March 20, 2008

Chinese Police Imprison Tibetan Students, But Uyghur Muslims Join in Solidarity

Chinese Muslims Support Tibet
Tibetans Around China Feel Fallout From Crackdown

KATHMANDU—Tibetans around China felt the weight of state power following Beijing’s armed crackdown on anti-Chinese protests and riots that have swept through Tibetan regions of the country since last week.
A Han Chinese teacher in the northwestern province of Gansu said students at the Maerkang Normal College had been forbidden to return to their homes in the rural area of Maerkang county, leading to clashes with police and campus security guards.
[...] Meanwhile, authorities in Beijing threw a police cordon around colleges with large Tibetan student populations.
A Tibetan student enrolled at the Southwest University for Nationalities in Sichuan’s provincial capital, Chengdu, said communication with his family and friends in rural Ngaba had been difficult.
[...] And a Tibetan student enrolled in a university in Shanghai said he was under surveillance by the authorities. “It is inconvenient for me to talk,” he said.
“My cell phone is under surveillance. I cannot tell you if there have been protests on campus. It’s inconvenient.”
Many remote areas of the Sichuan, Gansu, and Qinghai plateau are home to large Tibetan populations, many of whom are nomads. Tibet also has an internal border with China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uyghur ethnic group, who also deeply resent Beijing’s rule.
Exiled Uyghur leaders are expressing support for Tibetans who have been staging protests through much of western China over the last week.
Uyghur American Association president Rebiya Kadeer, a businesswoman and leading dissident, accused the Chinese authorities of “atrocities” and defended the Tibetans’ right to protest peacefully.
[...] “Tibetans and Uyghurs have been living under the yoke of Chinese oppression for decades. They have been subjected to Beijing’s assimilationist policies aimed at eroding their religious identity and at accelerating cultural alienation,” Kadeer said.
[...] “The world community cannot turn a blind eye to the obstinate refusal of the Beijing regime to fully engage in open, serious, and meaningful negotiations with leaders of Tibet and East Turkestan,” Kadeer said, using the Uyghurs’ own name for China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Dolkun Aysa, chairman of the Eastern Turkestan Union in Europe and general secretary of the World Uyghur Congress, led a three-hour protest in Munich on March 18 to show solidarity with the Tibetans.
“The main purpose of this demonstration is to show solidarity and cooperation between Tibetan and Uyghur people and to inform the world” about Chinese repression, Aysa said in an interview with RFA’s Uyghur service.
“We are cooperating with Tibetans to organize demonstrations expressing our full support for the Tibetan people, while at the same time informing the public and the media regarding the existence of the same problems, the same political reality, and the same suffering of the Uyghur people in Eastern Turkestan,” he said.

No comments: