China mum on fate of forcibly deported Uighurs

Chinese official declined to say where the Uighurs were or whether they had been charged with any crime upon their return to China.

China mum on fate of forcibly deported Uighurs

The Chinese government denied Tuesday that $1.2 billion in aid it gave Cambodia was linked to the Southeast Asian nation's deportation of 20 Uighur Muslims who had sought asylum after fleeing ethnic violence, keeping mum over thier fate.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the aid package to Cambodia has "no strings attached."

However, the deportations came as Vice-President Xi Jinping, seen as front-runner to succeed President Hu Jintao, was beginning a visit to Cambodia.

The Uighur American Association said some in the group had witnessed security forces killing and beating Uighur demonstrators and they could face persecution, including possible execution, in China.

U.S.-based Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer said in an opinion piece in Monday's Wall Street Journal that Cambodia's deportation was "no doubt influenced by enormous Chinese pressure, backed by hundreds of millions of dollars in aid."

"Governments of countries neighbouring China are reluctant to take any action that would displease Chinese authorities, leaving Uighurs nowhere to flee," Kadeer said.

Jinping, who arrived on a previously scheduled visit just hours after the Uighurs expelled, pledged $1.2 billion to Cambodia on Monday and also thanked the country for the deportations, a Cambodian government spokesman said.

"No info"

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu declined to say where the Uighurs were or whether they had been charged with any crime upon their return to China.

The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said, Cambodia bowed to pressure and deporting the asylum seekers having given "strong assurances" it would be allowed to complete its investigation to determine their status.

Clashes over the summer between Han Chinese and Muslim Uighur residents in Urumqi, East Turkistan's capital, left 197 people dead, according to Chinese government figures. However, Uighur exile groups said up to 800 people died, many of them Uighurs shot or beaten to death by police.

"These accusations are groundless. These Chinese nationals' illegal boarder crossing and entry into Cambodia violated both China's Entry and Exit Law and relevant Cambodian laws," she told a regular news briefing in Beijing.

"Furthermore, they are suspected of crimes. I think any country in this situation has the right to make its own decision according to domestic laws," Jiang said.

Jiang said such criticism was unwarranted and unwelcome.

"How to deal with these people is an internal Chinese affair which the outside world has no right to make irresponsible comments about," she said.

Jiang said China attached no strings to its aid to Cambodia.

"China and Cambodia have been maintaining a comprehensive and cooperative partnership. We provide what aid we can to Cambodia, and without any conditions."

The Washington-based Uighur American Association said the 20 will likely face torture and possible execution, citing the case of Shaheer Ali, a Uighur political activist who fled to Nepal in 2000 and was granted refugee status by the United Nations.

He was forcibly returned to China from Nepal in 2002 and executed a year later, according to state media.



Agencies

Last Mod: 22 Aralık 2009, 12:36
Add Comment