Nov 10, 2009

East Turkestan: US urges China to Conduct Fair Trials

Active ImageThe United States has called on China to ensure transparent and fair trials after Beijing said it executed nine people over riots in Urumqi.



Below is an article published by AFP:

The United States urged China Monday to ensure transparent and fair trials after Beijing said it executed nine people over ethnically charged violence in the far-western city of Urumqi.

"The US government continues to urge China to handle all detentions and judicial processes relating to the Urumqi violence in a transparent manner," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told AFP.

"We also urge China to ensure that the legal rights of all Chinese citizens are respected in accordance with international standards of due process," he said.
"Our embassy officials in Beijing have discussed the issues with the Chinese government."

Beijing said earlier that it carried out its first executions over July's violence in Urumqi, which pitted the Xinjiang region's mostly Muslim Uighur community against China's majority Han.

The ethnic violence, China's worst in decades, left 197 people dead and more than 1,600 injured, according to an official toll.

Han vigilantes went on a rampage against Uighurs two days later, but the exact number of casualties from that day has never been divulged.

The executions come days before US President Barack Obama pays his first trip to China, where he is expected to push for a broader long-term relationship.

"The fact that Chinese authorities had the audacity to carry out these executions on the eve of President Barack Obama's visit to China displays their utter disregard for international human rights standards," exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer said.

"Chinese authorities must be held to account for their actions, or tensions in East Turkestan will worsen even further," she said in a statement, using a Uighur name for Xinjiang.

"I ask the international community to press for a full investigation into the killings and detentions of Uighurs since July 5 in East Turkestan," she said.

Kadeer, who heads the World Uighur Congress, spent six years in a Chinese prison until 2005 when she was freed under US pressure and moved to the Washington area.

Human rights groups have criticized Obama for not being more outspoken, noting that China in the past released dissidents such as Kadeer as major US visits loomed.

China accuses Kadeer of fomenting the violence. Kadeer denies the charges and accuses China of trying to destroy Xinjiang's culture through restrictions on political and religious freedom.

According to previous statements by the Xinjiang government, the nine people sentenced to death in October included eight Uighurs and one Han.