Mar 02, 2012

UPDATE - 50 Years After Test 596: China’s Nuclear Programme in East Turkestan and Its Impact Today

László Tőkés MEP, in cooperation with Kristiina Ojuland MEP and Vytautas Landsbergis MEP, convened a conference, ‘50 Years After Test 596: China’s Nuclear Programme in East Turkestan and Its Impact Today’ at the European Parliament in Brussels on 29 February 2012 in collaboration with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), and the Belgian Uyghur Association.


The Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, with the support of the WUC and UNPO, submitted a written statement entitled "Violation of Uyghurs’ right to health: Nuclear testing in Xinjiang" to the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council under item 4 ('Human Rights situations that require the attention of the Council'). The statement calls on the People's Republic of China and the UN Human Rights Council to draw attention to, and address the issue of Lop Nor. It also requests that victims receive medical assistance, and for independent research to be conducted in the Lop Nor area to assess how great the risk is.

To read the statement, please click here

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Below is a press release issued by the UNPO:

Brussels, 2 March 2012 – When an official delegation of MEPs will visit China in 2012, they will “insist on finding facts and new information about…East Turkestan and Tibet.”  This was the pledge made by László Tökés MEP during the conference, “50 Years After Test 596: China’s Nuclear Programme In East Turkestan And Its Impacts Today” where he emphasised “the moral dimension of this meeting - because on behalf of the united Europe it is a total immorality if it ignores the destiny of East Turkestan, of peoples...which have to suffer such an oppression as the Uyghurs have to suffer”

Co-sponsor of the conference, Kristiina Ojuland MEP, noted her experience of Communist mismanagement of nuclear facilities and reflected that unlike Estonia, China had allowed “no independent risk assessment of Lop Nor…no steps taken to address possible health problems, and that a culture of state secrecy prevents any constructive steps being taken to mitigate the effects of successive nuclear tests.”

It was important that the European Union “speak on behalf of the victims…to give voice to those silenced by a repressive government” Dolkun Isa (WUC Secretary General) noted, because despite “the sad heritage of devastating health and environmental effects” Beijing made it impossible for victims to seek redress.  Marino Busdachin (UNPO General Secretary), believed it crucial “to lift a veil of secrecy, and…by raising such issues of concern, we will not only be giving voice to those in East Turkestan - we will be supporting their nonviolent campaign for the rights supposedly guaranteed by the Chinese constitution.’

Enver Tohti (Independent Uyghur Medical Researcher), depicted Beijing’s unwillingness to address the issue and urged for “compensation to civilians, and money invested in medical facilities”. In this vein, Hanno Schedler (Society for Threatened Peoples) pressed Europe to “advocate for Human Rights in East Turkestan.”  Attendees also learned of the background and possible effects of Beijing’s nuclear testing programme from Vincent Metten (International Campaign for Tibet) and Antoinette de Jong (Journalist). Jean-Marie Rogue (FIDH) and Dominique Lalanne (Armes Nucléaires STOP) discussed what could be done to correct the situation through existing mechanisms and the ways in which Beijing could act to compensate the civilian victims of the tests.

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For more information on this event, see