CECC Chairman and Cochairman Call on China to Abide by Commitments to Protect Human Rights and Promote the Rule of Law in Xinjiang

Congressional-Executive Commission on China | www.cecc.gov

CECC Chairman and Cochairman Call on China to Abide by Commitments to Protect Human Rights and Promote the Rule of Law in Xinjiang

July 9, 2009

(Washington, DC)—Senator Byron Dorgan, Chairman and Representative Sander Levin, Cochairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) made the following statement on the Chinese government’s response to demonstrations in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China:

“We are deeply saddened by recent reports of deaths and injuries in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China, and express our heartfelt sympathy to Uyghur and Han Chinese individuals and their families who have suffered.

“We note with great interest that Chinese and foreign media are present in the region, which is an important development. We continue to hear reports, however, of restrictions on reporters’ activities and of other controls over the free flow of information. These restrictions hamper reporting on these important events, and a number of details about the demonstrations remain unknown.

“We call on the Chinese government, when addressing recent events in Xinjiang, to abide by its domestic and international commitments to protects citizens’ human rights and promote the rule of law. We also urge the Chinese government to address the longstanding grievances of the Uyghur people that in part gave rise to the recent demonstrations.

“Specifically, we call on the Chinese government to:

  • Honor the Chinese Constitution's guarantees for the freedoms of speech and association, distinguish between acts of peaceful protest and acts of violence, and not treat peaceful protest as a crime.
  • Allow international observers and journalists immediate and unfettered access to the Xinjiang.
  • Provide details about each person detained or charged with a crime, including each person's name, the charges (if any) against each person, the name and location of the prosecuting office and court handling each case, and the name of each facility where a person is detained or imprisoned.
  • Ensure that security officials fulfill their obligations under Articles 64(2) and 71(2) of China’s Criminal Procedure Law to inform relatives and work places where detainees are being held.
  • Allow access by diplomats and other international observers to the trials of people charged with protest-related crimes.

“As we in the United States well know, ethnic, racial and cultural diversity is a tremendous national asset. We urge China to draw strength from its own diversity, and to fully implement its own laws and policies that protect the rights of all citizens equally.