2010 — the Uyghur Human Rights Year in Review

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January 06, 2011 | Huffpost | By Henryk Szadziewski

At the conclusion of 2009, the outlook for Uyghur human rights looked very bleak indeed. In December of that year, 20 Uyghur asylum seekers were deported from Cambodia under intense Chinese pressure. The deportation capped off a year of human rights reversals in East Turkestan (also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) that stemmed from an outbreak of unrest in the regional capital of Urumchi on July 5. In the following months mass detentions, reports of torture, enforced disappearances, trials that fell short of international standards and swift executions marked a period of extreme difficulty for the Uyghur people. Although 2010 brought the reestablishment of Internet and international communications, as well as the removal of the unpopular Party Secretary Wang Lequan, there were few indications that the economic and social issues underlying the 2009 unrest were being addressed.

2010 began with an announcement on January 13 of a near doubling of the security budget for East Turkestan that underscored Chinese government approaches to establishing stability in the region. The emphasis on security and punishment was exemplified by reports later in January that four Uyghurs had been sentenced to death in connection with the 2009 unrest. Human Rights Watch called trials related to the unrest conducted in 2009 as lacking “due process”. January also witnessed tighter restrictions on cell phone use, with three cell phone users in the region punished by public security officials for sending text messages containing harmful information and affecting ethnic unity.

Read the full op-ed here: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/2010-the-uyghur-human-rig_b_804927