told visiting journalists.

    But experts say that if Uighurs were allowed to control and enjoy their own culture there would be far less support for secession and Beijing's heavy hand might not be necessary.

    "Many Uighurs are more moderate, and would be content with a more autonomous state within China," said one Western diplomat.

    China believes an ambitious campaign to develop poorer western regions is bringing Xinjiang the kind of prosperity that countries in Central Asia can only envy. Uighurs say the programme offers little for them.

    The influx of Han Chinese - often better educated, better connected and with the language skills to tap into government subsidies - makes it hard for Uighurs to compete.

    "The Han work a lot, we just pray a lot," said one man filing out of a run-down small-town mosque.

    Mosque, education ban

    Most Uighurs are also effectively barred from joining the Communist Party - often a route to improvement in poorer areas of China - by a rule that members must be atheist.

    Even for those who do not want to join the party, just observing their faith can be difficult, as the government uses religion to target Uighurs, said Nicolas Becquelin at Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong.

    "It is Uighur Islam that is targeted. Through ... control of religion the authorities are trying to quell ethno-nationalist sentiment. Islam is not the real target in this, it is seen as the vehicle for expressing dissent," Becquelin said.

    Teaching religion is complicated because children under 18 are banned from attending mosques or receiving religious education, and imams must renew their licence every year and are expected to show patriotism as well as devotion, Becquelin said.

    "The mosques look free on the outside," said one nervous shopper. "But on the inside, the pressure is just growing."

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    Default A Woman vs. a Superpower: Muslim Human Rights Activist Takes on China

    November 22, 2005

    Rebiya Kadeer is fighting to bring the Chinese leadership before an international human rights tribunal. She accuses the regime of repressing the Uighurs, a Muslim minority in northwest China.



    Ablikim walks through the city of his childhood, looking for a place where he can feel safe talking about his mother. Ablikim is the son of Rebiya Kadeer, China's most famous dissident.

    It's already late in the afternoon and the cold air is beginning to drift down from the nearby mountains. At first Ablikim decides on a snack bar, then a museum. He feels watched wherever he goes.

    Earlier in the day, he had called a friend to ask him to translate. He used his mobile phone, but the friend declined, fearing that the police would be listening in on the conversation. "They'll arrest my parents and harass my sister," said the friend, "no one will help us."

    He finally decides on a restaurant that belongs to his family. It isn't open yet, and the heat is off and only a few lights are on. A cut of raw meat glistens in a glass display case. The walls are paneled halfway up, and the room looks like someone's halfhearted attempt to transform a bleak East bloc cafeteria into something cozy and inviting.

    Ablikim eats nothing. It's Ramadan, he says. As he orders a cup of tea, a man walks in: gray suit, dark blue turtleneck sweater, about 50 years old.

    The man looks around the room. All the tables are empty. Then he sits down, two tables away.

    Ablikim pushes his chair closer to the table. "Secret police," he whispers

    The man has turned his back on Ablikim. He looks as if he were studying the menu. It's completely quiet.

    The police recently established a special unit, says Ablikim. It's called "Office 307." By this point he is speaking so quietly that he's almost inaudible. The only purpose of "Office 307," says Ablikim, is to monitor his family.

    Ablikim wears his black hair short. He is clean-shaven and is wearing olive-green trousers and an American fleece jacket, probably the only one in all of Urumchi (Urumqi). Following him can't be terribly difficult. When he stands up, the man in the turtleneck sweater also gets up from his table. He walks out onto the street, takes a few steps and turns around a few times. Then he waits.

    Ablikim hails a cab. He wants to show me the prison where his mother was held.

    The cab traverses Urumchi's outlying districts on a three-lane highway, passing a scene of run-down prefab-concrete apartment buildings and windowless, abandoned houses and factories. Handicapped people sell laundry detergent and grapes by the roadside. Two and a half million people live in Urumchi -- Chinese and Uighurs -- and all road signs are in Arabic and Chinese. Kazakhstan is only a few hours by car, Mongolia lies to the east and Beijing is 2,400 kilometers (1,492 miles) away. The temperature in winter drops to below -40°C (-40°F).

    A dark blue VW Santana with tinted windows follows the taxi at a distance.

    Ablikim tells the driver to turn onto a path, then to turn around and return to the road on the same path. But the VW continues to bump along behind the cab.

    That evening, the police pick up Ablikim for questioning. They interrogate him for five hours, and then they let him go.


    A mother's mission

    Fourteen-thousand kilometers (8,701 miles) away, on the other side of the earth, Rebiya Kadeer sits in a small ground-floor apartment in Vienna, Virginia. It's a warm, late-summer morning in the eastern United States, and the patio door is open. Kadeer, Ablikim's mother, wears a black suit and a white scarf. Her voice sounds a little hoarse. The Koran sits on a bookshelf, flanked by videocassettes like "Gladiator" and "Titanic."

    She plans to drive to Washington this morning to meet with Tom Lantos, a powerful Democratic congressman from California. Lantos, the chairman of the Human Rights Caucus, helped secure Kadeer's release from prison. Now she wants him to help her protect Ablikim and her other children.

    A photo of a man wearing a white shirt hangs in Lantos' office. He stands, his arms outstretched, facing a tank on Tiananmen Square. But today Lantos doesn't have time to meet with Kadeer, and so she meets with Hans Hogrefe, his office manager, instead. He looks pale. He probably doesn't get outside much; after all, there are so many ethnic groups in the world who are being persecuted. Hogrefe has reserved 20 minutes of his day for Kadeer.

    "Has anything changed in the current situation?" he asks.

    Until now, Kadeer says, there had been only accusations and charges. "But now they are simply taking people off the street and locking them up."

    Hogrefe says he admires her attitude, and then he stands up again. "Our door is always open to you," he says.

    "Hans is a good man," Kadeer says outside, beaming.

    She arrived in the US capital six months ago. When she was released in March, after five and a half years in prison, Chinese officials made Kadeer an offer: If she would agree to stop agitating against the government, she could become one of the richest women in China.

    And if she refused?

    If she refused, she would have to live with the fact that she would be leaving her businesses and her family behind in Urumchi.

    Rebiya boarded the next plane to the United States, leaving four of her sons and one daughter behind in Urumchi. The Chinese government confiscated the children's passports, turning them into hostages of their policies. Kadeer knows that she may never see her children again, but she is convinced that she had no other choice. Her imprisonment has turned her into a symbolic figure.

    She wants to help the persecuted Uighurs, and she wants to haul the Chinese government before an international human rights tribunal. She is one woman against China, a mother of 11 children against one of the most powerful countries on earth.

    Her family is fighting a regime that persecutes, tortures and kills its opponents. More people are executed in China each year than in all other countries combined.

    Is she afraid for her children?

    Kadeer says she is concerned but not afraid. She knows what the situation is like in her homeland because her fourth-eldest son Alim fills her in every evening on the phone.

    She sits in a Greek restaurant in Vienna, a few blocks from her new home. She wants to talk about what the Chinese have done to her family.

    Kadeer was one-year-old when Mao proclaimed the People's Republic of China. He said that he wanted China's various ethnic groups to join him in creating a new country.

    At the time, Rebiya's parents ran a small farm, and they also owned a hair salon, a restaurant and a Turkish bath house. By communist standards, they were part of the bourgeoisie. Besides, they were Uighurs, members of an ethnic minority related to the Turks. The Uighurs are mainly Muslims, a people for whom Allah carries more weight than Mao, and a people who can look back on thousands of years of history. They didn't want a new country. Instead, they dreamed of having their own country one day: East Turkestan.

    When the communists established the Uighur province of Xinjiang in 1955 -- an entity covering an area of 1.6 million square kilometers (about 618,000 square miles) and rich in oil and natural gas, iron ore and uranium -- they seized her parents' property and forced the family to move from Altai in the north, where Rebiya was born, to the Tarim basin bordering the desert in the south.

    She says she was 14 when a man asked for her hand in marriage. He was the deputy director of a small bank and 12 years her senior. He promised to take care of her. Rebiya accepted his proposal.

    They married a year later, and at 17 Rebiya bore her first child. During a hospital stay, she shared a room with a woman who complained about her Uighur husband, a man, she claimed, who never thought of her, only of his people, and was in prison as a result.

    Kadeer, impressed by the unknown husband's self-sacrifice, offered to help the woman.

    A political marriage made in heaven

    She pauses at this point in her story to order another cup of tea and slice of strawberry cake. She says: "I want to tell you a story that sounds like a fairy tale." It's a story that will explain everything -- her fight, her resolve and her confidence.

    It's the story of her life.

    Her first marriage failed when she was 28. It was 1976, she had openly criticized the government in Beijing, and her husband could no longer stand the resulting pressure.

    After her divorce, she wrote a list of ten conditions that her future husband would have to fulfill. Most of all, it had to be love at first sight -- for both partners. He had to have been in prison for defending his convictions, and he could not have betrayed anyone while in prison. He also had to be willing to fight for the liberation of his country.

    She received a visit from a friend a short time later. He told her that he knew of a man who could fulfill her requirements. "But he is poor," the friend said. "He cannot feed your children. Do you stand by your conditions?"

    "Where is he?" Rebiya asked.

    She flew to Artux, a small city in the western part of the province. There she discovered that the man lived in a village, and so she continued her journey by donkey. When she finally stood facing the man, she fell in love at first sight. "My name is Rebiya Kadeer," she said. "I am 29 years old. I have come here to marry you. Nine of my ten conditions are fulfilled. Only one remains open: Do you love me?"

    The stranger asked her to tell her story. He had recently been released from prison and was suspicious of this woman. When she had finished, he asked her whether she was an agent of the Chinese government.

    Rebiya slapped him and rode away.

    She laughs when she tells this story.

    Six months later, the friend brought her a book: 260 poems about Kadeer, written by the stranger she had slapped. It was the same man who had been married to Rebiya's roommate in the hospital -- the couple had since separated. The poet and the rebel were married in 1977.

    Kadeer opened a laundry business in Urumchi, sold fruit, vegetables and leather goods, and even conducted business across the border in Kazakhstan. She knew that financial means were necessary to survive a fight. She opened a department store and a second one a short time later, renting store space to merchants. That was how she became wealthy.

    She soon made her way to the top of the local chamber of commerce, first in Urumchi and then in Xinjiang Province.

    By 1992, Rebiya Kadeer had become such a respected businesswoman in China that she was elected to the National People's Congress.

    Taking on the regime

    In 1997, she felt so strong that she decided to challenge the regime. She planned to give a speech before the People's Congress, an opportunity for which she had been waiting for years.

    She submitted a copy of her speech to party leaders and told them that she wanted to talk about all the things the Chinese have done for the Uighurs. The party functionaries were relieved. They told her that she would speak at the beginning of the party congress, just after the president and party chairman and the chairman of the Politburo.

    A day before the congress, Kadeer secretly met with the two interpreters who would be translating her speech into Chinese and showed them the real text of her speech. The two interpreters were afraid. "I am a woman," she told them, "and you are men. You won't have any difficulties. After all, you're just translating what I say."

    Chinese policies in Xinjiang are false and unjust, she said before the congress, in the Great Hall of the People, with 4,800 delegates listening attentively. The Chinese government, she continued, must respect the Uighurs' religious freedom, put an end to its arbitrary arrests and stop executing political prisoners. She demanded respect for the Uighurs' history, literature and language. That day, Kadeer wore a white fur jacket and a "doppa," the Uighurs' traditional head dress. A few delegates were in tears by the time she returned to her seat.

    The speech was a declaration of war.

    Kadeer has kept a photo that was taken just after her speech. It depicts Jiang Zemin, the then-president and head of the Communist Party, shaking her hand and smiling. Zemin is surrounded by China's power elite, including Prime Minister Li Peng and the defense minister -- a small, delicate woman in a white fur jacket, surrounded by an army of predators, of old men wearing dark suits and horn-rimmed glasses.

    They appear to be congratulating Kadeer, but what they are really doing is forming a barrier between her and the delegates and their questions.

    Hu Jintao, then the fifth-ranking member of the ruling hierarchy and now China's president, is visible in the background. "A very good speech," Hu told her. "But you must discuss your problems with us. We can solve all problems."

    "The normal procedure is to approach them after giving a speech," says Kadeer, "but they came to me, and it was because I was right."

    Four weeks later, she was banned from the People's Congress and her passport was revoked.

    In August 1999, just before she was scheduled to meet with a delegation from the US Congress at a hotel in Urumchi, the police arrested her.

    A judge sentenced her to eight years in prison for "dissemination of state secrets." Her crime? Attempting to send magazines to her husband, who had since fled into exile in the US, magazines that were widely available in China.

    When her case was tried, there was no audience and she had no legal representation. "We will crush you like a snake," the chief of police told her.

    "And I will emerge from prison like an eagle," Kadeer replied.

    Books were banned in prison, and she was not allowed to receive visitors for two years. She talked to herself, recited verses of the Koran and made plans. Sometimes she screamed.

    Persecuting the family

    Ablikim, her fifth-eldest son, was arrested on the same day as his mother and was sentenced, without trial, to two years in a prison camp. There he was forced to work 20-hour days, and on several occasions he witnessed guards beating other prisoners with a baseball bat. He knew that prisoners in China are tortured with electroshocks, and that one of the preferred methods to torture a man is to insert horsehairs into his penis.

    Kadeer's sons have been managing the two department stores since she moved to Washington. The businesses are in a section of the city where only Uighurs live, on a street where merchants pushing two-wheeled carts sell dates and pomegranates, dog pelts and dried snakes -- which are considered an aphrodisiac.

    The family had to take out a loan of 9 million Yuan to build the department stores. When the police searched the business this spring and confiscated the family's business records, the balance of the loan suddenly turned into 15 million Yuan.

    Without her political activities, Kadeer's life story would have been one of the many success stories in a new China. But she refused to play by the rules of the game.

    The Uighurs in Xinjiang admire Kadeer, calling her "mother of the Uighurs," but they don't support her -- at least not openly.

    In late August, when Kadeer had just returned to the US from a visit to Germany, the head of the Communist Party in Xinjiang gave a press conference in which he accused her of having met with terrorists in the European country, and claimed she planned to sabotage festivities marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region. In response, Rebiya's son Alim called the party leader a liar in an interview with Radio Free Asia.

    On the evening after the interview, the police paid a visit to Alim, just as he was on the phone with his mother in Washington. Alim put down the receiver but didn't hang up, so that she could hear everything.

    They demanded that he sign a document stating that Rebiya Kadeer owed taxes to the Chinese state. When he refused, they threatened to punish him. "You'll see what we do with you," they said.

    Alim and Ablikim would prefer to leave China. They could try to make their way to Taiwan, but Rebiya doesn't want her children to flee the country. She still hopes for a legal solution. But it's not entirely clear that she has anything to offer the government in Beijing.

    Her problem is that she makes life more difficult for her sons with each new public appearance. But she believes that her children can only live safely in Urumchi if the world knows more about them.

    While she describes her vision, her husband, the poet, sits outside on the patio of their small apartment in Virginia and smokes thin Chinese cigarettes. His handshake is soft and he wears his white hair combed back. He says that he aged ten years during his five years in prison. He and his wife still agree on their goals, but they argue over how to achieve them.

    For years, he was the more unyielding of the two, and this made him influential. But their roles have been reversed ever since Kadeer was released. When she travels, he stays at home writing a history of the Uighur people, a book he wants published when the Uighurs gain their independence. But he has yet to find a publisher.

    When Chinese President Hu Jintao announced his intention to visit Washington earlier this year, Kadeer saw her chance to remind him of the suffering of her people. Hu had planned to meet with President George W. Bush in early September to discuss North Korea and China's booming export economy. Kadeer, for her part, planned to assemble a group of Chinese political exiles to stage a demonstration against Hu, the world's third most powerful man, directly across from the White House.

    Kadeer had planned to give a speech, a speech about America. But then Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans and Hu cancelled his visit to the US capital.

    Kadeer followed Hu to New York, where he was scheduled to visit the United Nations a few days later. She and a group of Tibetan exiles and members of the persecuted Falun Gong sect held a demonstration in front of the UN headquarters.

    The protestors waved American flags and the colors of East Turkestan, and Kadeer held up a sign that read "Freedom for East Turkestan."

    She isn't sure whether Hu noticed.

    Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

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    Default Eroding Uighur Identity

    Eroding Uighur Identity

    IslamOnline.net & Newspapers

    CAIRO — The Chinese government is settling millions of ethnic Han Chinese in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang territory with the ultimate goal of obligating its identity and culture, with many Muslims feeling foreigners in their homeland.

    "They are destroying the demographic balance by bringing in Chinese people," Qutub, a clothes trader in a bazaar in the regional capital of Urumqi, told the Christian Science Monitor in an interview published on Monday, April 28.

    "They want our race to vanish. They are drying out our roots."

    The government has been campaigning for decades to settle more and more ethnic Han Chinese in Xinjiang, a territory that is home to millions of the ethnic Uighur minority.

    In 1949, when the government took over Xinjiang, Han Chinese made up less than 7 percent of the region's population.

    Now they stand at more than 40 percent, and their numbers are growing.

    Uighurs complain that Han have brought their own culture and customs into the Muslim-majority province.

    Most of the major companies are owned by Han who largely employ people of their ethnicity, leaving the menial jobs to Uighurs.

    Uighurs are treated as second-class citizens with their distinctive Turkic dialect banned in schools and a marginal representation in government departments.

    "We feel like foreigners in our own land," complains Batur, a Uighur teacher in Urumqi.

    "We are like the Indians in America."

    The north-west region of Xinjiang, home to an eight-million Uighur minority, has been autonomous since 1955 but continues to be the subject of security crackdowns.

    Beijing views Xinjiang as an invaluable asset because of its crucial strategic location near Central Asia and its large oil and gas reserves.

    Religion

    One major concern to many Uighurs is their Muslim religion, which continues to face a suppressive campaign.

    "There is no religious freedom here," one cotton farmer in a village 50 miles south of the Kucha, a predominantly Uighur town of 200,000, told the Monitor.

    Muslims in Xinjiang complain about the closure of mosques and religious schools under the pretext of lacking the required license to run.

    The government's regulations forbid young Muslims under the age of 18 from praying in mosques.

    Recently introduced regulations prevent local government employees from going to the mosque, teachers from sporting beards and students from bringing the Qur'an to university, human rights activists say.

    In Kucha, 50 young men have been recently arrested for studying at private religious schools.

    On the wall of the 16th-century ochre brick mosque in the city, a red government banner reads "Fight against Illegal Religious Activity."

    Inside the mosque's prayer hall, a notice board explains the "illegal" religious activities with a long list topped by a ban to "praise jihad" or "pan-Islamism."

    The government justifies its endless crackdowns on Uighurs in the name of anti-separatism and counter-terrorism.

    "If you get too religious, the government gets worried," says the cotton farmer.

    Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, agrees.

    He says the government "conflates any religious activities outside the official framework with terrorism and separatism."

    Rights groups have long accused Beijing of religious repression against Uighur Muslims.

    Last month, the authorities claimed that an alleged plot to attack the Olympics was foiled in Xinjiang.

    They also said a flight from Urumqi narrowly escaped a hijacking attempt.

    But experts and rights activists said the announcements, which could not be verified independently, seemed exaggerated and only a pretext for more crackdowns on Xinjiang Muslims.

    http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

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    Default China demolishes mosque for not supporting Olympics

    China demolishes mosque for not supporting Olympics



    BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese authorities in the restive far western region of Xinjiang have demolished a mosque for refusing to put up signs in support of this August's Beijing Olympics, an exiled group said on Monday.


    The mosque was in Kalpin county near Aksu city in Xinjiang's rugged southwest, the World Uyghur Congress said.


    The spokesman's office of the Xinjiang government said it had no immediate comment, while telephone calls to the county government went answered.


    "China is forcing mosques in East Turkistan to publicize the Beijing Olympics to get the Uighur people to support the Games (but) this has been resisted by the Uighurs," World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilxat Raxit said in an emailed statement.


    Beijing says al Qaeda is working with militants in Xinjiang to use terror to establish an independent state called East Turkistan.


    Oil-rich Xinjiang is home to 8 million Turkic-speaking Uighurs, many of whom resent the growing economic and cultural influence of the Han Chinese.
    Dilxat Raxit added that the mosque, which had been renovated in 1998, was accused of illegally renovating the structure, carrying out illegal religious activities and illegally storing copies of the Muslim holy book the Koran.


    "All the Korans in the mosque have been seized by the government and dozens of people detained," he said. "The detained Uighurs have been tortured."


    The Olympic torch relay passed through Xinjiang last week under tight security, with all but carefully vetted residents banned from watching on the streets and tight controls over foreign media covering the event.
    (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)


    (For more stories visit our multimedia website "Road to Beijing" here; and see our blog at blogs.reuters.com/china)



    Some E-mail addresses of Chinese officials to email and express our discontent with the act and the need for them to apologize and rebuilt the mosque or face a possible boycott of Chinese products and Olympics from the Muslim world.


    Table format:

    chinaemb_iq@mfa.gov.cn emchnir@neda.net chinaemb_ir@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_bh@mfa.gov.cn AMBACHIMA@ACDIM.NET.MA chinaemb_dz@mfa.gov.cn webmaster_eg@mfa.gov.cn indococ@cbn.net.id chinaemb_kw@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_in@mfa.gov.cn consular@chnemb.or.id CHINASHI@QATAR.NET.QA political@chnemb.or.id chinaemb_pk@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_ly@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_lb@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_jo@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_af@mfa.gov.cn SSDDSSGG@YAHOO.COM.CN chinaemb_om@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_mr@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_sy@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_ae@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_sa@mfa.gov.cn amb.chine@gnet.tn WEBMASTER@CHINA-EMBASSY.ORG CHINAEM@Y.NET.YE chinaemb_tn@mfa.gov.cn chinaembassy@tajnet.com chinaemb_uk@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_ca@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_au@mfa.gov.cn CHIEMB@MICRODIN.RU sgyjs@superonline.com sgbgs@superonline.com chinaemb_at@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_fr@mfa.gov.cn mail@chinaembassy.dk chinaemb_es@mfa.gov.cn CHINA-EMBASSY@BLUEWIN.CH chinaemb_se@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_nl@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_br@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_by@mfa.gov.cn embchina@adetel.net.mx yfarm@access.sanet.ge CHINAEMB@AZEUROTEL.COM embcnven@cantv.net chinaemb_cu@mfa.gov.cn info@chinaembassy.org.nz chinaemb_gr@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_it@mfa.gov.cn chinaemb_ie@mfa.gov.cn webmaster@chinese-embassy.no jyct-dg@yahoo.de chinaemb_al@mfa.gov.cn EMBPROC@BRUNET.BN CHINAEMB@BDMAIL.NET


    List format:

    webmaster_eg@mfa.gov.cn,
    chinaemb_dz@mfa.gov.cn,
    chinaemb_bh@mfa.gov.cn,
    chinaemb_ir@mfa.gov.cn,
    emchnir@neda.net,
    chinaemb_iq@mfa.gov.cn,
    CHINAEMB@BDMAIL.NET,
    EMBPROC@BRUNET.BN,
    political@chnemb.or.id,
    consular@chnemb.or.id,
    indococ@cbn.net.id,
    chinaemb_pk@mfa.gov.cn,
    chinaemb_in@mfa.gov.cn,
    chinaemb_af@mfa.gov.cn,
    chinaemb_jo@mfa.gov.cn,
    chinaemb_kw@mfa.gov.cn,
    chinaemb_lb@mfa.gov.cn,
    chinaemb_ly@mfa.gov.cn,
    chinaemb_mr@mfa.gov.cn,
    AMBACHIMA@ACDIM.NET.MA,
    chinaemb_om@mfa.gov.cn,
    amb.chine@gnet.tn,
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    Default Curbs Imposed on Muslims in Western China During Ramadan

    Curbs Imposed on Muslims in Western China During Ramadan


    By EDWARD WONG
    Published: September 8, 2008

    BEIJING — Local governments in a Muslim desert region in western China have imposed strict limits on religious practices during the traditional Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began last week, according to the Web sites of four of those governments.

    The rules include prohibiting women from wearing veils and men from growing beards, as well as barring government officials from observing Ramadan. One town, Yingmaili, requires that local officials check up on mosques at least twice a week during Ramadan.

    The local governments administer areas in the western part of Xinjiang, a vast autonomous region that is home to the Uighurs, a Muslim Turkic people who often chafe under rule by the ethnic Han Chinese. In August, a wave of attacks swept through Xinjiang, the largest surge of violence in the region in years. Some local officials blamed separatist groups for the instability, and the central government sent security forces to the area.

    The limits on religious practices put in place by local governments appear to be part of the broader security crackdown. The areas affected by the new rules are near Kuqa, a town struck by multiple bombings on Aug. 10.

    It was unclear whether the rules would be relaxed after Ramadan, an observance that some Islamic extremists have used elsewhere as a symbolic backdrop for attacks on their perceived enemies. It was also unclear how the Chinese authorities intended to enforce the rules, which appeared to run the risk of antagonizing devout Muslims who present no obvious security threat.

    The Web site of the town of Yingmaili lists nine rules put in place to "maintain stability during Ramadan."

    They include barring teachers and students from observing Ramadan, prohibiting retired government officials from entering mosques and requiring men to shave off beards and women to doff veils. Mosques cannot let people from outside of town stay overnight and restaurants must maintain normal hours of business. Because of the sunrise-to-sunset fasting, many restaurants would normally close during daytime for Ramadan.

    In nearby Xinhe County, the government has decreed that Communist Party members, civil servants and retired officials must not observe Ramadan, enter mosques or take part in any religious activities during the month. Worshipers cannot make pilgrimages to tombs, so as "to avoid any group event that might harm social stability," according to the Xinhe government's Web site.

    In addition, children and students cannot be forced to attend religious activities, and women cannot be forced to wear veils.

    County rules also emphasize the need to maintain a strict watch over migrant workers and visitors from outside the county. Companies and families that have workers or visitors from outside the county are required to register the outsiders with the nearest police station and have them sign an agreement "on maintaining social stability."

    Shayar County, which includes the town of Yingmaili, said on its Web site that migrants must register with the police, and that any missionary work by outsiders was banned.

    Huang Yuanxi contributed research.

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    No Tarawih for China Muslims


    IslamOnline.net & News Agencies



    BEIJING — Muslims in China's far northwest region of Xinjiang are banned from performing Tarawih prayers, special nightly prayers performed during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, with men prevented from growing beards and women from covering their faces, in the latest restrictions on China's Muslim minority.

    "We must timely warn and stop religious believers from organizing and planning large scale prayer groups and prevent any large crowd incidents that could harm social stability," said a notice on the Xinhe county website cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Friday, September 5.

    Orders were issued by local governments this week to stop Uighur Muslims from performing their rituals during the fasting month on claims of preventing violence.
    The orders prohibit government officials, Communist Party members, teachers and students from observing the dawn-to-dusk fasting month.

    "Any person caught forcing another to observe Ramadan would be punished," said a notice posted on Xinjiang's Zhaosu county website.

    In some areas, Muslim men are banned from growing beards and women prevented from covering their faces with veils.

    "For those that maintain beards and for the women who wear veils, we should take all effective measures to have them shave their beards and take off their veils," the Shaya government said, without elaborating on how this would be done.

    The county government also stepped up patrols around mosques in the region.

    "The handing out of religious propaganda in public places by any work unit or individual is banned," the Shaya government said.

    "We must strictly prohibit the playing of any audio-visual tapes, loud speaker announcements and religious drum rituals that could disrupt the Ramadan festival."

    Muslims worldwide began this week observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

    During Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain during daylight hours from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
    Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer, self-restraint and good deeds.

    Draconian

    The draconian Chinese religious restrictions on Uighur Muslims drew flak amid warnings of fuelling tension in the Muslim-populated region.

    "We have heard of these types of measures on beards and veils, that Uighur party members and citizens who join the government are expected to distance themselves from overt cultural and religious expressions," said Phelim Kyne, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch.

    "But by putting them in black and white on government websites, they are showing that they have become much more concerned with the situation and are deepening the crackdown."

    Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the World Uighur Congress, warned that the restrictions would only increase tensions among Xinjiang's Muslim population.

    "To publicly restrict Uighurs from observing the Ramadan fast is a serious act trampling on the religious faithful," the German-based Raxit said in a statement.

    "At the same time this is only going to intensify the conflict (in Xinjiang)."

    Uighur Muslims, a Turkish-speaking minority of eight million in northwest Xinjiang region, have long chafed under Chinese control.

    Xinjiang has been autonomous since 1955, but continues to be the subject of security crackdowns.

    Beijing views the region as an invaluable asset because of its crucial strategic location near Central Asia and its large oil and gas reserves.


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    This is terrible, but in line with the usual policies concerning any religion in China.

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    The 'Hanification' of Xinjiang Published

    Asia Times - Greater China - Aug 19, 2008
    By Peter Navarro


    While Tibet has played the role of China's "rock star" to human-rights activists around the world, China's Xinjiang province has been treated more like an unwanted stepchild. One reason is that Tibet has a true rock star in the exiled Dalai Lama. Another reason is that the strife in Xinjiang involves Muslim ethnic minorities with alleged ties to the most hated man in the Western world - Osama bin Laden. All of this, however, is simply unfair because what is happening in Xinjiang in terms of human-rights violations may be even worse than the Tibetan repression.

    Xinjiang is China's largest province geographically but, with its extremes of heat and cold and desert climate, it is also one of its most sparsely populated. This province was formally annexed to the Manchu Qing Empire as early as 1759 but, for all practical purposes, it remained under the control of provincial warlords until the ascendancy of the Communist Party in 1949. That was when one of the most interesting, and possibly most ruthless historical events was ever perpetrated - one that allowed China to bring Xinjiang under its iron-fist control.

    During the immediate post-World War II period, Xinjiang was controlled by Stalin and the Soviet-backed East Turkistan Republic. Reluctant to support a nationalist Muslim regime on the border of the then-Soviet Central Asian republics, Stalin brokered what appeared to be a peaceful accommodation between the Muslim leaders of East Turkistan and Mao Zedong's government. However, the plane carrying the East Turkistan leadership to Beijing to negotiate the peace agreement mysteriously - and all too conveniently - crashed and killed all aboard. In the ensuing leadership vacuum, Mao's forces stepped in and assumed control of Xinjiang, an "autonomous province" in name only.

    From an agricultural point of view, much of Xinjiang is a virtual dustbowl in no small part because of overgrazing, deforestation, overplowing, and the failed efforts of the central government to turn grasslands into farmland. However, beneath Xinjiang's dusty soil and mountainous steppes lies buried 40% of China's coal reserves. Equally abundant and far more precious to the central government are oil and natural gas deposits that total the equivalent of about 30 billion tons of oil and represent one-fourth to one-third of China's total petroleum reserves.

    Xinjiang is not just one of China's best bets for energy resources. Bordering eight countries in Central Asia and the Russian Federation, Xinjiang also has important strategic value. Central Asia can serve as a transshipment area for Middle East oil should war ever break out over Taiwan or China's various claims for oil reserves in the South China Seas. Central Asia republics such as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan also have large petroleum reserves of their own that can help lessen China's Middle East oil dependence. For these reasons, China is building a vast network of modern infrastructure that includes railways, roads, and pipelines linking Xinjiang eastward to China's petroleum-thirsty industrial heartland and west and north to Central Asia and Russia.

    In Xinjiang, the majority of the population consists of a Muslim Turkic people called the Uyghurs. These Uyghurs face some of the harshest and most repressive measures in the world under the jackboots of Chinese communism - arguably even more oppressive than what the Tibetans face. Any independent religious activity can be equated to a "breach of state security", activists are regularly arrested and tortured, and despite its sparse population, Xinjiang's ethnic groups suffer more executions for state security crimes than any other province.

    Tragically, repression in Xinjiang has only intensified in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. The Chinese government seized on this attack on American soil as a golden opportunity to cut a very clever deal with the US. China would support the US's "war on terror" if the United States would agree that the separatist activities of the Uyghurs represented not simply an indigenous rebellion against autocratic rule but rather a legitimate terrorist threat with ties to al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. As part of its deal with America, China now defines a terrorist in Xinjiang as anyone who thinks "separatist thoughts", and Xinjiang's jails are crowded with such pseudo-terrorists.

    Although China's iron-fisted repression in Xinjiang borders on the unbearable, what sticks most in the Uyghur craw is the ongoing "Hanification" of Xinjiang. As a matter of policy, for decades the Chinese government has sought to pacify Xinjiang by importing large portions of its Han population from other, primarily poor areas - and even by exporting young Uyghur women of child-bearing age out of the region.
    Consider this chilling passage from Reuters:

    China's government is forcibly moving young women of the ethnic Uyghur minority from their homes in Xinjiang to factories in eastern China, a Uyghur activist told the US Congress on Wednesday. Rebiya Kadeer, jailed for more than five years for championing the rights of the Muslim Uyghurs before being sent into exile in the United States, called for US help in stopping a program she said had already removed more than 240,000 people, mostly women, from Xinjiang. The women face harsh treatment with 12-hour work days and often see wages withheld for months ... Many suspect that the Chinese government policy is to get them to marry majority Han Chinese in China's cities while resettling Han in traditional Uyghur lands ..

    Today, as a result of these policies, the Han population is rising at a rate twice as fast as that of the Uyghur population. Rather than being pacified or tamed by the growing Han population, the Uyghurs are simply becoming more and more radicalized. There is a very bitter and dangerous irony in this ethnic strife reported in the Economist:

    Whereas the Uyghurs historically have been "among the world's most liberal and pro-Western Muslims, fundamentalist Islam is gaining sway among young Uyghur men. Today, Uyghurs report that small-scale clashes break out nearly every day between Chinese and Uyghurs in Xinjiang's western cities.

    It is unlikely that a full-blown guerrilla movement will emerge in Xinjiang to engage Chinese forces in an Algerian- or Vietnamese-style revolt. The populace is simply too small, and Chinese security forces are too big and powerful. However, in an age of "suitcase" nuclear bombs and biological terrorist weapons, China is increasingly exposed to attacks from Uyghur separatists at soft target points such as the Three Gorges Dam or any one of its teeming cities. Indeed, as we have seen in a series of recent attacks, Uyghur separatists are showing an increasing ability to strike at Chinese targets.

    The question ultimately for this conflict - and the fate of the Uyghur people - is how this conflict will be judged by world opinion. Will the Uyghurs be seen as a ruthlessly oppressed people being gradually exterminated through the policy of Hanification? Or will the taint of a Bin Laden connection prevent the same kind of world outrage that we now witness over Tibet? It is an open question - and one that the Chinese government itself could deftly sidestep if it simply began to treat its autonomous regions as truly autonomous.

    Peter Navarro is a professor at the Merage School of Business at the University of California-Irvine, a CNBC contributor, and author of The Coming China Wars (FT Press). www.peternavarro.com.
    Copyright 2008 Asia Times Online


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    Wary of Islam, China Tightens a Vise of Rules

    KHOTAN, China — The grand mosque that draws thousands of Muslims each week in this oasis town has all the usual trappings of piety: dusty wool carpets on which to kneel in prayer, a row of turbans and skullcaps for men without headwear, a wall niche facing the holy city of Mecca in the Arabian desert.

    But large signs posted by the front door list edicts that are more Communist Party decrees than Koranic doctrines.

    The imam’s sermon at Friday Prayer must run no longer than a half-hour, the rules say. Prayer in public areas outside the mosque is forbidden. Residents of Khotan are not allowed to worship at mosques outside of town.

    One rule on the wall says that government workers and nonreligious people may not be “forced” to attend services at the mosque — a generous wording of a law that prohibits government workers and Communist Party members from going at all.

    “Of course this makes people angry,” said a teacher in the mosque courtyard, who would give only a partial name, Muhammad, for fear of government retribution. “Excitable people think the government is wrong in what it does. They say that government officials who are Muslims should also be allowed to pray.”

    To be a practicing Muslim in the vast autonomous region of northwestern China called Xinjiang is to live under an intricate series of laws and regulations intended to control the spread and practice of Islam, the predominant religion among the Uighurs, a Turkic people uneasy with Chinese rule.

    The edicts touch on every facet of a Muslim’s way of life. Official versions of the Koran are the only legal ones. Imams may not teach the Koran in private, and studying Arabic is allowed only at special government schools.

    Two of Islam’s five pillars — the sacred fasting month of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca called the hajj — are also carefully controlled. Students and government workers are compelled to eat during

    Ramadan, and the passports of Uighurs have been confiscated across Xinjiang to force them to join government-run hajj tours rather than travel illegally to Mecca on their own.

    Government workers are not permitted to practice Islam, which means the slightest sign of devotion, a head scarf on a woman, for example, could lead to a firing

    New York Times
    October 19, 2008

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    China Restricts the Practice of Islam


    IslamOnline.net & Newspapers


    CAIRO —
    With prayers banned in public areas, private hajj trips not allowed, teaching of the Noble Qur’an not allowed in private and students and government officials forced to eat during Ramadan, China is enforcing laws and regulations restricting the practice of Islam.

    “Of course this makes people angry,” Mohammad, a teacher, told The New York Times on Sunday, October 19.

    “Excitable people think the government is wrong in what it does. They say that government officials who are Muslims should also be allowed to pray.”

    In recent week, Chinese authorities have enforced laws restricting the ability of Muslims in the northwestern region of Xinjiang from practicing their faith.

    In Khotan, signs posted in front of the grand mosque say the weekly Friday prayer sermon must not extend beyond than a half-hour.

    Prayers in public areas outside the mosque is forbidden and residents are banned from worshipping at mosques outside their town.

    Under the rules,
    imams are banned from teaching the Qur’an in private and only official versions of the Qur’an are allowed.

    Studying Arabic is only allowed at special government schools.

    Government workers are banned from showing the slightest sign of religious devotion.

    For example, a Muslim civil servant could be sacked for donning hijab.

    Many of the rules have been on the books for years, but local authorities have publicly highlighted them in recent weeks with banners hanged in towns.

    They began posting regulations mandating
    women not to wear hijab and men to shave their beards. [more]

    Uighur Muslims are a Turkish-speaking minority of more than eight million in Xinjiang, a northwest vast area that borders Central Asia.

    Atheist China recognizes five religions — Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Taoism and Buddhism — and tightly regulates their administration and practice.


    Official Hajj


    Under the rules, two of Islam's five pillars – the Ramadan fasting and hajj – are strictly controlled.

    Students and government workers are compelled to eat during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

    China has also revived a law prohibiting Muslims from arranging their own trips to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj.

    Signs painted on mud-brick walls in the winding alleyways of old Kashgar warn against making "illegal" hajj.

    "Implement the policy of organized and planned pilgrimage; individual pilgrimage is forbidden," reads a red banner hanging on a large mosque in Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang.

    Authorities have also confiscated passports of Uighur Muslims across Xinjiang to force them to join government-run hajj tours rather than their own trips.

    Once a person files an application, the authorities do a background check into the family.

    If the applicant has children, the children must be old enough to be financially self-sufficient, and the applicant is required to show that he/she has substantial savings in the bank.

    To get a passport to go on an official hajj or a business trip, applicants must leave a deposit of nearly $6,000.

    Now virtually no Uighurs have passports, though they can apply for them for short trips.

    This has made life especially difficult for businessmen who travel to neighboring countries.

    Critics say the
    government is trying to restrict contacts with world Muslims, fearing that could highlight the sufferings of Muslims in Xinjiang and possibly build pressures on China.

    Source from http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout
    Last edited by islamirama; Sep-6-2009 at 01:59 PM.

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    Uighurs fear Islamic practices will disappear under China's rule



    Uighur Muslims, who could not study freely Islamic teachings under the China's long-year restrictions, fear Islamic practices will be forgotten and disappear.

    "I wanted to study teachings like the Hadith," the man, 25-year-old Muslim, who identified himself only as Hussein, told San Francisco Chronicle, referring to a collection of the Prophet Muhammad's, sayings. "I'm too old now. It makes me sad."

    As children, Hussein and millions of other young Uighurs never attended the religious schools known as madrassas or prayed at mosques because of a government ban on Islamic education for those under 18. Since Hussein never learned about religious laws governing marriage and family, he feels unprepared to have children, and he wonders whether future generations will be able to practice their faith before adulthood.

    "Maybe in 10 years, there will be no more religion in East Turkistan, said Hussein.

    Since the end of the Olympic Games in late August, the Chinese government's pressure on Uighurs has escalated, according to Alim Seytoff, general secretary of the Uighur American Association, based in Washington, D.C.

    Uighurs have long complained of restrictions on Islam, which include studying Arabic only at government schools, banning government workers from practicing Islam and barring imams from teaching religion in private.

    The rights groups say in some towns, prayer in public places outside the main mosque is forbidden and an imam's sermon is limited to no longer than a half-hour.

    At most major towns in East Turkistan, soldiers search cars and scan identity cards at checkpoints ringing the perimeters.

    East Turkistan's Communist Party officials have also curtailed Islamic dress and diet. During Ramadan that ended in September, local authorities required some Uighur-owned restaurants to remain open during the day, when Muslims normally fast. Government employees have been told to shave their beards, and police have been ordering women to remove their veils.

    "It's virtually martial law there," said Seytoff of the Uighur American Association. "East Turkestan is a police state. As long you're a Uighur, you're a criminal suspect in China."

    Dilshat Ri****, spokesman for the Germany-based World Uighur Congress, estimates that close to 700 people have been detained since August.

    "People can be arrested anytime or anywhere without warrants or charges. People are panicking," said Ri****. "These strategies will worsen the conflict between Uighurs and the Beijing government."

    Some Uighurs say that even though they worry about security, the growing influence of the Han Chinese over the economy poses a larger threat to their livelihood. A hotel employee in Kashgar named Omar said that most Uighurs experience job discrimination on a regular basis.

    "Even if a Uighur knows English, Russian and French, and does a good job, a Chinese will still get the position," he said.

    The struggle of Uighurs

    The Uighurs are a Sunni Muslim ethnic group related to the Turkic peoples of Central Asia.

    Nicholas Bequelin, who monitors the province for Human Rights Watch, says that continued Han migration, rapid economic development and authoritarian rule are a long-term strategy to crush Uighur dissent. Han Chinese now comprise more than half of East Turkistan's population of 20 million people.

    "This isn't reactive repression. It's a deliberate policy to control, monitor and sterilize Uighur culture so it can't be a vehicle for autonomy," said Bequelin.

    Historical records show that the Uyghurs have a history of more than 4000 years. Throughout the history the Uyghurs developed a unique culture and civilization and made remarkable contribution to the civilization of the world.

    The Uyghurs embraced Islam in 934, during the reign of Satuk Bughra Khan, the Kharahanid ruler. Since that time on the Islam continuously served Uyghurs as the only religion until today.

    After embracing Islam the Uyghurs continued to preserve their cultural dominance in Central Asia. World renowned Uyghur scholars emerged, and Uyghur literature flourished. Among the hundreds of important works surviving from this era are the Kutat-ku Bilik by Yusuf Has Hajip (1069-70), Divan-i Lugat-it Turk by Mahmud Kashgari, and Atabetul Hakayik by Ahmet Yukneki.

    East Turkistan was occupied by the communist China in 1949 and its name was changed in 1955. The communist China has been exercising a colonial rule over the East Turkistan since then.

    PHOTO CAPTION

    This photo shows Muslim Uighurs in the old quarter of Kashgar of narrow alleys and adobe-style homes, in the far flung outpost of the ancient Silk Road in China's far western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

    Source: worldbulletin.net

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    Uighurs used to have an empire of their own. It consisted of modern East Turkestan as well as parts of Mongolia.

    The Uighur Empire was a central Asian steppe confederation, like most empires that have existed there. However, unlike many of its predecessors, the Uighurs actually started to settle down and build their own cities and culture.

    However, steppe confederations were not usually very long-lived, and the Uighur empire was no exception. In the late dark ages, the Kyrgyz tribes (who then lived in central Siberia) sent an army of 80,000 horsemen to attack the Uighurs. They proceeded to burn down the capital and other major cities, leaving Mongolia in chaos again.










    A Brief History of The Uighurs


    By Ishaan Tharoor Jul. 09, 2009


    The violence that has claimed at least 156 lives in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang this week is rooted in long-standing grievances among China's Uighur minority. The Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs were traditionally the dominant ethnic group in the region whose Mandarin name, Xinjiang, means simply "New Frontier" — perhaps a reflection of the fact that the region was only brought under Beijing's control in its entirety during the 19th century rein of the Qing dynasty. And this week they have found themselves in violent confrontation with Han Chinese, who have become a significant majority in the capital, Urumqi, thanks to Beijing's settlement policies.

    Despite an official ideology that recognized them as equal citizens of the communist state, Uighurs have always had an uncomfortable relationship with the authorities in Beijing. In 1933, amid the turbulence of China's civil wars, Uighur leaders in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar declared a short-lived independent Republic of East Turkestan. But Xinjiang was wholly subsumed into the new state forged by China's victorious Communists after 1949, with Beijing steadily tightening its grip on the oil rich territory. Its official designation as an "autonomous region" belies rigid controls from the central government over Xinjiang, and a policy of settling hundreds of thousands of Han Chinese there that has left the Uighurs comprising a little less than half of the region's roughly 20 million people.

    The Uighurs have deep roots in the region, descending from the ancient Sogdian traders once observed by Marco Polo. Unlike many of the nomadic tribes of Central Asia, the Uighurs are an urban people whose identity crystallized in the oasis towns of the Silk Road. A walk through the bazaars of old Uighur centers such as Kashgar, Khotan or Yarkhand reveals the physical legacy of a people rooted along the first trans-contintental trade route: an astonishing array of hazel and even blue eyes, with blonde or brown or black hair — typically tucked beneath headscarves or the customary Uighur felt cap.


    Its cosmopolitan setting also gave the Uighurs' homeland a rich mix of religious and cultural traditions. Xinjiang is the home to some of China's oldest Buddhist temples and most celebrated monks, while Islam arrived in the tenth century and became dominant in the subsequent centuries. Uighurs today practice Islam that is peaceful and tolerant and mixed with the mystical strains of Sufism. One of their holiest sites is the tomb of an 18th century concubine who, according to legend, naturally exuded an overwhelming and intoxicating musk.

    The numbers of Uighurs permitted to make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca has been limited; Uighur government employees are forbidden from fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan; the political authorities appoint the Imams at every mosque, and often dictate the sermons preached during Friday prayers.


    Curbs on religious freedom have been accompanied by cultural restrictions. The Uighur language, written in Arabic script, has been steadily phased out of higher education, having been once deemed by Xinjiang's Communist leader to be unsuitable for China's "scientific development." Uighurs in Xinjiang are often denied the right to travel outside of China, or even within it. Those who do manage to move to China's major cities eke out a desperate living as migrant workers, often viewed with distrust and suspicion by the larger Chinese population. The immediate cause of Sunday's protest in Urumqi appears to have been a mass attack on a community of Uighur laborers in a southern Chinese factory town thousands of miles away from Xinjiang.


    Widespread Uighur alienation has prompted some to resort to violence. Following the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., Beijing convinced Washington to list the little-known East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) as a terrorist organization. Some Uighurs were captured by coalition forces in Afghanistan and sent to Guantánamo, but many have subsequently been released. The specter of Uighur terrorism loomed over Xinjiang after a series of attacks and bombings hit the province during the build-up to last year's Beijing Olympics. Other exiled Uighur movements are avowedly secular, such as the World Uyghur Congress led by Rebiya Kadeer, accused by Beijing of fomenting the recent riots.


    Beijing casts its own role in Xinjiang as that of a benevolent force for progress, citing the economic development spurred by its billions of dollars of investment. To be sure, Urumqi is now a city of skyscrapers, but its population is almost 75% Han Chinese, and the Uighurs claim they're frozen out of jobs — and see themselves as the victims of China's own westward expansion.


    China's approach to the region is captured in a recent plan to bulldoze much of Kashgar's historic Old City — an atmospheric, millennia-old warren of mosques and elaborate mud-brick houses — and replace it with a tourist-oriented theme park version, resettling its Uighur population (who were not consulted) in "modern" housing miles away from the city.


    But the events in Urumqi seem to suggest that as long as Uighurs feel helpless in the face of what they see as encroachment by an often-hostile culture, the potential remains high for new outbreaks of violence.


    http://www.time.com/time/world/artic...909416,00.html




    The world in the time of the Uighur Empire (Khaganate): http://www.worldhistorymaps.info/images/East-Hem_800ad.jpg












    Last edited by islamirama; Jul-4-2014 at 09:27 PM.

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    China Using 9/11 as Excuse to Repress Chinese Muslims in Xinjiang

    And the violence in Xinjiang is causign outrage among the Uighur population living overseas. Among them, Wu’er Kaixi, who fled China after leading students to protest on Tiananmen Square in 1989. Here’s what he has to say about the violence there.

    Now living and working in Taiwan, Wu’er Kaixi says the Communist Party uses the U.S. sponsored fight against terror as an excuse to crack down on the China’s Uighurs.


    [Wuer Kaixi, Uighur Dissident]:
    Especially after 9-11 incident in the U.S., when U.S. has asked China to join the allies in anti-terrorism, Chinese has adopted this method to label all Uighur ethnic demonstration or protest, even if it’s very peaceful protest, label it as terrorist act. The very fact that Uighur people being Muslim, unfortunately in the world, is one of the reasons not getting attention and sympathy.”

    Wu’er Kaixi fled to France at the age of 21 and studied at Harvard University before moving to Taiwan.

    Chinas Communist Party has rejected his request to return to the country to visit his aging parents.

    Wu’er says the Partys policy in Xinjiang means that future unrest is likely.

    [Wuer Kaixi, Uighur Dissident]:

    After using such a terrorizing force to establish order may not be that difficult for the Chinese government, but to have the people’s willingness to submit to the government, that is not going to be an easy task. I see similar incidents return. It will come back. I feel very sad about the fact that the hatred between the two ethnic groups, between Han Chinese and the Uighur people, are increasing day by day, but the Chinese government is not doing anything to ease that, on the contrary, they are pouring oil on the flame.”


    Xinjiang is the doorway to China’s trade and energy ties with Central Asia, and is itself rich in gas, minerals and farm produce.

    But many Uighurs say they see little of that wealth. Almost half of Xinjiang’s 20 million people are Uighurs.

    The population of Urumqi is mostly Han Chinese, and the city is under tight police security even in normal times.


  14. #14

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    China’s Muslim Uyghurs Forbidden to Fast During Ramadan


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Monks in mosques are forced to preach to others that fasting is a “feudal activity” and harmful to health, said Dilxat. Otherwise, their religious certification will be cancelled.

    When asked about Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Hu Jintao’s recent visit to Xinjiang, Dilxat said: “Xinjiang’s situation has not yet returned to normal. Rather than asking the local Han people to respect the religion and culture of Uyghur people, Hu encouraged the use of military troops to suppress and further restrict our religious freedom. The communist regime often talks about ‘maintaining stability,’ but what they do is always different from what they say. They are actually the ones who are destroying stability.”

    An Epoch Times reporter contacted the CCP’s State Ethnic Affairs Commission to see whether the restrictions claimed by Dilxat were official, or what the official stance on Ramadan was. The media contact wouldn’t speak on the subject, instead giving two numbers in Xinjiang that he said the reporter would be able to call to find out more. Both numbers were continually busy, and when the reporter called the State Ethnic Affairs Commission back, the man hung up.

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/21899/

    -------

    How much do we know about this and the severe repression that our brothers and sisters have to face there?

    what are we doing about it?

    Please READ THROUGH and pass this message on to others on your mailing lists. Don’t be fooled by the "economic" clout of the Chinese government. Isn’t it strange that practically nobody is speaking about this and telling this satanic government anything?

    Or are we quiet in the name of "trade" relations?

    During Ramadan in 2008, our Muslim brothers and sisters were forbidden from fasting by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang. Students, teachers and civil servants were barred from fasting. For example, students in schools throughout this region were being ordered to eat. Children under 18 years were being specifically targeted: they could not fast or enter mosques. Men were ordered to shave off their beards and women were ordered to remove their hijab. Restaurants which closed during Ramadan were threatened with fines. Mosques were being checked on at least twice a week. All religious activities related to Ramadhan were forbidden. No loudspeakers were allowed to for the adhan in this Muslim majority region.

    Allah will ask us about these, brothers and sisters. What will we answer??

    Please remember them during this month in your duas, make others aware and lets bring this out in the open.



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    China looks to export censorship

    By Michael Bristow - 2 November 2009

    A few days before the start of this year's Melbourne International Film Festival its executive director received an "audacious" telephone call.

    An official from China's consulate in the city called him to "urge" the festival to withdraw a film about the Chinese activist Rebiya Kadeer. Beijing then tried to persuade the organisers of the Frankfurt Book Fair not to allow two Chinese writers to attend an event.

    China says it does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

    But some see these acts as an attempt by China to use abroad the tough censorship measures it constantly employs at home.

    Intimidation and threats

    Richard Moore, the Melbourne festival's executive director, said he was astonished to receive the call from the city's Chinese consulate.

    "It came down to [the consular official] saying we need to justify our decision to include the film in the programme. It was a remarkable display of confidence and arrogance," he said.

    The festival decided to ignore the advice and go ahead with the film - about an activist who campaigns for better rights for China's Uighur minority - but that did not end the issue.

    The festival organisation was subjected to an intense campaign of threats, intimidation and disruption, although it is not clear who - if anyone - orchestrated the campaign.

    The festival e-mail address received insulting messages, there were waves of annoying phone calls and the fax machine was jammed with callers.

    Some notes to the organisers contained messages threatening Mr Moore's family.

    Internet hackers managed to break into the festival's online booking site, making it appear that session tickets had been sold out.

    Hackers also managed to post a Chinese flag on the main website and Chinese film-makers withdrew their movies from the festival.

    The film at the centre of the controversy - called The 10 Conditions of Love - was finally shown at a larger venue, partly because the publicity surrounding the row increased interest.

    Its subject, Rebiya Kadeer, was also invited to take part in a talk at the festival, which took place in July and August.

    But Mr Moore admits that the event organisers will look hard at how to showcase controversial films at future festivals.

    The Chinese government was just as direct with the organisers of the Frankfurt Book Fair, an annual event that bills itself as a "worldwide marketplace for ideas".

    Walkout

    China was the guest of honour at this October's fair and Beijing funded a series of events to showcase its literature and culture.

    But Chinese officials were angry when they found out writers Dai Qing and Bei Ling had been invited to a symposium connected to the fair.

    According to Juergen Boos, the fair's director, China asked the organisers to ban the writers, a request they initially agreed to carry out.

    The two Chinese writers were then allowed to speak at the symposium, but when they stood up to make a speech some of the Chinese delegation left the room.

    "We did not come to be instructed about democracy," a former Chinese ambassador told the event organisers.

    China often asks foreign governments and organisations not to do something that it perceives to be against its interests. It recently complained to Japan when Tokyo allowed Ms Kadeer to enter the country.

    But it says this does not contravene its policy of non-interference.

    "I believe the Chinese government has not violated the principle of interfering in others' internal affairs," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu recently in response to a question about this policy.

    But writer Dai Qing, who is also an environmental campaigner, believes China's increasing economic muscle has emboldened the country's leaders.

    "China is using its economic influence to threaten its trade partners in order to censor what they don't like," she said.

    David Zweig, of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, is not so sure the Chinese are doing it from a position of strength.

    "Sometimes we cannot tell whether it's confidence or concern," said Mr Zweig, the director of the Centre on China's Transnational Relations, based at his university.

    He said China's attempts to prevent Ms Kadeer from speaking publicly, for example, could be linked to concerns about ethnic tension in Xinjiang, where most Uighurs live.

    Mr Zweig added that there could also be another reason behind the pressure - the Chinese government and its people are often quick to take offence at opinions they do not like to hear.

    And he said ordinary people were sometimes more sensitive than officials - forcing the government to take a tougher stance internationally.

    That could be why China is now trying to censor critical opinions abroad.


    comment:

    First the communist China tries to eradicate the Uighur Muslim minority from their own land then this tyrant tries to stop anyone from knowing about it. It's role model must be Israel.

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    Police Raid in Munich Germany Suspects China of Spying on Uighur Expatriates

    By Holger Stark


    Authorities suspect that the Chinese Consulate in Munich is a hotbed of espionage activity.

    German investigators on Tuesday morning searched the residences of four suspected Chinese spies.

    According to information obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, the suspects had been spying on Munich's Uighur community on orders from the Chinese government.

    Unlike China's imposing embassy in Berlin, the general consulate in Munich is no symbol of power. The representative office in the Bavarian capital is located in the up market district of Neuhausen in an inconspicuous corner building close to Nymphenburg Palace.

    If you believe the consulate's own PR, the institution deals with pleasant issues such as business and travel visas, the Olympic Games or German-Chinese trade relations. But if German investigators are to be believed, this idyll is merely a facade behind which the Chinese intelligence service is operating a network of spies.

    On Tuesday morning, officers from Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office and the Bavarian police searched the homes of four Chinese nationals in the Munich area, SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned. They are under suspicion of being intelligence service agents for the Chinese government tasked with spying on Munich's large expatriate community of Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority in China that has been engaging in violent protests this year against discrimination.

    A Center for Expatriate Uighurs


    Several hundred Uighurs live in exile in Munich, and many of them are politically active. Munich has one of the world's largest exile communities of Uighurs and the World Uighur Congress is based there. The government in Beijing is interested in everything the Uighurs think, talk about or plan. The Uighurs are one of the "five poisons" the Communist government is fighting against with all the means at its disposal.

    The Federal Prosecutor's Office has discovered that the Chinese government has been recruiting a number of informants to spy on Munich's Uighur community. Investigators believe that the suspected group of agents is controlled from within the Munich consulate by a consul who has been observed conducting conspirative meetings with the alleged agents. The consul himself has diplomatic immunity from prosecution in Germany but prosecutors are investigating four of his alleged informers.

    The investigation presents yet another strain on the already tense relationship between China and Germany. The spying activities in Munich are closely coordinated with Beijing, with the consul reporting directly to the homeland. The Chinese government is following every step taken by the German government with interest.

    The rigid countermeasures taken by German officials are new. Last year, the Federal Prosecutor's Office established a procedure whereby all evidence regarding suspected Chinese spying activities was collated, but until Tuesday, no searches or arrests had been carried out. Officials largely limited themselves to keeping a close eye on hostile behavior on the part of the Chinese government and on the extreme interest showed by consulate employees in Munich's community of Uighurs in exile.

    Two years ago, the Chinese diplomat Ji Wumin, who also lived in Munich, had to leave the country after investigators observed him meeting around a dozen times with spies who provided him with information about the Uighur community. Ji left before he could be expelled.

    Ji's case remains a source of tension in diplomatic relations between China and Germany. Beijing would like to send Ji back to Munich, but Berlin fears that he would merely resume his previous spying activities. Tuesday's searches, however, make Ji's return unlikely -- the consul now under investigation is Ji's official successor.


    In Pictures: Brief History of Uighurs



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    Mobs vow revenge in China's Urumqi city:

    Police have fired tear gas to disperse thousands of Han Chinese protesters armed with makeshift

    weapons and vowing revenge, as chaos gripped Urumqi, the capital of China's remote northwest Xinjiang region.

    Authorities ordered a night curfew and thousands of heavily armed police deployed across Urumqi.

    But the ethnic tensions have spiked dramatically following weekend clashes that claimed at least 156 lives.

    Authorities said they had arrested 1,434 suspects, accusing them of murder, assault, looting and burning during attacks by Muslim Uighurs against the Han, China's dominant ethnic group who are seen in Xinjiang as oppressors.

    But despite the security clampdown involving police with submachine guns, shotguns and batons, mobs of Han Chinese marched through Urumqi on Tuesday - with many wielding bricks, chains and poles and bent on reprisals against Uighurs.

    "The Uighurs came to our area to smash things, now we are going to their area to beat them," one protester, who was carrying a metal pipe, told AFP.

    Dong Sun, a 19-year-old leader of one mob, expressed similar fury.

    "There are more of us," he said in reference to the number of Han Chinese versus Uighurs.

    "It is time we looked after ourselves instead of waiting for the government."

    Police repeatedly fired volleys of tear gas, but many of the demonstrators refused to yield ground despite their eyes streaming and their throats welling with pain, an AFP reporter witnessed.

    By late afternoon there were no reports of deaths or injuries in Tuesday's unrest. But mobs continued to march through the streets.

    Meanwhile, authorities confirmed they had cut internet access in parts of Urumqi in an attempt to control the flow of information.

    "We cut internet connection in some areas of Urumqi in order to quench the riot quickly and prevent violence from spreading to other places," the city's top Communist Party official, Li Zhi, told state media.

    But the authorities' efforts to impose a blackout have been stymied by a flood of pictures, videos and eyewitness updates appearing on popular websites such as Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

    Authorities also reported that police dispersed "more than 200 rioters" who gathered on Monday night outside the main mosque in Kashgar, another city in Xinjiang about 1,050km southwest of Urumqi.

    Police believed people were "trying to organise more unrest" in other cities across Xinjiang, a vast mountainous and desert region that borders Central Asia, according to Xinhua.

    Thousands of Muslim Uighurs took to the streets on Sunday, with state television showing protesters attacking Han Chinese in scenes reminiscent of last year's violence in Tibet.

    China's eight million Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking people who have long complained about the influx of Han Chinese into what they regard as their homeland, as well as political and cultural repression.

    Exiled Uighur groups have sought to lay the blame for Sunday's violence on Chinese authorities, saying the protests were peaceful until Chinese security forces over-reacted and fired indiscriminately on crowds.

    China has accused exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer of masterminding the violence, which also left more than 1,000 injured, but she has denied the accusations and called on Monday for an international probe into the violence.

    "We hope that the United Nations, the United States and the European Union will send teams to investigate what really took place in Xinjiang," Kadeer told reporters in Washington.

    The identities of those killed and injured in the riots remained unclear on Tuesday.

    Chinese authorities have not said how many were Han Chinese or Uighur.




    Scores dead in Xinjiang riot


    Uighur exile groups say the riot was a sign of mounting frustration at China's policies [Reuters]


    China's government has blamed Uighur exiles for inciting a riot in the country's western Xinjiang region that it says left 140 people dead and more than 800 injured.

    According to the official Xinhua news agency the deaths occurred in the city of Urumqi on Sunday after a protest against the government's handling of an industrial dispute turned violent.

    The agency said rioters burned and smashed vehicles, and fought with police, while state broadcaster CCTV showed footage of people throwing rocks at police and overturning a police car.

    Xinhua had reported earlier that three people died in the clashes, all of them ethnic Han Chinese, as well as one police officer.

    But in follow-up reports on Monday the death toll escalated sharply, with officials saying it was likely to rise further.

    The clashes are the deadliest outbreak of ethnic unrest to take place in Xinjiang for several years.

    Outsiders blamed

    Alim Seytoff, General Secretary of the Uighur American Association in Washington DC, told Al Jazeera he believed many Uighurs had died in the clashes.

    In depth

    Video: China clamps down on Uighurs
    Q&A: China's restive Uighurs
    Xinjiang: China's 'other Tibet'
    Facts: Xinjiang and the Uighurs
    'Terror cells' found in west China
    Silk Road city 'under threat'


    "This began as a peaceful protest by young Uighurs," he said, adding that clashes only broke out when armed police and armoured vehicles moved in to forcefully break up the demonstration, opening fire on protesters.

    He rejected suggestions from the Chinese government that the World Uighur Congress, a pressure group made up of Uighur exiles, was behind a plot to instigate the violence.

    It is common practice for Beijing to blame outsiders for any problems in Xinjiang, as it does with problems in Tibet, Seytoff said.

    "The root cause of the problem is really the Chinese government's long-standing repressive policies," he said.

    Xinhua said the situation in the city was "under control" on Monday, with police reported to be out in force.

    About 800 people are thought to have been arrested in the wake of Sunday's clashes, with police reportedly raiding university dormitories in the hunt for others they believe organised the protest.

    Local residents also reported that internet connections in Urumqi were unavilable - a shutdown that is becoming standard practice in areas of China hit by unrest.

    'Martial law'

    One local resident contacted by the Reuters news agency said Urumqi, situated 3,200km west of Beijing, was "basically under martial law".


    A local resident said Urumqi was "under martial law" after Sunday's riot [Reuters]
    Xinhua said local officials had ordered traffic off the streets in parts of the city to ensure there was no fresh unrest.

    "The facts demonstrate this was controlled and instigated from abroad," an unnamed official said of the riot, according to Xinhua.

    The report also said the "unrest was masterminded by the World Uighur Congress" led by Rebiya Kadeer, a Uighur businesswoman who was jailed for years in China before being released into exile in the US.

    "This was a crime of violence that was pre-meditated and organised," Xinhua said.

    Sunday's protest was originally called as a demonstration over the deaths late last month of two Uighur workers at a toy factory in southern China who were killed in a clash with Han Chinese workers.

    'Pent-up anger'

    China has blamed ethnic separatists and Muslim extremists for stoking unrest in Xinjiang over the past decade.

    "There were thousands of people shouting to stop ethnic discrimination... They are tired of suffering in silence"

    Dilxat Raxit,
    World Uighur Congress

    But critics of Beijing say many Uighurs are angry at what they see as the growing dominance in the region of Han Chinese – China's main ethnic group.

    Uighur exile groups have adamantly rejected the Chinese government claim of a plot, saying Sunday's riot was an outpouring of pent-up anger over government policies.

    "They're blaming us as a way to distract the Uighurs' attention from the discrimination and oppression that sparked this protest," Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uighur Congress in Sweden, told Reuters.

    "It began as a peaceful assembly. There were thousands of people shouting to stop ethnic discrimination, demanding an explanation... They are tired of suffering in silence."

    In the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, Xinjiang was hit by several deadly attacks that Chinese authorities said were the work of "terrorists".

    But human rights groups and Uighur activists say China exaggerates the threat to justify harsh controls restricting peaceful political demands.


    Oppression, killing and terrorizing of Uyghur Muslims by the atheist Chinese occupiers



    traitor china












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    No Ramadan for Uighur Muslims

    05 August 2011

    URUMQI – Amid fresh arrests, restrictions on fasting and prayers at mosques, Uighur Muslims are suffering under the latest episode of Chinese government crackdown on their ethnic minority in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

    “If any religious figure discusses Ramadan during the course of religious activities, or encourages people to take part, then they will lose their license to practice,” Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Munich-based World Uighur Congress, told Eurasia Review on Friday, August 5.

    “The more serious cases will result in arrests for incitement to engage in illegal religious activity,” he said.

    A day before the start of the holy fasting month for China's Muslims, at least 11 people were killed in a series of attacks in the north-western region of Xinjiang.

    Chinese authorities blamed the attacks to the ethnic minority, after which the Chinese police shot dead two Muslims last Sunday.

    The attacks came less than two weeks after 18 people were killed in an attack in the restive Xinjiang region.

    Following the unrest, more than 100 uighurs were detained by Chinese authorities.

    Most of those detained as suspects were committed Muslims who attended mosque and whose wives wore veils, residents say.

    Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, was the scene of deadly violence in July 2009 when the mainly Muslim Uighur minority vented resentment over Chinese restrictions in the region.

    In the following days, mobs of angry Han took to the streets looking for revenge in the worst ethnic violence that China had seen in decades.

    The unrest left nearly 200 dead and 1,700 injured, according to government figures. But Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority, say the toll was much higher and mainly from their community.

    China’s authorities have convicted about 200 people, mostly Uighurs, over the riots and sentenced 26 of them to death.

    No Fasting

    Beijing slapped severe restrictions on Chinese Muslims as the holy fasting month of Ramadan started.

    As for Muslim members of the government throughout Xinjiang, the government forced them to sign “letters of responsibility” promising to avoid fasting, evening prayers, or other religious activities.

    “Fasting during Ramadan is a traditional ethnic custom, and they are allowed to do that,” an employee who answered the phone at a local government neighborhood committee office in the regional capital Urumqi said confirming the restrictions.

    “But they aren’t allowed to hold any religious activities during Ramadan,” she added.

    “Party members are not allowed to fast for Ramadan, and neither are civil servants.”

    As for private companies, Uighur Muslim employees were offered lunches during fasting hours. Anyone who refuses to eat could lose their annual bonus, or even their job, Raxit added.

    Officials have also targeted Muslim schoolchildren, providing them with free lunches during the fasting period.

    A Uighur resident of Beijing said students under 18 are forbidden from fasting during Ramadan. Moreover, government campaigns forced restaurants in the Muslim majority region to stay open all day.

    More restrictions were also imposed on people trying to attend prayers at mosques.

    Everyone attending prayers has to register with their national identity card, he added. “They have to register,” he said. “[After prayers] they aren’t allowed to [congregate and] talk to each other.”

    In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset. The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks. Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds.


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    Western China city seeks to banish Muslim veil

    Dec 15, 2011

    (Reuters) - A city in heavily Muslim far western China has begun a campaign to discourage veils and growing long beards in a bid to "dilute religious consciousness," media reports said Thursday.

    The notice by the government in the Xinjiang city of Yining was uploaded in full by several Chinese news websites, and by Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television, though it then vanished from the Yining government's website (www.yining.gov.cn).

    Many Uighurs, a Turkic language-speaking Muslim people native to Xinjiang, resent Chinese rule and controls on their religion, culture and language, and the region has seen sporadic cases of violent unrest.

    The notice said the government in the Dunmaili district of Yining had decided to "further implement the Party's activities to dilute religious consciousness and advocate a civilized and healthy lifestyle."

    One of the campaign's aims, it said, was to end the "the abnormal phenomenon" of ethnic minority women and youth wearing Arab dress, growing long beards or covering their faces in veils.

    Women who had already "been transformed" would be invited to hold talks to discuss their experience, as would women who had launched successful careers.

    Yining government officials declined to comment when contacted by telephone.

    Hou Hanmin, a Xinjiang government spokeswoman, told Reuters she was not aware of the notice, but that generally people in the region were free to wear what they wanted, including ethnic minorities.

    "However, for certain jobs and in education there are rules about what you cannot wear simply as a matter of convenience," she said by telephone.

    Yining, also known as Ghulja or Yili, has a population of some 515,000 people, about 46 percent of whom are Uighur, according to the 2010 census figures. It was the site of deadly riots in 1997.

    While Uighurs have traditionally practiced a more relaxed form of Islam, parts of Xinjiang have become noticeably more conservative and Islamic over the past few years, despite government efforts to reverse that trend.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...7BE0IC20111215


 

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