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    » 10/10/2013, 00.00

    CHINA

    Xinjiang: 139 Uyghurs arrested for spreading jihad on the Internet



    Beijing confirms the wave of arrests that started in late August. A farmer arrested for downloading books about separatism. For the World Uyghur Council, it is an attempt to "to suppress Uyghurs' use of the Internet".

    Urumqi (AsiaNews) - Police in the Chinese province of Xinjiang have arrested 139 people, all ethnic Uyghurs, for allegedly spreading jihad, the official China Daily reported. The wave of arrests began in late August and concerned people who used the Internet "inappropriately". A farmer in Hotan was detained after he uploaded e-books about secessionism.

    Beijing confirmed the arrests, pointing to violent incidents in the region to indicate a rising militant threat among the ethnic minority, as evidenced by the fact that many Uyghurs, it claims, fought in Syria's civil war and then returned home to put their militant experience into practice. These allegations, however, have not been backed by evidence.

    Dilshat Rexit, a spokesman for the overseas-based World Uygur Congress, which Beijing deems a separatist group, said that the claims were a "total distortion of the truth" aimed at blocking Uyghurs from going online.

    Those who were detained had only "expressed discontent with Chinese rule and systematic repression in the area", he explained. For him, China's goal "is to suppress Uyghurs' use of the Internet to obtain information and express different points of view".

    Xinjiang province is one of the most turbulent in all of China. It is the homeland of ethnic Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim people that has always sought independence from Beijing.

    The central government has sent hundreds of thousands of Han Chinese to the region to try to make them the dominant ethnic group. It has also imposed serious restrictions on freedom of religion, Muslim practices, the teaching of the indigenous language and the local culture.

    Since 2009, a special system of Chinese police and army control has been in place, imposed by Beijing after the riots in which nearly 200 people lost their lives. As a result of the violence, hundreds of people were detained and dozens were sentenced to death.

    Chinese authorities have blamed the violence on Muslim extremists, but exiles claim that Beijing is "exaggerating" the threat of Islamic terrorism to justify the repression against the Uyghur people.

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    See also

    13/11/2014 CHINA
    Xinjiang 22 Islamic preachers sentenced for inciting hatred
    The penalties range from five to 16 years in prison. Accusations include charges of separatism, ethnic hatred and disturbing the peace. The verdict was read in public in Kashgar. Increasingly the provincial epicenter of inter-ethnic clashes.

    09/07/2009 CHINA
    Urumqi is "under control" thanks to soldiers, the death penalty and publicity
    Order maintained by 20 thousand soldiers. Death penalty for those who have killed, undermining coexistence between Han and Uyghurs. Campaign against "plots" of Rebiya Kadeer, accused of terrorism. Turkey will bring the issue of the Uyghurs before the UN Security Council. The fear in Beijing is that the ethnic problem melds with other situations of discontent and crises in the country.

    12/12/2014 CHINA
    Xinjiang want to ban burqa: Could spark unrest
    The burqa, a garment worn by Muslim woman to cover themselves from head-to-toe, is considered a symbol of religious extremism by the local authorities. Authorities already said they would ban the practice of religion in government workplaces, public schools and state-owned enterprises from next year.

    29/12/2009 CHINA
    On Christmas day, five Uyghurs sentenced to death for their role in Xinjiang’s July protest
    Trials were held on 22 and 23 December but were not reported by Chinese media. Eight people got life in prison and four were sentenced to ten years and more. The authorities announce more trials. Beijing wants to pursue its crackdown on Uyghurs but keep it a secret from the world.

    26/06/2013 CHINA
    Xinjiang, police open fire on crowd: 27 victims
    In the remote western province, hotbed of ethnic clashes between Han and Uyghurs, tension continues unabated. A group of people assault police station and officers, who open fire at point blank range to repel them.



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