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We Call for Peace, Justice, and the End of All Violence

9 July 2009 No Comment

Rebiya Kadeer

Rebiya Kadeer

East Turkestan, China

On Sunday, in the regional capital of Urumchi, Chinese police and paramilitary cracked down on Uyghur demonstrators, killing hundreds and injuring hundreds more in a massacre that is unprecedented in East Turkestan under the rule of the People’s Republic of China. Witnesses have confirmed that demonstrators were shot and beaten to death by Chinese police, and some were even crushed under armored vehicles. We have heard reports that more than 100 people were killed in the southern city of Kashgar, and troops suppressed demonstrations in both Kashgar and the nearby city of Hotan.

The Uyghur American Association and the World Uyghur Congress condemn in the strongest possible terms the Chinese government’s use of excessive force against these protestors. We call upon the international community to denounce the brutality used by the Chinese government to suppress the Uyghur demonstrators.
We urgently call for peace, justice, and the end of all violence.

We call for the Chinese government to ensure the safety of everyone living in East Turkestan. We ask the Chinese government to end its brutal suppression of Uyghurs throughout East Turkestan, to fully and fairly report on all of the deaths and injuries to demonstrators that have taken place, and to release the demonstrators who were arrested for engaging in peaceful protest.

We also condemn, in no uncertain terms, the violent actions of a number of Uyghur demonstrators that have been reported. We absolutely oppose violence in any form.

The violence that has taken place throughout East Turkestan reveals deep-rooted, serious problems that the Chinese government has failed to address. The immediate cause of the protests in Urumchi and other cities was the lack of government response to the deaths and injuries of Uyghur workers in Guangdong Province on June 26. However, Uyghur demonstrators were doubtless expressing discontent over the severe and comprehensive repression they have suffered for years in East Turkestan: arbitrary detention, torture, and execution; severe discrimination in the areas of healthcare and employment; religious repression; forced abortion; the removal of Uyghur as a language in schools at all levels of instruction; and the forcible transfer of young Uyghur women and men to eastern China, as millions of Chinese migrants are encouraged by the government to come to East Turkestan to work.

No mechanisms exist by which Uyghurs may express their grievances in response to this repression. Any Uyghur who dares to express the slightest protest, however peaceful, is immediately met with brutal force, instead of any attempt to deal responsibly with the real problems they face.

The Chinese government must change its policy of using only force to deal with all dissent. Until the government engages in real dialogue with its citizens, and uses the rule of law instead of rule by force, there will be no real peace in China.

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Rebiya Kadeer is a prominent human rights activist, known as “The Mother of the Uyghur Nation.” This text is taken from a statement she made at the National Press Club on July 1.

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