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14-12-05, 12:46
Congressional Human Rights Caucus

Briefing:



Human Rights Violations in China:

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region



Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Room: 2203 Rayburn

Please join the Congressional Human Rights Caucus at a briefing on the human rights situation of the Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China (PRC). The briefing will take place on Wednesday, December 14th, 2005, at 3:30 p.m. in room 2203 Rayburn HOB.



While Ms. Rebiya Kadeer, the most prominent Uyghur leader and successful business woman, was released after six years in prison in March of this year, the human rights situation for the Uyghur minority continues to deteriorate.



The Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang (XUAR) has a long history of ethnic struggle for cultural recognition and self-determination. Like the Tibetans, the Turkic Uyghurs in Xinjiang have long fought for cultural survival in the face of a government-supported migration of Han Chinese. Xinjiang has a population of 18 million and is home to several Muslim ethnic groups, of which the eight million Uyghurs are the largest. The percentage of ethnic Han Chinese has grown from 6 percent in 1949 to 40 percent at present, now reaching some 7.5 million people. Authorities have also severely restricted economic and educational freedoms for Uyghurs while providing Han Chinese government assistance, and are currently seeking to change the Uyghur language education system, replacing it with a Chinese language system.



Most trials of Uyghur prisoners are held in secret and many political prisoners are executed without the knowledge of their families. The most recent execution of Uyghurs (an estimated 50 individuals) for political reason was reported by NGOs in September 2005, coinciding with mass arrests. Thousands of Uyghur political prisoners are held without charge or trial. The PRC continues to brutally suppress any peaceful political, religious, and cultural activities of Uyghurs, and enforce a birth control policy that compels minority Uyghur women to undergo forced abortions and sterilizations. Authorities in China have recently arrested and threatened Rebiya Kadeer's sons under false charges and are exerting economic and political pressure on her family to silence her from speaking out on behalf of Uyghurs.



To discuss these important issues, we will welcome:**



Rebiya Kadeer, President, The International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation

Representative, National Endowment of Democracy (invited)

T. Kumar, Amnesty International

Representative, Human Rights Watch (invited)



** Witness list subject to change.



We look forward to seeing you at this important briefing. If you have any questions, please call Maryamu Aminu (Rep. Lantos) at x5-3531 or Evan Baehr (Rep. Frank Wolf) at x5-5136.





Tom Lantos, M.C. Frank R. Wolf, M.C.

Co-Chair, CHRC Co-Chair, CHRC