Tug-of-war between China, Turkey over suspected Uighurs in Thailand

Some of the suspected Uighur Muslims

Some of the suspected Uighur Muslims

Jiang Zemin was wise to allow Fang Lizhi, Wang Dan and others to leave China, while Hu Jintao was wise to allow Chen Guangcheng to leave China.

It is hoped that Xi Jinping is as wise to allow the Uighur Muslims to leave China for Turkey, as long as Turkey is able to prevent them from joining Islamic extremists.

Even if a very small number of those Uighur Muslims are able to leave Turkey to receive terrorist training from IS, it will not be much more trouble than keeping them in China. If they want to be terrorists, they can well carry out terrorist attacks without receiving such training.

There is strict border control along the Chinese border in Uighur areas, and those who try to cross the border illegally may be shot dead by Chinese border troops. Therefore, it is very difficult for terrorists to cross the border back into China illegally. Even if they can, they will soon be discovered due to the strict household registration control in the area.

Like the 17 illegal immigrants mention in a Reuters report, they have to cross the border in Southwest China. They will be closely monitored by Chinese secret police on their long way back to Xinjiang as Uighurs look different from Han Chinese.

Through the current fake efforts to get them back to China, China will at least know their identities and be on its alert if some of those Uighurs are really potential terrorists who try to return to China after receiving terrorist training.

The following is the full text of Reuters’ report:

Tug-of-war between China, Turkey over suspected Uighurs in Thailand

A group of suspected Uighur Muslims has become the focus of a diplomatic tug-of-war in Thailand between China and Turkey, with both countries wanting to repatriate them and hundreds of other suspected Uighurs detained in Thailand as illegal immigrants.

The group of 17, all from the same family, were detained by Thai police in March 2014 after illegally entering overland from Cambodia, said their lawyer Worasit Piriyawiboon.

Two of the family’s 13 children were born in custody.

The family, who use the name Teklimakan, have spent most of the past year in the main police immigration detention centre in Bangkok.

The group claimed to be Turkish and, while still in detention, were issued with passports by the Turkish Embassy and granted permission to travel to Turkey.

China insists the 17 detainees are Chinese Uighurs who should be returned to the northwest Chinese region of Xinjiang, according to court documents seen by Reuters.

Hundreds of people have been killed in unrest in Xinjiang in the past two years, prompting a crackdown by Chinese authorities and small numbers of Uighurs to try and flee the country.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, have travelled clandestinely through Southeast Asia en route to Turkey.

Thai National Security Council secretary-general Anusit Kunakorn told Reuters that China and Turkey have asked Thailand for help in repatriating those detained.

“Both China and Turkey have asked for our help in repatriating Uighurs,” Anusit told Reuters, adding that he would not be drawn on whether Thailand sides with one country over the other. “Their nationalities need to be verified. Thailand is just on the receiving end.”

On Tuesday, there was palpable tension in the Bangkok South Criminal Court where the case of the 17 suspected Uighurs was being heard. Representatives from the Turkish and Chinese embassies assembled to hear the case sat far apart.

“These are Turkish citizens. They have Turkish passports. These people want to go to Turkey and we’ve already said they can,” said Ahmet Idem Akay, a Turkish diplomat who attended the hearing.

Chinese officials who attended the hearing declined to comment.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she was not aware of the details of the case, but that China was willing to increase cooperation with Thailand, Turkey and other nations to fight illegal immigration.

The court will decide on Friday whether to order the group’s release. Under Thai law, court approval must be sought for detention periods over seven days.

Rights groups, including the New-York based Human Rights Watch, have urged the Thai government not to forcibly repatriate the Uighurs to China, adding that many face severe persecution, including the threat of arrest and torture.

The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking people officially regarded as “brothers” in Turkey, which already hosts large Uighur populations.

Source: Reuters – “Tug-of-war between China, Turkey over suspected Uighurs in Thailand”


Categories: Human Rights & Social Issues

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2 replies


  1. South China now favoured way out of country for IS recruits | China Daily Mail
  2. Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 7, 2015 | China Daily Mail

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