China pours more money to Cambodia after Uighurs deported

Cambodia signed 14 deals worth an estimated $850 million with China on Monday, two days after defying international pressure by deporting 20 Uighur refugees.

China pours more money to Cambodia after Uighurs deported

Cambodia signed 14 deals worth an estimated $850 million with China on Monday, two days after defying international pressure by deporting 20 Uighur refugees.

Cambodia deported back to a group of 20 Muslim Uighurs who were seeking refuge in the country after fleeing the violence in China this year despite warnings they will face persecution by Beijing.

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.

China also thanked Phnom Penh for its controversial deportation although Cambodia signed a 1951 treaty banning the forced repatriation of refugees who face persecution at home.

Cambodia has said the Uighurs entered the country illegally and it was implementing its own immigration laws.

China accused the Uighurs in Cambodia of being criminals, without giving details.

"China thanked the government of Cambodia for assisting in sending back those people," said Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanarith.

The Uighurs, a Turkic Muslim ethnic group, were smuggled into Cambodia in recent weeks and applied for asylum at the United Nations refugee agency office in Phnom Penh.

"Nowhere to flee"

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.

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.

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.

"More than $4.3 billion"

China, Cambodia's biggest source of foreign direct investment having pumped more than $4.3 billion into the nation, agreed to help fund projects ranging from roads and irrigation to temple conservation and a new a parliament building.

The exact value of the agreements, signed during a visit by Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping, was not disclosed. But the pacts were widely believed related to a deal worth $853 million when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Cambodia's prime minister, Hun Sen, met in Sichuan on October 15.

China changed name of East Turkistan and named it Xinjiang in 1955.

Many Uighurs resent Han Chinese rule, complaining they're marginalised economically and politically in their own land, while having to tolerate a rising influx of Han Chinese migrants.

Meanwhile, human rights groups accuse Beijing of using claims of "terrorism" as an excuse to crack down on peaceful pro-independence sentiment and expressions of Uighur identity.


Agencies

Last Mod: 21 Aralık 2009, 16:47
Add Comment