Young Uyghur Shot and Beaten to Death in Guangzhou

For immediate release
July 3, 2006, 16:15 EDT
Contact: Uyghur Human Rights Project +1 (202) 349 1496

Sources close to the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) have reported to the organization that a young Uyghur man was shot and wounded by police in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on June 19, and then beaten to death by police as he lay wounded.

According to sources, Hasan, 19, was sitting outside a Uyghur restaurant on Guangyuan West Road in a predominantly Uyghur neighborhood in Guangzhou, when two police officers approached Hasan demanding to search him. According to sources, Hasan refused to cooperate with the officers, wanting to know why they wanted to search him.

The officers called for support, and several more police officers arrived more or less immediately from the nearby Kuangquan police station. The police attempted to physically restrain Hasan – an attempt described by UHRP’s sources as a violent assault – but Hasan managed to break free. As he ran away, he was shot once in the back and fell to the ground. The officers then set upon Hasan, and sources claim he was dead within moments.

The following day, on June 20, a large peaceful crowd of Uyghurs assembled outside the Guangdong Provincial government building, protesting against police brutality and calling for some form of compensation to be paid to Hasan’s family, in particular to his young wife. Four representatives from the crowd were invited into the government building to explain their grievances, according to sources, although it is not clear who in government these representatives met with.

The crowd peacefully dispersed after it was explained to the four representatives that the relevant authorities would “look into the shooting. However, on the evening of the shooting, local television had already reported that Hasan was a street thief who had been caught red-handed, and was legitimately shot as he attempted to evade arrest.

“Uyghurs are extremely vulnerable to this kind of treatment at the hands of police in China, said Alim Seytoff, Director of the UHRP. “Of course, no one in China – no matter where they are from – is safe from the large number of aggressive or corrupt police officers.

Uyghurs, however, are increasingly depicted in the popular Chinese media as either thieves, drug-runners or even terrorists.

“It’s therefore no surprise that police should have arbitrarily decided to try and search Hasan; and it’s no surprise either that Hasan was probably fed up with the constant attention from police for no other reason than he was a Uyghur, and decided not to cooperate, continued Mr. Seytoff. “Tragically, it was the last thing he ever did.

It is not known where Hasan's remains are being kept, and according to sources, his family has not yet been informed when to retrieve his body for his funeral.

(NB: This article was amended on July 10, 2006 to correct the information originally reported that Hasan’s wife witnessed him being shot and beaten to death. UHRP understands this was not the case.)