East Turkestan: China Protests Over Human Rights Award to WUC Executive Chairman
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman expressed on Friday [1 April 2016] profound contempt regarding the granting of the prestigious award from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation to the WUC Executive Chairman, Mr Dulkun Isa. Political refugee since 2006, Mr Isa was awarded by the Foundation as a recognition for leading "a movement of principled opposition to the ongoing persecution" of the Uighur people and for his relentless pursuit of a peaceful solution with the Chinese government.
Below an article published by Trust.org
China expressed anger on Friday about an exiled leader from the violence-prone far western Chinese region of Xinjiang receiving a rights award in the United States, saying he was a wanted criminal.
Dolkun Isa, executive chairman of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, the leading ethnic Uighur group which advocates democracy and human rights in Xinjiang, received an award from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington on Wednesday.
China put Isa, a former student activist in Xinjiang, on a list of Uighur "terrorists" in 2003. Germany accepted his claim of refugee status and granted him a passport in 2006. Isa says he condemns all terrorism.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Isa was a wanted man in China for crimes including murder.
"The giving of this award by the relevant organisation to a terrorist like Dolkun Isa who has carried out multiple crimes is to profane and sully human rights and the rule of law," Hong told a daily news briefing.
The foundation said they gave him the award for leading "a movement of principled opposition to the ongoing persecution" of the Uighur people and for continuously seeking a peaceful solution with the Chinese government.
The World Uyghur Congress cited Isa as saying in his acceptance speech that he rejects violence and the Uighurs are a "people of peace and development".
"These principles make the Uighur issue not a Uighur problem, but a Chinese government problem, a condition generated by systematic denial of fundamental human rights and freedoms," he said.
Hundreds of people have been killed in unrest in Xinjiang in the past few years. The government blames the violence on Islamist militants wanting to establish an independent state called East Turkestan for ethnic minority Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language and hail from Xinjiang.
Exiles and rights groups though say the unrest is more a reaction to repressive government policies than being organised by any cohesive militant group.
China strongly denies abusing anyone's rights in Xinjiang.
Executive Committee Chairman of the World Uyghur Congress and long-time activist for Uyghur human rights received an award of recognition by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington DC, on March 30, 2016. The award was presented by Dr. Lee Edwards, Chairman of the Foundation, and recognized his tireless work and principled opposition to the continued persecution of the Uyghur community by the government of the People’s Republic of China.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation acts as a non-profit educational and human rights organization that devotes its efforts to commemorating the countless victims of ostensibly Communist systems throughout the last century. The foundation works to raise significant issues in relation to Communist regimes around the world and to advocate for the freedom of those living under such regimes today.
Dolkun Isa began his activism as a student at Xinjiang University in Urumqi. He protested China’s nuclear testing that began in the 1960s and in 1987 he formed the Student Association for Science–Culture with friends in order to engage Uyghur students in outreach programs across East Turkestan. He was then placed under house arrest in 1988 for his role in organizing a protest calling for equal rights and was subsequently expelled from the university for his role.
During his acceptance speech, Mr. Isa explained that “the Uyghur people stand firmly with the democratic peoples of the world who seek a conclusive end to the poverty and cruelty of communist repression”. He continued to explain how the Chinese government has persistently attempted to undermine his activism and block the activities of the World Uyghurs Congress. The use of labels like “terrorist”, the issuance of a warrant for his arrest through INTERPOL, and the constant harassment in international fora all remain strategies to discredit the work of Isa and other Uyghur activists.
Isa then goes on to explain that his outright rejection of the use of violence has acted as a major threat to the Chinese government, stating that “The Uyghurs are a people of peace and development” and that “These principles make the Uyghur issue not a Uyghur problem, but a Chinese government problem, a condition generated by systematic denial of fundamental human rights and freedoms”.