Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What is a Uighur Refugee?

by

To understand the context of this tweet from Human Rights Watch’s Ken Roth:

Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth 17h

Growing number of ‪#Uighurs trying to flee to Southeast Asia speaks to severe repression in ‪#China. Refuge needed. ‪http://trib.al/RhN3crS

it might be useful to understand that the United States maintains a refugee channel through Nepal for Tibetans from inside the PRC’s Tibetan Autonomous Region to make their way to Dharmsala.

The PRC is not happy with this arrangement, since most of the adults return to Tibet after their visit (the children stay in school in India).

The benign explanation is the parents got a shot of religious exhaltation by obtaining an audience with the Dalai Lama and go home to go on with their quotidian occupations.  The explanation that the PRC government probably leans toward is that these Tibetans are receiving training and resources in Dharmsala to make the PRC occupation of Tibetan regions more difficult.

A similar arrangement for Uighurs is pretty unlikely since no neighboring countries seem inclined to attract the PRC’s anger by granting refugee Uighurs an official haven.  There are unofficial havens across the Karakorum Pass, but they produce Uighur terrorists (or, if you prefer, Uighur freedom fighters;  the Uighurs at Guantanamo were considered combatants, but “non-enemy combatants”, therefore worthy of release since their intention was to target the PRC, not the US) as well as Uighur activists.

As far as I know, the PRC has not yet exercised its regional power prerogative to raid these camps; but the existence of camps and militants inside Pakistan and Afghanistan are the subject of frequent representations to Islamabad and Kabul by the Chinese government and its security services.

In the incident referenced by Mr. Roth, a group of PRC Uighurs (men, women, & children) were being returned to the PRC from Vietnam after entering illegally (the term of art here is “refoulement”, something that the Nepalese government is not supposed to do with Tibetan refugees); the men apparently seized some weapons from the Vietnamese border guard.  Two guards and five Uighur refugees were killed in the ensuing fracas.

This is unlikely to increase the enthusiasm of Vietnam for providing the refuge Roth is proposing.  Nor is the fact that the perpetrators of the knife attack that killed 27 in Kunming were apparently trying to exit the country thataway before they returned to Kunming for their rampage (the local PSB said they were trying to leave the country through Guangdong Province, which appears unlikely; they may have been trying to double back through Guangxi to Vietnam).

Given this context, and the continued acquiescence of the Obama administration to the “terrorist” designation for Uighur separatists (granted, apparently with some good reason, by President George W. Bush), it seems unlikely that any government will throw itself behind Mr. Roth’s proposal.

Peter Lee wrote a ground-breaking essay on the exposure of sailors on board the USS Reagan to radioactive fallout from Fukushima in the March issue of CounterPunch magazine. He edits China Matters.

Peter Lee edits China Matters and writes about Asia for CounterPunch.  

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail