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US urges China fair trials after executions

November 13, 2009

AFP
November 11, 2009

WASHINGTON -- The United States urged China
Monday to ensure transparent and fair trials
after Beijing said it executed nine people over
ethnically charged violence in the far-western city of Urumqi.

"The US government continues to urge China to
handle all detentions and judicial processes
relating to the Urumqi violence in a transparent
manner," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told AFP.

"We also urge China to ensure that the legal
rights of all Chinese citizens are respected in
accordance with international standards of due process," he said.

"Our embassy officials in Beijing have discussed
the issues with the Chinese government."

Beijing said earlier that it carried out its
first executions over July's violence in Urumqi,
which pitted the Xinjiang region's mostly Muslim
Uighur community against China's majority Han.

The ethnic violence, China's worst in decades,
left 197 people dead and more than 1,600 injured,
according to an official toll.

Han vigilantes went on a rampage against Uighurs
two days later, but the exact number of
casualties from that day has never been divulged.

The executions come days before US President
Barack Obama pays his first trip to China, where
he is expected to push for a broader long-term relationship.

"The fact that Chinese authorities had the
audacity to carry out these executions on the eve
of President Barack Obama's visit to China
displays their utter disregard for international
human rights standards," exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer said.

"Chinese authorities must be held to account for
their actions, or tensions in East Turkestan will
worsen even further," she said in a statement,
using a Uighur name for Xinjiang.

"I ask the international community to press for a
full investigation into the killings and
detentions of Uighurs since July 5 in East Turkestan," she said.

Kadeer, who heads the World Uighur Congress,
spent six years in a Chinese prison until 2005
when she was freed under US pressure and moved to the Washington area.

Human rights groups have criticized Obama for not
being more outspoken, noting that China in the
past released dissidents such as Kadeer as major US visits loomed.

China accuses Kadeer of fomenting the violence.
Kadeer denies the charges and accuses China of
trying to destroy Xinjiang's culture through
restrictions on political and religious freedom.

According to previous statements by the Xinjiang
government, the nine people sentenced to death in
October included eight Uighurs and one Han.
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