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UAA/UHRP News Update
26-04-05, 19:28
REMINDER REMINDER REMINDER

Congressional Human Rights Caucus (CHRC)
Members' Briefing:

The Human Rights Situation of the Uighurs
in the People's Republic of China (PRC):

Featuring Rebiya Kadeer

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Room: 2255 Rayburn


Please join the Congressional Human Rights Caucus at a briefing on the human rights situation of the Uighur minority in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China (PRC). The briefing will take place on Wednesday, April 27th, 2005, at 4:00 p.m. in room 2255 Rayburn HOB.

The briefing will be chaired by Rep. Tom Udall.

Last month, the Chinese government released Ms. Rebiya Kadeer, a prominent Uighur business woman, after she had spent six years in prison. Ms. Kadeer was arrested in August of 1999 and sentenced to an eight-year prison sentence for 'passing information to foreigners, separatism and attempting to overthrow the state.' She was arrested as she was on her way to meet with a visiting delegation of congressional staff.

The Uighur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang (XUAR) has a long history of ethnic struggle for cultural recognition and self-determination. Like the Tibetans, the Turkic Uighurs 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 Uighurs 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.

Once a hint of a political independence movement was displayed by the XUAR, the PRC government pursued a policy of harsh repression, torture, arbitrary arrests and executions. After the attacks on September 11th, the PRC has used the pretext of the War on Terrorism to further increase their crackdown on the Uighurs. On December 29, 2001, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress amended the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, giving authorities even wider powers. According to human rights groups, the PRC reportedly detained several thousand people under the this legal authority, and scores were charged or sentenced under the Criminal Law. At the same time, the government has further restricted the religious rights of the Muslim population in the XUAR, closing mosques, increasing official controls over the Islamic clergy in the region, and detaining or arresting religious leaders deemed to be ''unpatriotic'' or subversive. The Chinese Department of Cultural Affairs in Urumqi, Xinjiang, ordered the destruction of thousands of books on Uighur history and culture in 2002.

To discuss these important issues, we will welcome as expert witnesses:

I. Panel:

Susan O'Sullivan , U.S. Department of State

II. Panel:

Ms. Rebiya Kadeer

III. Panel:

Veena Siddharth , Human Rights Watch
T. Kumar, Amnesty International
Nury Turkel , Uighur American Association

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 Aldo De Pape (Rep. Wolf) at x5-5136.


Tom Lantos, M.C. Frank R. Wolf, M.C.
Co-Chair, CHRC Co-Chair, CHRC