Apr 10, 2012

East Turkestan: China Adds 6 Uyghur Men To Terrorist List

In a press release, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) expressed its concern about the publication of a new ‘terrorist list’ by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, which includes the names of six Uyghur men. 

Below is an article published by the World Uyghur Congress:

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is deeply concerned about today´s [6 April 2012] publication of a new “terrorist list” by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security. The Ministry’s Security published a list of six Uyghur men along with their photographs wanted for “terrorism“ on its website. China accuses them of being militant suspects accused of inciting violent attacks in East Turkestan. According to the Ministry of Public Security the men – namely Nurmemet Memetmin, Abdulkyum Kurban, Paruh Tursun, Tursunjan Ebibla, Nurmemet Raxit, and Mamat Imin Nurmamat – were “core members of an extremist group who had recruited and trained members.“

According to the Ministry’s statement, the named people belong to the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), considered by the authorities “the most direct and real safety threat that China faces.” It also specified that each of the men had spent time in another un-named Asian nation – a likely reference to Pakistan – where they were trained “to carry out terror attacks and incited militants in China to carry out suicide bombings and knife attacks. The Chinese authorities also called on foreign governments to help to arrest the men.

The WUC however believes that the Chinese authorities are once again overstating the “Uyghur terror threat” to the country, misusing the “global war on terror” to further increase its crackdown on the Uyghur population. The American scholar and expert Sean Roberts recently stated “the entire premise of China’s “war on terror” is problematic because it remains unclear whether a militant Uyghur organization even exists that is capable of carrying out substantial and organized acts of terrorism.” The expert also said that PRC’s counterterrorism activities are of “questionable nature,” having “grave consequences for the Uyghurs both inside and outside China, who by most independent accounts have suffered extensive restrictions on their human rights as a result of PRC counterterrorism policies during the last ten years.”

In addition, the Chinese government has repeatedly labelled both Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama as “terrorists,” accusing them groundlessly of having “instigated” violent acts such as the 5 July 2009 unrest in Urumqi (East Turkestan) and recent self-immolations in Tibet respectively.

“I urge the international community to condemn China’s opportunistic use of the “global war on terror” as an excuse to crackdown on legitimate Uyghur dissent, and to systematically violate the human rights of the Uyghur people,” said WUC President Rebiya Kadeer today [6 April 2012].

The veracity of “terrorist lists” issued by the Chinese authorities has been widely questioned. In 2003, WUC Secretary General Dolkun Isa had been placed on such a list, being described by the Ministry of Counter-Terrorism and Public Security of People’s Republic of China as “one of the eleven most dangerous terrorists.” The Chinese authorities accused him of organising terrorist activities on behalf of the Eastern Turkistan Liberation Organisation (ETLO) inside East Turkestan. These accusations have been proven to be absolutely groundless, and recent research confirmed that China uses Interpol´s Red Notice warrants to go after dissidents or political opponents, economic targets, or environmental activists. This research specifically quoted Mr. Isa as one of the victims of this practise. Mr. Isa – whom the German authorities granted the German citizenship in 2006 – as well as the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) have repeatedly highlighted that they condemn all forms of violence and that they work with peaceful, nonviolent, and democratic means to promote Uyghur human rights.

“Based on my personal experience, I call on the international community to view the veracity of China´s “terrorist lists” with outmost scepticism,” said Dolkun Isa today. “It is widely known that the Chinese government does everything possible to further oppress and discriminate the Uyghur population in East Turkestan.”