Uighurs seek a passage to India

bengalraider

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TOI Crest 7 November 2009, 12:03pm IST
With Han Chinese flooding Xinjiang — a region struggling with ethnic strife — the demoralized natives seek refuge across the border to escape the oppression...

When Ibrahim was investing in new computers to upgrade his web business, he could not have imagined being bankrupted by a government-imposed internet blackout after deadly riots between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese in July.

On July 4th, Ibrahim was buoyant with the hope of tapping into China's burgeoning online business market, encouraged by the influx of the companies to the oil-rich region. But by the end of that same week Ibrahim knew he had to shut shop.

As Hu Jintao hurried back from the G8 summit in the wake of the most violent riots in decades, Beijing cut Xinjiang's 20 million residents off from internet in an effort to insulate the province and ease ethnic tension.

"Hundreds of internet businesses are bankrupt, so where is the economic development they talk about? I want to move to India, I don't want to invest any money here. My friends and I started to research routes (through Leh) to India, but it is policed well in China," he said. "Thousands are disappearing (into prisons) — they weren't rioting, but they were young and Muslim." he said.

Ibrahim holed himself up in his home after a brutal crackdown on Uighurs paralysed Urumqi following protests on July 5th.

According to the state media, 197 people were killed and 1,721 injured, most of them Han, assaulted by Uighurs. In response, vigilante Han Chinese mobs armed with butcher knives and axes taped to sticks stormed Uighur neighbourhoods seeking vengeance.

Mass arrests of Muslim men followed. Uighur women took to the streets to protest the arrests of "grandfathers and 11-, 12-year-old boys." A Human Rights Watch report published in October confirms that 43 Uighurs are still missing.

Before Ibrahim saw his savings go out with the light on his modem, he could not imagine living anywhere but Kashgar, and encouraged his family to learn Mandarin and become a part of the fabric of greater China.

"When I saw signs that you cannot go to mosque if you are a government employee or a working person, I thought okay, better to focus on business than pray. I thought only (political) troublemakers are punished but I know the innocent people who disappeared . I saw some who came back tortured. I am ashamed to say I am afraid to even help those families."

One such victim was Turghan. When Turghan was finally freed from prison last month, after 12 years of torture, his wife didn't recognize him. Instead of the husband she remembered, a handicapped, hunchbacked man stood before the family.

His sister-in-law Rahima remembers Turghan as a handsome, popular trader in Gulja's main market. "His crime was that he was Muslim right after the Gulja uprising of 1997, when Chinese authorities put pressure on local police to find ringleaders," she said.

In February 1997 riots erupted on the streets of Gulja to protest mass arrests of Muslims. Troops stormed Gulja after two days of protests, using teargas and ammunition to disperse the crowds, and arresting so many young men that they had to be detained at the local sports stadium, according to Amnesty International. As the temperature dropped, detainees were hosed with water and several lost fingers and toes to frostbite before they could even be questioned.

Today, the Chinese state media is full of warnings that Xinjiang remains a turbulent, untamed area because of its 5,600-km border with Russia to the north, India to the south, Mongolia to the east and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the west.

Months after the Urumqi riots, the border city of Kashgar still has troops on alert. Tajik and Khyrgyz traders have gone back to selling silks, blankets and beauty creams in the main Sunday Bazaar but the slow pace of business is punctuated by a column of soldiers marching through at regular intervals.

Michael, a foreigner working in Kashgar is "disgusted" by what he calls counter-productive security measures. "The government says it has no problem with Muslims and then sends 500 soldiers to point guns at Uighurs coming out of Kashgar's main mosque the day after riots in Urumqi. How can tensions die down?" As he finishes speaking, three trucks full of soldiers in riot gear roll by. Troops point their weapons at passers by as loudspeakers announce: "Don't do anything (illegal ) to hurt national unity.

Driving along the remnants of the fabled silk route from Kashgar to Yarkand to Hotan, as the road cuts effortlessly through majestic mountain passes that dissolve into the sand dunes of the Taklamakan dessert, it is easy to forget the region's recent upheaval. But the 50,000 soldiers that have flooded towns across Xinjiang serve to remind you that you are being watched and tracked, your identity card and passport numbers duly noted.

According to T P Sreenivasan, former Indian ambassador, "What China is doing in Xinjiang is identical to what they did in Tibet — repressing the minority, giving Han Chinese economic incentives to move there and creating tensions. The point is to destroy the Uighur culture and control the region. India should take note because China has been increasingly aggressive over Arunachal Pradesh. If they can colonize their own minorities to break down the Muslim community, imagine the aggression they are willing to use on outsiders."

David Goodman explains Beijing's ominous agenda in his article, 'China's campaign to open up the West'. "The 1990s (saw) comprehensive measures spurring Han settler colonization, exploitation in the oil-rich Tarim basin; and the building of key transport infrastructure in Southern Xinjiang," under the guise of economic development , and resulting in friction with the indigenous Uighurs. Beijing has relocated entire communities of impoverished Han Chinese in a wave of mass migration that took Xinjiang's Han population from four per cent in 1949 to 40.6 per cent in 2000 (according to census data).
Ibrahim cannot help feeling frustrated about Hu Jintao's recent comments about a return to normalcy in the region.

"We want dignity, what is normalcy?" he asks as his friends lapse into Uighur, talking excitedly about reports of Tibetans living in India, free from the fear of persecution, free to speak against the oppression of their people "back home."

"We can do more from India. We thought of Pakistan, but they have returned Uighur refugees to China. India has welcomed Tibetans and we are similar," he reasons before turning back to the heap of coffeestained notes and maps with highlighted routes into India strewn over his keyboard and table.
SOURCE: Uighurs seek a passage to India - China - World - The Times of India

It will be interesting to see what the RSS & BJP make of this on the one hand it shows the reputation Indian secularism and plurality have in the world, on the other these are Muslims we are talking about.
Also it seems Pakistan is not such a homeland for Muslims of all hues after all, India(irrespective of religion) however cannot afford a mass influx we have enough people here already.
 

tarunraju

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"We can do more from India. We thought of Pakistan, but they have returned Uighur refugees to China. India has welcomed Tibetans and we are similar,"
If anything, this is a tight slap in the face of Pakistan's twisted logic that "if you're Muslim, you belong more in Pakistan" (which they use for Kashmiris and where they should 'rightly belong').
 

qilaotou

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"We can do more from India. We thought of Pakistan, but they have returned Uighur refugees to China. India has welcomed Tibetans and we are similar," he reasons before turning back to the heap of coffeestained notes and maps with highlighted routes into India strewn over his keyboard and table.
Great! India may absorb these folks and house them in the NE region where they may get enough sympathy and support.
 

tarunraju

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Great! India may absorb these folks and house them in the NE region where they may get enough sympathy and support.
Sympathy is not what Tibetans are here for. They are getting more out of India (freedom, tolerance, education, spirituality, opportunity), than what their relatives are getting under PRC. Doesn't that kind of make your "we have stronger economy, wealthier cities, bigger better blah blah blah...than India" boast seem worthless?
 

SATISH

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All I see now is a new refugee problem....lets see what all country refugees we have...I guess from every neighboring country...
 

bengalraider

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Great! India may absorb these folks and house them in the NE region where they may get enough sympathy and support.
Instead of thinking on these lines think on what you need to do to make china a true multi-cultural society, not one dominated by the han ideology, this time it's the uighur next time it may be the tajiks or someone else, you cannot wish and repress away the desire of indigenous people to live their lives according to the tenets of their faith and culture.

Also what about the hui chinese do you want them to leave as well?



china ethno linguistic minorities map
 

amitkriit

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If this piece of news is true, its definitely showing the "rot" inside the great shiny Chinese nation. But at the same time we must be cautious in providing asylum to these aliens, if it doesn't in any way serve our interest in long run.
 

qilaotou

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Sympathy is not what Tibetans are here for. They are getting more out of India (freedom, tolerance, education, spirituality, opportunity), than what their relatives are getting under PRC. Doesn't that kind of make your "we have stronger economy, wealthier cities, bigger better blah blah blah...than India" boast seem worthless?
No offense here! Whatever you mentioned above are preferrence of some people and these are reasons why India is considered more prosperous than China. China is focused on development of other elements of prosperity. Right or wrong? Time will tell.
 

qilaotou

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Instead of thinking on these lines think on what you need to do to make china a true multi-cultural society, not one dominated by the han ideology, this time it's the uighur next time it may be the tajiks or someone else, you cannot wish and repress away the desire of indigenous people to live their lives according to the tenets of their faith and culture.

Also what about the hui chinese do you want them to leave as well?



china ethno linguistic minorities map
India has huge ethnic and religious problems too. For those saints who are interested in solve our problems that is my response and suggestion.
 

Flint

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I seriously doubt that Uighur refugees are going to end up in India. This article is mere speculation.
 

bengalraider

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India has huge ethnic and religious problems too. For those saints who are interested in solve our problems that is my response and suggestion.
I agree India too has problems we are not afraid to say that nor do we brush all our problems under the carpet or repress our ethnic and religious minorities the way you do. In India all our minorities irrespective of race creed or religion is free to live and work where he feels like. Come back talking about saints and sinners when an Uighur gets a place in the top brass of Zhongnanhai.
 

tarunraju

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China is focused on development of other elements of prosperity. Right or wrong? Time will tell.
From an outsider's view, wrong. China is focused on development of the majority Han race at anyone's expense, including its minorities, under the umbrella of being one large country. China does not respect its diversity.
 

qilaotou

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Misperception about Chinese minority is your problem. It's bullsht that we don't respect diversity in China. Pls don't take your face value of a failed democracy to teach others. Read the stories about how your NE people are complaining about ethnic discrimination and injustice.
 

tarunraju

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Misperception about Chinese minority is your problem. It's bullsht that we don't respect diversity in China. Pls don't take your face value of a failed democracy to teach others. Read the stories about how your NE people are complaining about ethnic discrimination and injustice.
As if Tibetans and Uighurs seeking passage into neighbouring countries leaves any ambiguity about that (what you allege as misperception).

Our minorities have problems, but none at the scale of which yours have. Our minorities don't 'disappear', they don't want to move in large numbers to neighbouring counties, there are no notable records of human rights violations of the kind difficultly documented in China, among other things.

With close to 60 percent of reservation with education and public-sector opportunity for minorities and backward classes, minority issues here are far trivial compared to in China.

And no, we are not a failed democracy. You on the other hand, are a failed communism. Social equality in your country is evidently patchy and selective, and goes against the very principles of communism.
 
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The Uighurs must be fearing for their lives to be seeking refuge in neighboring countries , hundreds or thousands may have been killed or disappeared? The Chinese have been successful in genocide against the Tibetans so they do not fear having to do this against the Uighurs, they know how to do it quietly and keep world press out, so these poor Uighurs like the Tibetans now wish to leave in fear for their lives.

http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking+News/Asia/Story/STIStory_401686.html

Thousands may have died

Chinese state media said 184 people were killed in Urumqi. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - THE leader of the exiled Uighur community from China's north-western Xinjiang region said on Friday that thousands may have died in violence in recent days.



Rebiya Kadeer, the Washington-based head of the World Uighur Congress, said it was difficult to come up with a comprehensive toll from the region, where the native Uighur ethnic group has long complained of repression.

'According to unconfirmed reports we get on the ground, now the number is up to 1,000 or some say 3,000,' Mrs Kadeer told a news conference at the US Capitol alongside supporters in Congress.

She said the deaths occurred not only in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi but across the vast region, saying there had been 'mob killings in different cities such as Kashgar.' Mrs Kadeer, who spent some six years in a Chinese prison before being released under US pressure in 2005, estimated that another 5,000 people had been imprisoned.

Chinese state media said 184 people were killed in Urumqi, as Uighurs on Sunday attacked people from China's dominant Han ethnic group. But Mrs Kadeer said security forces over-reacted to peaceful protests and used deadly force.

Beijing has accused exiles of exaggerating the death toll and fomenting the violence, charges Mrs Kadeer denies. 'I'm against all violence. I have not done this and I will not do such a thing,' she said.

Mrs Kadeer appeared alongside two members of Congress who introduced a resolution that would condemn China for its 'violent repression' of 'peaceful Uighur protests.' The resolution also calls on China to end its 'slander' of Mrs Kadeer. Chinese authorities accuse her of masterminding the violence and of ties to 'terrorists' among Uighurs, who are largely Muslim.

'I believe that statement by the Chinese government reveals more about the Chinese government than anything about Mrs Kadeer,' said Congressman Bill Delahunt, a member of President Barack Obama's Democratic Party.

'This it just offensive and repugnant,' he said. 'We are calling on the Chinese government to desist in slandering this woman who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on three separate occasions.'

'I think what it demonstrates is the desperation of this particular regime in terms of dealing with what clearly is becoming a public relations disaster,' he said.

Mrs Kadeer, the mother of 11, was once a department store magnate said to be the richest woman in China and hailed by Beijing as a model for the Uighur minority. But she ran afoul of the authorities as she complained about the treatment of the Uighurs. In 1999, she was arrested as she tried to meet a delegation of US congressional researchers and spent six years in prison. -- AFP
 

Koji

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From an outsider's view, wrong. China is focused on development of the majority Han race at anyone's expense, including its minorities, under the umbrella of being one large country. China does not respect its diversity.
Uighurs are given allowed into Universities with lower test scores in comparison to Hans. How can this be construed as "development of the Han race at anyone's expense?"
 
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VOA News - Exiled Uighur Leader Says China Continues Crackdown on Uighur Community

Exiled Uighur Leader Says China Continues Crackdown on Uighur Community


Exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer says China continues to crack down on the Uighur community in that country. Kadeer is visiting Japan for the second time since tensions between Uighurs and the dominant Han Chinese group led to violent clashes in China's Xinjiang region a few months ago.

Rebiya Kadeer is in Japan at the invitation of academics, to give lectures on human rights and ethnic minorities.

On Friday, she said she is not an enemy of China. And China is not her enemy. She says the Chinese government is not her enemy either and she urges them to give the Uighurs a peaceful society.

The Chinese government considers Kadeer a separatist and a criminal, blaming her for the violence between Uighurs and the Han Chinese in July. The government says about 200 people were killed and thousands injured in riots in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi.

Kadeer, however, has said that thousands of Uighurs have disappeared in Xinjiang in China's crackdown on the protesters.

She says the Chinese government has tried to move on by showing the media that "every ethnic group is happier in China," and that the government supports the Uighur population.

Kadeer insists the reality is different.

She says 1,500 websites run by Uighurs have been shut down since July and people who ran them have been arrested.

Kadeer also says that thousands of young Uighur women working in Chinese factories are being exploited daily.

Kadeer says she plans to strengthen ties with the Uighur community in Japan. She is hopeful her visits here will increase support for her cause.

She may not get much help from the Japanese government. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has talked at length about strengthening ties with the Chinese government. And no members of his cabinet are expected to meet with her. China's government has protested to Tokyo about her visit.

The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking community whose traditional homeland is Xinjiang, on China's far-western border. They are predominately Muslim. The Uighurs complain of discrimination from the Han Chinese majority and say the government restricts their religious practices.

Beijing denies any discrimination and says that Uighurs and other ethnic minority groups are given benefits not granted to the Han. It says that the World Uighur Congress, a rights group Kadeer heads, is a separatist organization.
 

tarunraju

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Uighurs are given allowed into Universities with lower test scores in comparison to Hans. How can this be construed as "development of the Han race at anyone's expense?"
Koji, if what I allege didn't exist, there would have been no problems with the Uighur community. Evidently there is, and at a very large scale.

Besides, I can cite the example of internet blackout affecting businesses of Uighurs, as stated in the article.
 

Koji

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Koji, if what I allege didn't exist, there would have been no problems with the Uighur community. Evidently there is, and at a very large scale.

Besides, I can cite the example of internet blackout affecting businesses of Uighurs, as stated in the article.
Never said there weren't any problems. What I said was that the Chinese government is NOT trying to disenfranchise the minorities for the benefit of Hans. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

The internet blackout affected both businesses of Hans and Uighurs.
 

qilaotou

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As if Tibetans and Uighurs seeking passage into neighbouring countries leaves any ambiguity about that (what you allege as misperception).

Our minorities have problems, but none at the scale of which yours have. Our minorities don't 'disappear', they don't want to move in large numbers to neighbouring counties, there are no notable records of human rights violations of the kind difficultly documented in China, among other things.

With close to 60 percent of reservation with education and public-sector opportunity for minorities and backward classes, minority issues here are far trivial compared to in China.

And no, we are not a failed democracy. You on the other hand, are a failed communism. Social equality in your country is evidently patchy and selective, and goes against the very principles of communism.
It's pure nonsense that you have better education for minority. As a democracy you failed to offer basic and equal education to citizens, and literacy is only 60% with which females are under 50%. Why do you choose to skip basic parameters to compare education systems of societies? You talk loads of superior values but the reality is different.

You are correct that China is a failed commie. I am glad you know this.
 

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