Tirana, May 9 (AENews) – Today the Albanian government had to face the pressure from the Chinese government regarding the issue of the five Chinese citizens of Uighur ethnicity, seeking political asylum in Albania. Their request came after being detained for five years and then freed from the U.S. Guantanamo Bay prison as under suspected terrorism charges.

On Monday, the Chinese ambassador in Tiirana, Tian Changchun officially asked the Foreign Minister of Albania, Besnik Mustafaj, the extradition of the five Chinese citizens, whom they claim were part of a violent separatist movement in China.
Mr. Mustafaj responded by saying that the ‘Albanian government is investigating their previous activity”.

Meanwhile, different opposition MPs have asked for their extradition, while the Albanian government has not yet reached a final decission on the issue.

“We want to go to Germany”

The five Chinese citizens are presently housed at an emigrants’ center near Tirana. Interviewed by a local TV station, they declared that their desire was to go to Germany, where they hoped to be integrated into a Uighurs community there. Their lawyer declared for the local TV stations news24 in Tirana, that he had received the assurance of the Albanian government that the five Chinese emigrants would not be extradited to China.

Albania is a country whose third of the population has migrated to other European countries or to the U.S.A.

In recent years a small number of mainly Chinese and Kurdish emigrants, have moved to Albania turning the country for the first time not only into an exporter of emigrants, but also into a receiving one.

Till today, Albania has not been affected by xenophobia towards emigrants; however the country is sensitive about issues that may somehow contain the Islamic component. Despite the fact that majority of international media considers Albania a country with a Muslim majority, there are a large number of Albanians as well as Albanian politicians who would much rather prefer to be referred otherwise.