|Europe condemning freedom in China?|
President of the World Uighur Congress
Transcript of the speech of Mr. Erkin Alptekin, President of the World Uighur Congress and former UNPO General Secretary
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Uyghurs, the Tibetans, the Chinese dissidents and the devoted Tibet Support Groups have gathered here to appeal to the EU and its member states not to lift the weapons sales embargo on China. Because an end to the embargo cannot be justified without significant improvement of human rights in China in general.
China's view on human rights are most paradoxical. A communist country which preaches the universal validity of Marxist pricipels, yet hypocritically rejects principles intended to protect workers exploited in prison camps, to uphold the rights-of homegrown dissidents-and the aspirations, of Uyghurs, Tibetans and the Inner Mongols.
Today, respect for human rights set aside, the Chinese authorities are arresting, torturing and even executing Uyghurs, Tibetans and Inner Mongols who demand only to live with dignity.
As we all know, the arms embargo was imposed upon China as a response to the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989. At that time the Chinese leaders did not hesitate to use their tanks, armoured vehicles and modern weaponry, mostly obtained from Western countries, to crush the peaceful student demostration at the Tiananmen Square.
Since then, the Chinese leaders never stopped using these weaponries against the Tibetans, Inner Mongols and the Uyghurs. For instance,the Chinese leaders used tanks, armoured vehicles and helicopters to crush a peaceful Uiyghur student demonstration in the city Ily, on February 5, 1997. During that attack, 400 Uyghur students and 2000 were injured.
Since then, throughout the country, extraordinary measures were taken to suppress the Uyghurs at every opportunity. Almost 200,000 “antiriot squad” special forces furnished with modern weapons have been dispatched from Lanzhou Military District to Eastern Turkestan. Security forces in major cities, countries and township have been doubled. In order to manoeuvre is being held in major city in Eastern Turkestan.
The Chinese authorities, who have suddenly discovered “terrorism” in Eastern Turkestan after September 11, 2001, have staged a world-widecampaign to brand Uyghurs as terrorists. Since then, authorities have arrested more than 3000 Uyghurs. Arrested Uyghurs have become a target of inhumane torture. Until now more than 200
Uyghurs have been executed.
Despite the warnings of President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Madame Marry Robinson, the former Chief Commissionar of UN Human Rights Commission and many other international organizations, the Chinese authorities are continuing to use the war against the international terrorism as an excuse to persecute, arrest, torture and execute not only Uighurs, but also Tibetans and the Chinese dissidents.
For instance, on January 2003, Mr. Lobsang Dhondup, a 28 old Tibetan young man, was executed by the Chinese authorities on terrorism charges. For the first time China has also sentenced Mr. Wang Bingzhang, an ethnic Chinese, dissident, to life for allegedly plotting to up the Chinese embassy in Thailand as well as roads and bridges in China itself. Now we are all under great fear that TenzinDelek Rinpoche, a well-known and much respected Tibetan Buddhist Lama could be executed any minute.
The EU will certainly give the wrong message to the Chinese leadership if they would decide to end the arms sales embargo to China under these circumstances. In the recent past, the United States have accused China of providing sensitive arms technologies to North Korea, Iran, Libya and Pakistan. There is no guarantee that China will not proliferate the weapons technology which they will obtain from the EU countries.
In every opportunuty, China is threatening to use its military might against the Taiwan. Taiwan is a leading democratic country in that region. Lifting the arms sales embargo will endanger the existence of Taiwan.
On November 17, 2004, European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of maintaining the embargo, arguing that China must take "concrete steps with the view to improving the human rights situation in China".
In brief, I humbly call upon the European Union and its member states to maintain the embargo until significant improvement is made in the People's Republic of China as a whole.
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