Tibetans & Uyghurs Protest as Chinese President Address UN Opening

New York - Tibetans, Uyghurs and their supporters will hold a demonstration to coincide with Hu Jintao addressing the opening of the United Nations General Assembly today. The groups will rally outside the U.N. to voice their opposition to the Chinese Government's widespread human rights abuses, political repression and occupation of Tibet and East Turkestan (Chinese:Xinjiang). Recently released Uyghur political prisoner Rebiya Kadeer will also join the protest.

"Hu Jintao wants to promote the myth of China as a modern and progressive country governed by the rule of law," said Rebiya Kadeer, a leading Uyghur human rights activist recently released by the Chinese authorities after spending six years in prison. "The reality of the situation in East Turkestan and Tibet is exactly the opposite. The Uyghur and Tibetan people are being crushed under China's brutal military occupation, forced to live with no rights or freedoms."

While China has made some economic progress in recent years, its human rights situation has worsened. According to a 2004-05 report by Freedom House, China has received the worst possible score on the state of political rights and the second worst possible score on the state of civil liberties. "The pace of political change has not kept up with the pace of economic change," said John Kamm, head of the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation. He went on to remark that China's economic development has not translated into improvements in civil and political rights.

Hu Jintao was Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee when he imposed martial law to crack down on pro-independence Tibetan protestors in 1989. Hundreds of Tibetans were killed or injured on that day and many more were imprisoned. Hu Jintao secured his position as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in 2002. A year later, he replaced Jiang Zemin as President of China.

WHO: Uyghur and Tibetan Communities
WHAT: Demonstration
WHERE: Dag Hammerskjold Plaza, 47th Street & 1st Avenue
WHEN: 9am-2pm, Thursday, September 15th

Participating organizations: Uyghur-American Association, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Community of NY/NJ, Students for a Free Tibet, and Regional Tibetan Women's Association.

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