This summer, action to combat racial discrimination will be high on the global agenda. The preparations for the World Conference Against Racism, to be held in early September, are well under way. In addition, Chinas compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will be assessed by the CERD (Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) at the end of July.
Human rights violations in Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia continue unabated. Although Tibetan organizations have been documenting the abuse occurring in Tibet, too little is known of the extent of violations in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. In May the Chinese authorities reiterated that the separatist movements in Tibet and Xinjiang were among the five evil forces with which the authorities had to cope. It is thus crucial to take action on cases of individuals detained and abused in these regions for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of opinion, expression, association and religion.
We encourage readers to write to the Chinese authorities to enquire about the following individuals whereabouts and health,and to appeal for their immediate release.
- Uighur businesswoman Rebiya Kadeer, 55, was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of illegally passing intelligence outside China in March 2000. The intelligence consisted of newspapers articles sent to her husband, Sidik Rouzi, who gained asylum in the United States in 1996. Kadeer was detained in August 1999 in Urumqi (Xinjiang), along with her secretary Kahriman Abdukirim, who was sentenced to three years Reeducation Through Labor. Kadeers imprisonment is believed to be a punishment for her husbands Uighur nationalism.
- Abidjan Obulkasim, a former student in physics now in his late 20s, was arrested in early 1995 for having discussed political and human rights issues at a picnic in August 1994. Tried in mid-1995 in Kashgar, he was accused of having formed a counter-revolutionary group and of planning to engage in separatist activities. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and his sentence was reportedly increased by one year on appeal. He is reported to be held at Liu Daowan prison in Urumqi.
- Rahmatjan was just 16 when he was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment in July 1997. He was among 29 people sentenced in public at a sports stadium in Gulja City in Yining for alleged offences committed during protests in the city in February 1997. Among the other defendants, seven were sentenced to death, three were given suspended death sentences, seven received life imprisonment and 10 others prison terms of up to 18 years. Rahmatjans place of detention is unknown.
- Ngawang Sangdrol, a nun from Garu nunnery born in 1976, was sentenced to three years imprisonment in 1992 for taking part in a peaceful pro-independence demonstration in Lhasa. Since then, her prison term has been extended three times: by six years in October 1993 after she composed and recorded pro-independence songs in prison; by eight years in July 1996 for disobedience to prison rules; and by four years in May 1998 after leading a prisoners protests in Lhasas Drapchi Prison. Ngawang Sangdrol is now serving a 21-year sentence.
- Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, 11, has been in custody since May 1995, when he was recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama by the Dalai Lama. Days later, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, his family, the Abbot Chadrel Rinpoche and his Secretary (who both led the search to identify the Panchen Lama) were forcibly taken to Beijing. Since this time, the Chinese government has failed to provide details on Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, at various times making the conflicting assertions that he had returned to his family home or that he remained in custody for his own protection.
- Chadrel Rinpoche, the former abbot of Tashilhumpo monastery and head of the official search team for the reincarnation of the 11th Panchen Lama, was sentenced in April 1997 to six years imprisonment for allegedly conspiring to split the country and seriously jeopardizing the national unification and unity of ethnic groups. Now in his early sixties, Chadrel Rinpoche is reportedly held in solitary detention in a secret compound in Changdong No. 3 Prison, Dazu County, Sichuan Province.
- Hada, 46, a bookstore owner in Hohhot (Inner Mongolia), was sentenced in 1996 to 15 years imprisonment for establishing the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance, which aimed at promoting Mongolian culture and autonomy for Chinas minority nationalities as guaranteed in the Constitution. (See Prisoner Profile for more detail.)
- Tegexi, born in 1966, an interpreter, was sentenced in 1996 to 10 years imprisonment for organizing a counterrevolutionary group. Tegexi was also detained in December 1995 for helping create the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance.
Send your appeals to:
- President Jiang Zemin, Chinese Communist Party, Yongdingmen Street, Beijing 1000032, P.R. China.
- Premier Zhu Rongji, Guowuyuan, 9 Xihuangchenggenbeijie, Beijing 1000032, P.R. China.
- National Peoples Congress, Quanguo Renmin Dahuitang, 19 Xijiaominxiang, Xichengqu, Beijing 100805, P.R. China.
For more information:
- Amnesty International, Peoples Republic of China: Gross Violations of Human Rights in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, April 1999 (AI Index: ASA 17/18/99), http://www.amnesty.org
- Tibet Information Network (TIN), http://www.tibetinfo.net
- Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, a human rights NGO working for the rights of Tibetan people: http://tchrd.org
- International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), documents human rights violations in Tibet: http://www.savetibet.org/
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