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China blames unrest on foreign-based separatists

August 9, 2009

China blames unrest on foreign-based separatists
AFP
August 8, 2009

GENEVA -- Last year's unrest in Tibet and July's
violence in Xinjiang were instigated by
separatists abroad, China told a United Nations human rights hearing Friday.

"Facts have fully shown that the two incidents
were premeditated and organised crimes of
violence, directed and instigated by separatists
abroad and carried out by separatists inside
China," said Duan Jielong, who led a 30-strong
Chinese delegation attending a UN examination on
China's record on eliminating racial discrimination.

Duan accused the "separatists" of "creating
ethnic splits and hatred, undermining...
harmonious development in ethnic minority areas
and undermining national unity and territorial integrity."

He told the UN Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination: "These violent crimes not
only gravely violated Chinese law, but also
gravely violated the purposes and principles of the Convention."

The government had taken "prompt action according
to law" to stop these acts and was supported by
Chinese people of "all ethnic groups," said Duan.

It had the "confidence and capacity to ... unite all ethnic groups," he added.

During the hearing, some members of the UN
committee sought more information on how China is
dealing with the two minority populations in the wake of the unrest.

Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos, who is the special
rapporteur on the issue, called on China to
detail measures on the treatment of those detained following the Tibet unrest.

He also called on China to treat over 1,000
suspects held over the Xinjiang unrest according
to "international human rights standards."

Meanwhile, another member of the committee Dilip
Lahiri noted that economic investments in the
ethnic minority regions may have not benefited
the minorities but instead had gone to the Han settlers in the regions.

"The change in the demographic balance brought
about by the Han settlers... and their securing
the lion's share of government investments is one
of the primary causes of unrest among China's ethnic minorities," he said.

"Action by the government to address this trend is imperative," he added.

Other committee members also asked about the
teaching of ethnic minority languages in schools
and issues surrounding religious freedom.

The Chinese delegation is scheduled to reply to
the questions when the hearing reconvenes Monday.

Beijing has said that at least 197 people were
killed and more than 1,600 injured in the July 5
unrest in the capital of Xinjiang, Urumqi, which
pitted minority Uighurs against members of China's dominant Han ethnic group.

Uighurs say the unrest was touched off when
security forces responded violently to peaceful
protests over a brawl at a factory in southern
China that state media said had left two Uighur workers dead.

The government meanwhile, has accused Uighurs,
most of whom are Muslim, of going on a rampage against Han Chinese in Urumqi.

The violence in Xinjiang came a year after riots
in Tibet that broke out after monks led peaceful
protests to mark a 1959 uprising. The unrest
later spread across the Tibetan plateau.

On Thursday, exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the
Dalai Lama told journalists in Geneva that
China's policies towards its ethnic minorities
had failed to foster trust over the last six decades and need to be reviewed.

"After 60 years, their policies basically failed
to ... bring trust," he said, and the time had
come to carry out a "scientific review of the policies."
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