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Press release - World Uyghur Congress on Hotan Situation/ENG

2011. július 19./World Uyghur Congress/TibetPress

Based on several witness accounts, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) has

serious doubts about the official version of the incident in Hotan,

East Turkestan. While the WUC unequivocally condemns all acts of

violence, it urges the international community to view Chinese state

media reports on the incident with extreme skepticism and caution

since similar events in the past have proven that the Chinese

government is systematically spreading false information and

suppressing any information that contradicts its official narrative.

 
According to the official Xinhua news agency, \"thugs\" forced their way

into a police station, where they took hostages and engaged in a

gunfight that resulted in several people dead. However, according to

sources in Hotan, the shooting took place not at a police station, but

at the close main bazaar of Hotan, in the Nurbagh area, when more than

100 local Uyghurs peacefully gathered to protest a police crackdown

imposed on the city for the last two weeks. Demonstrators gathered and

demanded to know the whereabouts of relatives who had gone missing

into police custody. Police opened then fire on the demonstrators,

killing at least 20 people. Based on information received from one

hospital in Hotan, another 12 people were injured seriously, among

them four women and an 11-year-old girl named Hanzohre. In addition,

more than 70 people were arrested. The WUC fears the number of

causalities to be much higher. Since the roads to Hotan city have been

blocked by Chinese security forces and incoming and out-coming people

are controlled and searched and martial law was imposed by the

authorities in Hotan, it is difficult to obtain information on the

incident. In addition, Chinese authorities immediately blocked

internet searches on the incident within China to avoid that news on

the events are spread in the country.

 

The Chinese government is, in typical fashion, attributing the Hotan

incident to the \"three forces\" (terrorism, separatism, and religious

extremism). The authorities regularly use the fact that the Uyghurs

happen to be Muslim to appeal to racist stereotypes that unfortunately

exist about Muslims and portray the Uyghurs as religious extremists

and terrorists. Uyghurs have long practiced a moderate, traditional

form of Sunni Islam, strongly infused with the folklore and traditions

of a rural, oasis-dwelling population and religious extremism has no

roots in Uyghurs´ practice of Islam and remains scarce among the

Uyghurs. As during the July 2009 events of Urumqi, the Chinese

authorities´ distorted portrayal of the Hotan incident is an attempt

to avoid dealing with the actual root causes of such events, namely,

the crackdown on Uyghur culture, identity, freedom of expression and

religion, as well as the ongoing economic discrimination of Uyghurs in

East Turkestan. After the July 2009 events, Chinese officials stated

that 197 people were killed during the incidents. However, numerous

eyewitness accounts provided to Amnesty International, Uyghur human

rights organizations, and media outlets have indicated that security

forces committed extrajudicial killings of protesters and that in fact

around 1000 people were killed.

 
The WUC urges the Chinese government to allow international media and

observers to freely and independently investigate the incident in

Hotan to reveal the real circumstances of the events, and to stop its

ongoing crackdown on Uyghurs in all areas of their life to avoid a

further destabilization of the situation.


For media inquiries please contact:

Dilshat Rexit, WUC Spokesman

 


 

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