Archive for ‘self determination’

29/07/2014

Police shoot dead dozens of attackers during mob violence in Xinjiang | South China Morning Post

Police in Xinjiang shot dead dozens of knife-wielding attackers on Monday morning after they staged assaults on two towns in the westerly Xinjiang region, the official Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday, citing local police.

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Describing the incident as a “premeditated terror attack,” the official Xinhua news agency said a gang armed with knives attacked a police station and government offices in Elixku, a township in Kashgar prefecture, and then some of them moved on to nearby Huangdi Township, attacking civilians and smashing vehicles as they passed.

Dozens of civilians were killed or injured in the attack before police responded by shooting dead dozens of attackers, official media reported.

Citing local police, Xinhua said dozens of civilians of both Uygur and Han ethnicities were killed or injured, while police officers at the scene shot dead dozens of members of the mob.

Over 30 cars were vandalised, some of which were set on fire, the report said.

Earlier this month, the regional capital Urumqi marked the fifth anniversary of the 2009 riot that left 197 people dead and about 17,000 others injured, mostly Han Chinese.

The turbulent region has since seen a series of violent incidents that have left many people dead or injured, including last May’s bombing of a market in Urumqi that left dozens dead and prompted a clampdown by authorities.

In the immediate wake of that bombing, which came just weeks after a blast at an Urumqi rail station left three dead, China launched one-year “anti-terror” campaign in Xinjiang in which hundreds of suspects have been arrested and large amounts of explosives and explosive devices have been seized, according to local media.

On June 17, authorities executed 13 people and sentencing three others to death for their role in terror attacks and related crimes in Xinjiang, including an attack on government facilities and police stations in the oasis city of Turpan on June 26 last year that left 24 police officers and civilians dead.

China’s heavy-handed approach has drawn concerns that many of the region’s Uygurs, including vocal critics and people linked to the separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement, have been arrested and indefinitely detained without trial, while others have disappeared without trace.

Uygurs in Xinjiang and those in self-exile abroad have long complained that discrimination and restrictions on religion, such as a ban on taking children to mosques, are fuelling anger at the Han Chinese majority.

via Police shoot dead dozens of attackers during mob violence in Xinjiang | South China Morning Post.

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15/07/2014

One injured as explosion hits Xining airport car park in Qinghai | South China Morning Post

An explosion rocked the car park of Xining’s main airport today, state media reported. One person was injured by shrapnel, according to the authorities.

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Police and bomb experts rushed to the scene within minutes of the blast and cordoned off the area around the busy Caojiapu (variably spelled as Caojiabao) airport.

One cleaner was hit when the object detonated in the lot just outside the terminal, the China West Airport Group said in a press statement at 4pm.

According to Chinanews.com, the staff was hit by a piece of glass and was sent to hospital.

Airport operations were not affected, the airport authority said. Cars in the parking lot were moved to other areas to clear the scene.

The Qinghai public security bureau and armed police are now conducting further investigation.

The explosives were concealed in a rubbish bin at the corner of the car park, according to the China Youth Daily.

A person surnamed Bao working for the public security bureau of Haidong prefecture near Xining told the South China Morning Post that the bureau’s command centre were not informed of the blast as yet, but that they would be sending staff to the scene.

“Airport police, anti-terror police, SWAT and paramilitary [officers] have cordoned off the site and are doing further investigation,” Bao said.

The Caojiapu airport is the busiest airport in the Tibet Plateau region. According to the airport’s figures, it handles four million trips a day.

Earlier in June, the airport held an emergency rescue drill – the largest held in the past 10 years – involving firefighters, medical emergency response teams as well as runway and airport maintenance teams.

Clearing explosives was part of the drill.

via One injured as explosion hits Xining airport car park in Qinghai | South China Morning Post.

07/05/2014

In China’s Xinjiang, economic divide seen fuelling ethnic unrest | Reuters

Hundreds of migrant workers from distant corners of China pour daily into the Urumqi South railway station, their first waypoint on a journey carrying them to lucrative work in other parts of the far western Xinjiang region.

Uighur women stand next to a street to wait for a bus in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region May 1, 2014. REUTERS-Petar Kujundzic

Like the columns of police toting rifles and metal riot spears that weave between migrants resting on their luggage, the workers are a fixture at the station, which last week was targeted by a bomb and knife attack the government has blamed on religious extremists.

“We come this far because the wages are good,” Shi Hongjiang, 26, from the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, told Reuters outside the station. “Also, the Uighur population is small. There aren’t enough of them to do the work.”

Shi’s is a common refrain from migrant workers, whose experience finding low-skilled work is very different to that of the Muslim Uighur minority.

Employment discrimination, experts say, along with a demographic shift that many Uighurs feel is diluting their culture, is fuelling resentment that spills over into violent attacks directed at Han Chinese, China’s majority ethnic group.

The apparent suicide attack on the station, which killed one bystander, was the latest violence to hit Xinjiang, despite a pledge from China’s President Xi Jinping to rain “crushing blows against violent terrorist forces”.

via In China’s Xinjiang, economic divide seen fuelling ethnic unrest | Reuters.

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07/05/2014

Six wounded in knife rampage at Guangzhou Railway Station | South China Morning Post

At least six people were wounded in a knife attack at Guangzhou Railway Station yesterday, the third assault on civilians at train stations in two months.

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Witnesses said four assailants began attacking passengers at random at about 11.30am.

Watch unconfirmed video: Suspected attacker caught by police after Guangzhou train station violence

One was subdued by police and a luggage handler after being shot by an officer. But police said later on social media that only one suspect was involved.

Witnesses also said one of the injured was a middle-aged Westerner, but Guangzhou police denied any foreigner was among the victims.

The police didn’t approach [the attacker] until they shot him twice in his chest HU ZHONG, LUGGAGE HANDLER

At least four people were taken to the General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command, local police said. Three were in stable condition after surgery.

The attack comes less than a week after an explosion at a railway station in Urumqi – capital of Xinjiang , the vast western region home to ethnic minority Uygurs – left two attackers and a civilian dead and 79 wounded.

It also follows a March attack at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming , in which machete-wielding attackers killed 29 people and wounded 143 in what many in China dubbed the country’s “9/11”.

via Six wounded in knife rampage at Guangzhou Railway Station | South China Morning Post.

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01/12/2013

Xinjiang college says approved political views needed to graduate | Reuters

College students in China\’s restive western Xinjiang region will not graduate unless their political views are approved, a university official said, as the country wages what school administrators called an ideological war against separatism.

A Uighur student attends a lesson at the Xinjiang College of Uighur Medicine in Hotan in the southwestern part of China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region September 15, 2003. REUTERS/Andrew Wong

Xinjiang is home to the Muslim Uighur ethnic group, many of whom resent controls imposed by Beijing and an inflow of Han Chinese migrants. Some Uighur groups are campaigning for an independent homeland for their people.

University officials from Xinjiang said their institutions were a frontline in a \”life and death struggle\” for the people\’s hearts and a main front in the battle against separatism, the ruling Communist Party\’s official newspaper in the region, the Xinjiang Daily, reported on Tuesday.

\”Students whose political qualifications are not up to par must absolutely not graduate, even if their professional course work is excellent,\” said Xu Yuanzhi, the party secretary at Kashgar Teachers College in southern Xinjiang, which has been an epicenter for ethnic unrest.

It is unclear if such a policy has been officially implemented throughout the region.

\”Ideology is a battlefield without gun smoke,\” Xinjiang Normal University President Weili Balati said.

\”As university leaders, we have the responsibility to do more to help students and teachers properly understand and treat religion, ethnicity and culture and help them distinguish between right and wrong,\” he said.

China blamed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) for an attack on October 28, when a vehicle ploughed through bystanders on Tiananmen Square in Beijing and burst into flames, killing three people in the car and two bystanders.

Uighur exiles, rights groups and some experts have cast doubt on the official accounts of what China has deemed terror attacks and foreign reporting of the incident has discussed whether it was motivated by punitive ethnic policies.

An Islamist militant group has released a speech claiming responsibility for the incident, which China\’s Foreign Ministry said should silence those who are skeptical about the threat of terror within China\’s borders.

The Uighurs are culturally closer to ethnic groups across central Asia and Turkey than the Han Chinese who make up the vast majority of China\’s population.

via Xinjiang college says approved political views needed to graduate | Reuters.

04/11/2013

In China’s Xinjiang, poverty, exclusion are greater threat than Islam | Reuters

If the analysis in this report is correct, then it is good news for China and Xinjiang. Alleviating poverty is difficult, but far easier than eliminating religious extremism.

“In the dirty backstreets of the Uighur old quarter of Xinjiang\’s capital Urumqi in China\’s far west, Abuduwahapu frowns when asked what he thinks is the root cause of the region\’s festering problem with violence and unrest.

A police officer stops a car to check for identifications at a checkpoint near Lukqun town, in Xinjiang province in this October 30, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files

\”The Han Chinese don\’t have faith, and the Uighurs do. So they don\’t really understand each other,\” he said, referring to the Muslim religion the Turkic-speaking Uighur people follow, in contrast to the official atheism of the ruling Communist Party.

But for the teenage bread delivery boy, it\’s not Islam that\’s driving people to commit acts of violence, such as last week\’s deadly car crash in Beijing\’s Tiananmen Square – blamed by the government on Uighur Islamist extremists who want independence.

\”Some people there support independence and some do not. Mostly, those who support it are unsatisfied because they are poor,\” said Abuduwahapu, who came to Urumqi two years ago from the heavily Uighur old Silk Road city of Kashgar in Xinjiang\’s southwest, near the Pakistani and Afghan border.

\”The Han are afraid of Uighers. They are afraid if we had guns, we would kill them,\” he said, standing next to piles of smoldering garbage on plots of land where buildings have been demolished.

China\’s claims that it is fighting an Islamist insurgency in energy-rich Xinjiang – a vast area of deserts, mountains and forests geographically located in central Asia – are not new.”

via In China’s Xinjiang, poverty, exclusion are greater threat than Islam | Reuters.

01/05/2013

* China’s new mental health law to make it harder for authorities to silence petitioners

SCMP: “The director of Xinjiang‘s largest mental health institution has welcomed a new law, which went into effect on Wednesday, banning involuntary inpatient treatment for many people deemed mentally ill.

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“Seventy to 80 per cent of the patients have been forcibly admitted to the hospital,” said Xu Xiangdong, director of the Fourth People’s Hospital in the regional capital Urumqi, the Yaxin online news portal reported on Monday.

“Because of this increased consideration for patients’ rights, [the figures] will change fundamentally,” he said, adding that it would put an end to frequent episodes of people being wrongfully declared mentally ill.

The new law, which has been debated for a quarter of a century, is meant to crack down on local authorities aiming to silence petitioners and troublemakers by arbitrarily declaring them mentally ill and locking them up in mental health wards.

Under the law, patients must first give their consent to being hospitalised, except in cases in which they could harm themselves or others.

If patients are still forcibly confined, they or their guardians have the right to seek a second opinion. Forced hospitalisations for reasons other than severe mental illness are banned.

Last week about 200 health practitioners from the region were sent to Xu’s hospital to be trained in the new provisions on patients’ rights stipulated by the new law, the Xinjiang Daily reported.

Two million people in Xinjiang live with mental disabilities, Xu estimated, amounting to more than 9 per cent of the population in the economic backwater of China’s remote northwest.

That compares with almost 8 per cent of China’s population diagnosed with some form of mental illness, according to the Ministry of Health in 2011. A largescale 2009 study estimated a much higher national average at 17.5 per cent.

In Xinjiang, authorities have not been able to provide adquate resources to deal with the increasing number of people living with mental disorders. Xu told the Yaxin portal in 2011 that the number of mentally ill patients had increased by 20 to 30 per cent annually over the last years.

In Monday’s report, he said less than 5 per cent of the two million mentally ill could receive treatment because of a lack of resources and trained staff.

Two years earlier, the regional government had reported plans to build 15 new mental hospitals and to expand current ones. Until now, only one additional hospital in Kashgar has been completed, the Yaxin report said.

In March, a gruesome murder of a seven-year-old Uygur boy by a Chinese man has caused tensions among ethnic communities in the Turpan prefecture east of Urumqi. The man had been declared mentally ill to prevent ethnic revenge attacks, locals told Radio Free Asia.”

via China’s new mental health law to make it harder for authorities to silence petitioners | South China Morning Post.

14/04/2013

* China Makes Inroads in Nepal, Stemming Tibetan Presence

NY Times: “The wind-scoured desert valley here, just south of Tibet, was once a famed transit point for the Tibetan yak caravans laden with salt that lumbered over the icy ramparts of the Himalayas. In the 1960s, it became a base for Tibetan guerrillas trained by the C.I.A. to attack Chinese troops occupying their homeland.

Prayer wheels at a temple in the Mustang area of Nepal. The Chinese are trying to restrain the flow of disaffected Tibetans fleeing to Nepal and to enlist the help of the Nepalese authorities.

These days, it is the Chinese who are showing up in this far tip of the Buddhist kingdom of Mustang, northwest of Katmandu, Nepal. Chinese officials are seeking to stem the flow of disaffected Tibetans fleeing to Nepal and to enlist the help of the Nepalese authorities in cracking down on the political activities of the 20,000 Tibetans already here.

China is exerting its influence across Nepal in a variety of ways, mostly involving financial incentives. In Mustang, China is providing $50,000 in annual food aid and sending military officials across the border to discuss with local Nepalese what the ceremonial prince of Mustang calls “border security.”

Their efforts across the country have borne fruit. The Nepalese police regularly detain Tibetans during anti-China protests in Katmandu, and they have even curbed celebrations of the birthday of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, according to Tibetans living in Nepal.

via China Makes Inroads in Nepal, Stemming Tibetan Presence – NYTimes.com.

28/11/2012

* Tibetan students protest, as four more self-immolations reported

China needs to rethink its policy on Tibet. The issue of autonomy is not going to go away. Unlike the Muslim Uighurs, who are mainly domiciled in Xinjiang, Tibetans reside in large numbers in at least four provinces of which Tibet is only the main one.

BBC: “A crowd of Tibetan students has protested in Qinghai province, activists say, as four more self-immolations were reported.

A man taking a photograph in front of a screen displaying propaganda about China's Tibet Autonomous Region in Beijing, 12 November 2012

Reports said more than 1,000 students took part in the protest, which was reportedly provoked by the contents of a book.

Twenty students were in hospital, media reports and activist groups said.

The four self-immolations, meanwhile, occurred in Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai provinces on Sunday and Monday.

Foreign media are banned from Tibetan regions, making reports of protests and self-immolations hard to verify independently. Chinese state media reports some of the protests and burnings but not all.

The student protest took place on Monday in Gonghe county in Qinghai province, London-based Free Tibet said.”

via BBC News – Tibetan students protest, as four more self-immolations reported.

17/11/2012

* Four killed in fresh Assam violence; curfew continues in Kokrajhar

Despite the appearance of ‘unity in diversity’, India seems to be continually beset with violent tensions; by Maoists/Naxalites, by ethnic groups and borderland disaffection.

Times of India: “Bodoland area in lower Assam witnessed fresh trouble with the killing of four persons by armed assailants in Jiaguri even as police arrested a member of Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District in connection with the killing.

The assailants fired randomly on a group of persons at Jiaguri in Kokrajhar police station in which four persons were killed late on Friday night, inspector general of police (BTAD) S N Singh said.

“Monokumar Brahma alias Jalja, a member of BTAD, was arrested early today in connection with the killing,” he said.

“Two AK-47 rifles, magazines of AK-47 rifles and 60 rounds of assorted ammunition were seized from his bedroom. He is currently being interrogated,” he said.

Indefinite curfew has been continuing in Kokrajhar district as violence flared up in the area again, the police said.”

via Four killed in fresh Assam violence; curfew continues in Kokrajhar – The Times of India.

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