Refusals of passports to Uyghurs and confiscations of passports held by Uyghurs indicator of second-class status in China

February 7, 2013

For immediate Release
February 7, 2013 5:03 pm EST
Contact: Uyghur American Association +1 (202) 478 1920

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) calls on the Chinese government to immediately halt all discriminatory practices regarding the issuance of passports to Uyghurs.

UAA urges Chinese authorities to respect its own laws and handle all passport applications by Uyghurs according to the articles of the 2007 Passport Law of the People’s Republic of China, as well as return all passports confiscated from Uyghurs without due process and reasonable cause.

Citing research conducted by the Uyghur Human Rights Project and the media, UAA believes the Chinese government has denied Uyghurs the right to a passport in a pattern stretching back to 2006.

In a statement, UAA President, Alim Seyoff said, “Evidence points to a concerted effort among Chinese officials to deny Uyghurs passports. The evidence also tells us that this has been happening for some time. This violation of its own laws makes it clear the Chinese authorities are not interested in the rule of law. Blatant discrimination by the very people who should be protecting the welfare of Uyghurs opens up the Chinese government to questions of whether it is an appropriate leader for the international community.”

Student detained

On February 5, 2013, Uighurbiz, an online forum reporting on Uyghur issues, disclosed that officers from the Toqsu County [Ch. Xīnhé] Public Security Bureau had detained Central Nationalities University student, Atikem Rozi. Prior to her detention, Rozi had expressed frustration online at being unable to secure a Chinese passport. Rozi was detained with her mother and interrogated for six hours before her release. Two days later, Uighurbiz revealed that state security officers had continued their harassment of Rozi with a visit to her home at 1:30 pm on February 7, 2013.

Rozi applied for a passport at the Beijing Entry and Exit Bureau; however, officials informed her that without the approval of authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) a passport could not be issued. Between 2010 and 2012, Rozi submitted three separate applications, and all three were refused. Rozi was told her request had been denied on “political grounds,” despite the absence of any criminal record.

After Rozi’s third refusal on November 17, 2012, she began to post on the Sina Weibo microblogging service about her difficulty in securing a passport and of the violation of her civil rights.

Uyghur Human Rights Project report by Henryk Szadziewski. Download the full report in English here.

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