Sep 07, 2011

East-Turkestan: Protestors of Controversial Campaign to Erect National Flags in Mosques in East-Turkestan Arrested

Five Uyghurs arrested for protesting Chinese government campaign to erect national flags in mosques in East-Turkestan.

Below is an article published by Phayul:

Exile Uyghur groups say that five ethnic Uyghur Muslims were detained for refusing to honour the Chinese national flag at a flag raising ceremony held inside a mosque in the volatile north-western region of China. The men were detained on charges of “inciting separatism.”

The raising of the five starred Chinese national flag in mosques, local officials say, is part of a larger campaign to promote patriotism in Xinjiang, where a series of attacks in July left dozens dead and wounded.

Chinese government officials say that they have raised flags in 63 of the 608 mosques around Kucha county since mid August in the troubled region of Xinjiang.

Last week, a month after the flag raising campaign, five Uyghurs, two religious figures and three young men were detained for confronting local Chinese officials at the flag raising ceremony and refusing to honour the national flag.

Chief of the Department of Religious Issues in Kucha county, Rozi Moydin said that the Prefecture Islamic Centre decided that raising the national flag in a mosque was “not wrong” because “all people in the mosque are Chinese citizens.”

However, local Uyghurs are reportedly angered at the government’s decision.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a local resident told Radio Free Asia that Uyghurs throughout the prefecture were angered by the campaign and believed that "raising the national flag in mosques is an insult to the Uyghurs."

Speaking on the detention of the five Uyghurs, spokesman of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, Dilxat Raxit said that “the five spoke out against the Chinese officials in public, saying that raising the national flag in a mosque is wrong and goes against the principles of Islam."

Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress while condemning the the Chinese flag raising campaign pointed out that “love and respect cannot be created through forceful actions and propaganda.”

“Of course, they may succeed in raising the Red Flag in buildings throughout the region, but the important thing is which flag is being raised in the heart of the Uyghur people,” the outspoken exiled leader said.