(AsiaNews) - Arrests and sentences against the Uygur people are part of a Chinese
plan to strike at ethnic Uyghurs during Ramadan because they think they are
weak, but that is not the case. The international community must force Beijing to
stop its repressive policies, said Rebiya Kadeer, exiled Xinjiang Uygur leader
about the recent convictions of 20 Uyghurs.
courts in Kashgar, Akesu and Xinjiang capital
Urumqi handed down the sentences (of up to15 years) after finding the 20 accused
guilty of various crimes, some related to "organising terrorist
attacks" in the region.
to the Uygur World Congress, the accusations are a baseless fabrication. Moreover,
the accused were not given an opportunity to defend themselves.
campaign of relentless repression has been underway in Xinjiang, in
north-western China, against ethnic Uyghurs. Chinese authorities have imposed a
series of restrictions on local Muslims, including on the right to fast during
Ramadan and take part in religious activities, Kadeer noted.
websites have urged local Communist Party leaders to impose further restrictions
on religious activity during the sacred month, not only in relation to fasting but
also access to mosques.
9 million Turkic-speaking Uyghur Muslims live in Xinjiang. For years, they have
been fighting to obtain autonomy from the Chinese state and stop Chinese repression.
part of its campaign, the central government has urged local officials to give
village chiefs gifts of food to ensure they do not fast during Ramadan.
spokesperson for German-based Uygur World Congress warned
that restrictions will incite "the Uighur people to resist [Chinese rule]
even further," as China is using its administration to force Uyghurs to break
their fast and eat.