Uyghur American Association condemns message of China terror video
Uyghur American Association
The Uyghur American Association (UAA) resolutely condemns the message delivered in a terror video just released and dated August 1, in which a man speaking in Uyghur claims to be part of a so-called the Turkistan Islamic Party. UAA condemns any groups that promote terrorism or violence, and opposes the threats of violent attacks that are presented in the video.
"The goal of our organization, and of the vast majority of Uyghurs around the world, is to peacefully resolve the problems facing Uyghurs in East Turkestan ," said Uyghur freedom movement leader Rebiya Kadeer. "We advocate the principle of non-violence, and the promotion of freedom, democracy and human rights through peaceful means. We also sincerely hope for a peaceful Olympic Games."
UAA urges caution with respect to claims circulated in the media regarding the Turkistan Islamic Party, as the existence of the group, its size and level of organization and any reported links to al Qaeda have yet to be confirmed. UAA maintains a degree of skepticism that this group exists beyond the Internet. UAA is also unaware of any mention of the Turkistan Islamic Party prior to last month, when a separate video was released that was reportedly also produced by the organization. Prior to the release of this video, UAA had never heard of the group. In addition, UAA urges the international community not to discount the possibility that the Chinese government itself may have been involved in the production of the video.
UAA also urges a high degree of caution when assessing recent assertions by Chinese government officials regarding the existence of a well-organized terrorist group or groups in East Turkestan , as these assertions have yet to be independently verified. UAA also urges skepticism with regard to official Chinese claims of a strong linkage between al Qaeda and alleged Uyghur terrorist groups, which have similarly remained unsubstantiated.
Since 2001, and particularly in the months leading up to the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government has used the global war on terror to justify and step up its crackdown on all forms of Uyghur dissent, however peaceful. Linkages between alleged Uyghur groups and al Qaeda or other international terrorist elements serve to validate increased military and police repression throughout East Turkestan . Over the past seven years, Chinese government documents and statements have frequently implied that a unified and strong group of terrorists exist, but many observers have questioned the legitimacy of these types of claims, and have argued convincingly that they have been used to deflect international criticism of egregious human rights abuses in East Turkestan .
UAA urges the Chinese government to stop its heavy-handed crackdown in Kashgar and throughout East Turkestan in the name of the Olympics and in the wake of the recent attack in Kashgar. Large numbers of Uyghurs have reportedly been summarily detained in Kashgar in the past week, and the military and police presence throughout East Turkestan has been significantly stepped up.
In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, Uyghurs have experienced higher rates of execution and detention, in addition to forced relocation, police monitoring, passport confiscation, and the destruction of places of worship.
CIP Note: Rebiya Kadeer recently met with President George W. Bush.