New testimonies put spotlight back on Uighurs

Why can’t we get a little bit of openness from the Chinese authorities?

I know it’s a bit of a Groundhog Day-type question, but it is Friday afternoon and surely I’m allowed to show a bit of frustration!

Anyway, why am I asking this today? Well today we’ve launched a new report on the violent crackdown against Uighur demonstrations on 5 July 2009.

The demonstrations all started after security forces had killed Uighur factory workers in the south of the country. That led to protests in the city of Urumqi the capital of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region thousands of miles away.

There have been tensions between the majority Han Chinese population and the Uighurs for generations – which the BBC document well.

The official account of the evidence wasn’t exactly all that clear – and we had our concerns back then.  It left loads of questions unanswered. How many people died, who killed them, how did it happen, and why?

The official account also claims the authorities were even-handed in their treatment of the violence – and a majority of the “innocent people” killed were Han Chinese (134 of the official total of 156).

But our new report casts doubt on that. It includes a number of eyewitnesses describing how the police and army opened fire on peaceful Uighur protestors.

All we want is the truth and as we say today that can only really come from a full impartial and independent inquiry into the events of 5 July 2009.

I won’t hold my breath.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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