Jul 21, 2009

Taiwan: Candlelight Vigil for the Uyghurs

Active ImageThe Taiwan United Nations Alliance held a candlelight vigil for the Uyghurs in East Turkestan as a demonstration of their solidarity.
Below is an article published by the Taiwan Church News:

Taiwan United Nations Alliance (TAUNA) held a candlelight vigil on July 13th for Uighurs in Xinjiang, China, fighting for their human rights. Led by William J.K. Lo, former General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan  (PCT) and current Director of TAUNA, many gathered at Gi-Kong Presbyterian  Church to pray for the life and safety of Uighurs and for real justice to prevail as the Chinese government continues its clampdown.

A riot erupted on July 5th in Xinjiang, also known as East  Turkestan, and Chinese officials responded with violent repression, highlighting ethnic conflict and distrust between Han and Uighur in that region. According to World Uighur Congress, the death toll is between 600 and 800, most of them Uyghur civilians. In response to violence in Xinjiang, several PCT presbyteries and human rights groups called for a candlelight vigil and prayers. During the vigil, Lo pointed out that since the founding of the People’s Republic of China over sixty years ago, this country’s repressive and violent one-party regime has never changed its approach. Now that China has become a powerful country, its increased clampdown of Xinjiang and Tibet will also affect the national stability of surrounding countries in Asia and violent repressions like this one should generate international concern.

Lo said that since the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights  proclaims that every person has the right to life, freedom, and safety, therefore, Taiwanese people are willing to continue supporting minority groups oppressed by Chinese authorities. This is Taiwan’s way of helping others and itself so that massacres such as the February 28 Incident, which happened in Taiwan many years ago, will not occur again.

According to former Shanghai East China Normal University  Professor Lin Bao-hua, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is accustomed to using peaceful means before resorting to military force in its ultimate plan to reunify lands it considers its own. Lin currently lives in Taiwan and founded an organization of to fight against communism. He warned that China would try to show goodwill toward Taiwan at first but once it has reached its goal of reunifying Taiwan, it will deal with Taiwan in the same violent manner as witnessed in  Xinjiang.

Lin said that CCP was definitely responsible for the deaths of  Uighurs and Han Chinese during recent protests because there were other means to  dispel protesters, such as using tear gas, but the CCP chose to use  bullets instead, which only escalated ethnic conflict and violence. Lin also pointed out that CCP authorities deliberately had foreign media report from designated locations during protests to distract viewers and make it seem as though Uighurs were training terrorists within Chinese territory. He cautioned  Taiwanese people to be careful of CCP’s underhanded and carefully planned tactics.