Remembering the Protests of 5 July 2009 and Two Years of Impunity: New Photo Material Reveals Crackdown on Demonstrations in Kashgar
Press release – For immediate release
5 July 2011
Contact: World Uyghur Congress www.uyghurcongress.org
Tel. 0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
pdf file “05 07 2011 WUC PR Second anniversary 5 July 2009 and Kashgar.pdf”
On 5 July 2009, Uyghurs in Urumqi, East Turkestan´s capital, staged a peaceful protest which was brutally suppressed by Chinese security forces and subsequently led to ethnic unrest in the city that left hundreds of people dead. On the second anniversary of these events, and despite international calls, no independent investigation into the incident has been allowed by the Chinese authorities and the number of people killed, detained, imprisoned, executed and disappeared remains unclear. The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) condemns the Chinese authorities´ inaction and refusal to reveal the real circumstances of these tragic events in the strongest possible terms. Eyewitness accounts gathered by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations cast serious doubt on the official version of events.
For many years, the Chinese government has waged an intense and often brutal campaign to repress all forms of Uyghur dissent, cracking down on Uyghurs’ peaceful political, social and religious activities and independent expressions of ethnicity, attempting to dilute Uyghurs’ culture and identity as a distinct people, and threatening the survival of the Uyghur language. However, since the July 2009 events, the oppression of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan has intensified and egregious human rights violations against the Uyghurs include but are not limited to: mass and arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances of Uyghurs (including of minors); arbitrary sentencing of Uyghurs to death, life, and various jail terms after trials plagued by intense politicization and infringements of due process; arbitrary executions, and intensified repression of freedom of expression, including the detention and sentencing of Uyghur webmasters, bloggers, and journalists. In addition, the Chinese government is extending its influence over neighbouring countries, especially through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), to continue its crackdown on Uyghurs. On 30 May 2011, the Uyghur refugee Ershidin Israel was forcibly returned from Kazakhstan to China following pressure from Beijing. In December 2009, Cambodia extradited 20 Uyghurs to China whose whereabouts since then have remained unknown.
New materials on 5 July 2009 and the surrounding days published recently shed new light into the events. The WUC’s belief that Chinese security forces and party officials played a significant role in inflaming ethnic tension in the region has been born-out by an as yet unknown video released by Italian media Tiempi on 9 June 2011 that shows evidence of the active role Chinese state officials played in inciting Han-Chinese people to attack innocent Uyghurs. Another video that appeared on Youtube on 14 July 2011, shows how in the aftermath of 5 July 2009 Chinese security forces systematically searched for male Uyghurs in Urumqi and arbitrarily arrested many of them.
In addition, unpublished pictures leaked to the WUC on 3 July 2011 (see pdf attachment for more the pictures or click here) reveal that on 7 July 2009 protests against the Urumqi events took place in the city of Kashgar (see photo no. 1). Until now, no information was available on these events because they happened before foreign correspondents were invited to the region by Beijing. Only the photojournalist ‘Angel’, who was already in the region when the protests started, was able to record them but had to keep the pictures secret until now for security purposes. The demonstration took place on the Kashi´s Peoples Square in front of Id Kah Mosque before Chinese security forces then brutally suppressed the protest, beating and detaining more than 50 Uyghurs. According to Angel’s witness report, police used loudspeakers to broadcast propaganda messages and then threaten to arrest and even fire on protesters if they did not leave the square. The protesters then went to the side streets were arrests took place.
Some of the pictures clearly show that Han mobs arrived together with Chinese police and army to attack and detain Uyghur protesters in Kashgar (see for example photo no. 5), proving that police and army used excessive violence to crack down upon this peaceful Uyghur protest and underlining eyewitness reports from Urumqi stating that protests there began peacefully only becoming violent when police and armed forces moved in. Meanwhile the presence of Han Chinese mobsters in Kashgar supports the argument that Chinese security forces incited them to attack Uyghurs.
Based on these new important evidences, the WUC calls on the international community, especially on the EU and the UN, to urge the Chinese government to:
Conduct an meaningful independent investigation into the events of July 2009 to clarify the the real circumstances of these events.
Immediately and unconditionally release all those who protested peacefully on July 5th or who have been held without evidence and to ensure that those accused of cognizable crimes under international and domestic law are afforded due process, not subjected to torture or other forms of ill treatment, tried in an open and fair court, and given access to legal representation of their choice.
Prove that trials in East Turkestan were conducted according to international standards, including allowing defendants to hire lawyers of their own choosing, allowing them access to their family and lawyers, and informing family members in a timely fashion of detentions, charges and trials.
To address the root causes of the July 5th protest and the ethnic unrest, including the severe political and religious repression and economic discrimination to which Uyghurs are subjected and the dilution of Uyghurs’ language and culture.
Note on copyright of the photos: If you are interested in reproducing the pictures, please contact the WUC which will then put you in contact with the photographer to get his permission.
Photo 1: Uyghurs in Kashgar protest against the events in Urumqi on 7 July 2009
Photo 2: Chinese police is detaining Uyghur protestors in Kashgar
Photo 3: Detention of Uyghur protestors
Photo 4: Detention of Uyghur protestors
Photo 5: Han mobs arriving together with Chinese police and army to attack and detain the Uyghur protestors in Kashgar.
Note on WUC´s website: In the days preceding the second 5 July 2009 anniversary, WUC´s website www.uyghurcongress.org was disabled through a “Distributed Denial-of-Service” (DDoS) attacks from China. This is a type of cyberattack aimed at putting a site out-of-service, by submerging it with unnecessary traffic. We therefore created the temporary website http://worlduyghurcongress.blog.com and are also publishing all important information on Facebook and Twitter! Help us to spread our news and activities through social media!
About the WUC
The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is an international umbrella organization that represents the collective interest of the Uyghur people both in East Turkestan and abroad and promotes Uyghur human rights and a peaceful and non-violent solution based on rule of law for the conflict in East Turkestan.
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World Uyghur Congress
P.O. Box 310312
80103 Munich, Germany
Tel: 0049 (0) 89 5432 1999
Fax: 0049 (0) 89 5434 9789