Sunday, 6 April 2008

China's oppression in Xinjiang

While the media has devoted hours of coverage to the protests in London today, little political or journalistic attention is paid to the abuses against the people of Xinjiang in China.

Writing in the Guardian yesterday, Charles Cumming is one of the few journalists to draw people's attention to the Chinese oppression against the Uighurs.

Cumming writes:

Uighurs have been jailed for reading newspapers sympathetic to the cause of independence. Others have been detained merely for listening to Radio Free Asia, an English-language station funded by the US Congress. Even to discuss separatism in public is to risk a lengthy jail sentence, with no prospect of habeas corpus, effective legal representation or a fair trial. About 100 Uighurs were arrested in Khotan recently after several hundred demonstrated in the marketplace of the town, which lies on the Silk Road.

And what happens to these innocent Uighur men and women once they land up in one of Xinjiang's notorious "black prisons"? Amnesty International has reported numerous incidents of torture, from cigarette burns on the skin to submersion in water or raw sewage. Prisoners have had toenails extracted by pliers, been attacked by dogs and burned with electric batons, even
cattle prods.