Monday, May 08, 2006

Uighurs finally freed

Detainee Release Announced

The Department of Defense announced today that it has released five detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Albania. This movement increases the number of detainees who have departed Guantanamo to 272.

All five of the subject detainees are ethnic Uighurs determined to be “No Longer Enemy Combatants” (NLEC) through a Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT), a review process held at Guantanamo during 2004-2005 to determine classification status of all detainees.

The United States has done the utmost to ensure that the Uighurs will be treated humanely upon release. Our key objective has been to resettle the Uighurs in an environment that will permit them to rebuild their lives. Albania will provide this opportunity.

With this release, DoD has transferred or released 272 detainees from Guantanamo – 192 for release and 80 transferred to other governments, including Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden and Uganda. Approximately 480 detainees remain at Guantanamo.
source here

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Free Huseyin Celil


OTTAWA--The federal government says it is using "all possible diplomatic avenues" to press for the release of Canadian Islamic religious leader Huseyin Celil from jail in Uzbekistan, where he faces deportation to China and possible execution.

Celil's pregnant wife, Kamila Telendibaeva, held an emotional news conference along with Amnesty International at the House of Commons today, where she read a statement pleading for help.

The human rights group and 12 other non-governmental organizations have written Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking him to intervene personally to help Celil, a political dissident who fled China in the mid-1990s before coming to Canada as a refugee and getting citizenship.

Harper's parliamentary secretary, Jason Kenney, says Ottawa is "preoccupied" with Celil's release and has dedicated a full-time consular official out of Moscow to the case.

Supporters want Canada to ensure legal counsel to the prisoner and to recruit other countries to help pressure the Uzbek government into freeing Celil, who has championed the cause of the Uygur people, an ethnic Muslim minority in China's Xinjiang province.

Celil was arrested in the central Asian republic of Uzbekistan on March 27 when he tried to renew his visa while the couple and their children were visiting Telendibaeva's family; no charges have been laid.

Telendibaeva returned to Canada last weekend after she was repeatedly denied visits to see her husband in jail. He was apparently arrested on a warrant from China and a ruling ordering his execution.

Amnesty International fears Celil, who escaped prison in China once, will be sent back because of close ties between the two countries and mutual extradition treaties.
source canada.com

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Uighur Youth With No Future In Xinjiang

The young men studying at the Islam College in Urumqi, near China's western border, sit ramrod straight listening intently to their teacher.
Most hope one day to become imams in the many mosques of the Muslim-dominated Chinese region of Xinjiang.
"I believe in Islam, I came here to deepen my faith, to learn more," said 24-year-old, Bolo Alashankur.
"I learnt about Islam at home, from my family, but now I've come to the college for formal training," he said.

But learning about Islam is difficult here. Almost 2,000 miles from the capital, Beijing, the curriculum of the Islam College must be approved by the ruling Communist Party. Imams must attend political education camps - the authorities even dictate which version of the Koran should be used.

CHINA'S UIGHURS

Ethnically Turkic Muslims, mainly in Xinjiang
Made bid for independent state in 1940s
Sporadic violence in Xinjiang since 1991
Uighurs worried about Chinese immigration and erosion of traditional culture

Human rights groups accuse China of conducting a campaign of repression against its Muslim minority, especially in Xinjiang. Despite a promise of religious freedom guaranteed in the constitution, in practical terms, few are at liberty to practise their faith as they would like.

China's war on terror is concentrated on Xinjiang. The province borders eight separate countries. Foreign fighters, including members of the Taliban, have been captured here.

At a press conference, Communist Party boss Wang Lequan warned that the province was under attack.

"In Xinjiang the separatists, religious extremists and violent terrorists are all around us - they're very active. We deal with these criminals using the law. In China, endangering national security is the number one crime. We have to crack down on it severely," he said.

Excuse

But others have accused China of muddying the waters between religious extremism and religious freedom. The authorities are just as worried about the threat from within as from outside.

"Fear is definitely pervasive in Xinjiang," said Nicolas Becquelin of pressure group Human Rights in China.

"People from the Uighur community are very much at risk of being arrested, detained, tortured or sentenced to labour camps for anything the government equates to separatist feelings, or for holding religious activities," he said.

Uighurs are doing anything they can to make a living - there's no alternative

Anonymous Uighur
At the central mosque in Urumqi, the sights and sounds are not entirely Muslim. The old mosque was knocked down a few years ago and replaced by a handsome brick building. But when it was rebuilt, it came with the addition of a shopping mall. Now the faithful pray above a KFC and next to a Carrefour supermarket.
Those around the mosque are afraid to speak. Uighur men and women have been imprisoned for simply speaking to foreign journalists.
The BBC was monitored by undercover policemen for most of our time in Xinjiang. We slipped away briefly and spoke to a Uighur who was unhappy about the redevelopment.
"It really isn't appropriate," he said. "We come here to worship - but sometimes we can't hear our prayers because of the music and singing from the bazaar."
Life is difficult for Muslims in Xinjiang, he said, warning that he could get into trouble for speaking to the BBC.
"It's getting more and more difficult for us to earn money now. Uighurs are doing anything they can to make a living - there's no alternative," he said.
China wants to focus on the smiles
Northern Xinjiang is rich and fertile, and it has oil. But Uighurs enjoy little of its riches, especially since China has flooded the province with Han Chinese. In 1950 Uighurs were 94% of the population - they are now less than half.
This ethic dilution is denied by officials such as Yahfu Wumar, director of Urumqi's Religious and Ethnics Affairs Committee.
"There's very little difference in the ethnic balance between now and the early 1950s," he said.
"The central government established the "Go West" policy to bridge the economic gap between east and west China. It has brought entrepreneurs here - but it certainly isn't an issue of moving Han people to Xinjiang," he said.
One of the few places where Uighur culture is celebrated in Urumqi is at a folk performance for tourists. But it is another fabrication - the gaudy costumes include glittering cowboy hats and most of the songs are sung in Chinese, not Uighur.
Beijing says its priority is to stop religious extremism and terrorism in this far-off province.
But critics say it is criminalizing an entire race of people, and that this repression will only radicalize those who want the freedom to pray and the chance to share in China's new-found riches.
source BBC

Monday, April 24, 2006

More oil strike in Xinjiang

BEIJING - Sinopec, China's largest refiner and second-largest oil and gas producer, may reinforce its upstream production with the recent discovery in Xinjiang of an oilfield that may be of comparable importance to Daqing, the country's largest oilfield, which has been producing more than 40 million tons per year of crude for three decades.
Sinopec is currently conducting a drill-stem test on the Tashen 1 wildcat well, located in its Tahe oilfield in Xinjiang . Historically, almost every drill-stem test has yielded a big discovery. Daqing, for example, is a result of a drill-stem test conducted on the Songji 3 well in 1959. A drill-stem test on the Tazhong 1 well in 1988 resulted in the discovery of Tarim oilfield.

Sinopec workers hit a strong oil and gas current when drilling reached 7,300 meters at Tashen 1.

Experts estimate that Tashen may have a reserve comparable to Daqing, but the answer may still take time and effort to check. If the discovery fulfills its potential, it will make the Tahe field's output, currently at 3.85 million tons per year, exceed the goal of 10 million tons per year Sinopec plans for 2010.

Not only that, if the oilfield does have a comparable size to Daqing as has been speculated, Sinopec may actually surpass PetroChina to become China's largest oil producer.
source here.
(Asia Pulse/XIC)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Biography of Mao Zedong translated into Uighur


A biography of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong, "Mao: A life" by famous English biographer Philip Short, has been translated into the Uygur language and will be published in June.

This is the first Uygur edition of books on Mao's biography, which will satisfy the interests of Uygur readers to know more about Mao, who was the founder and leader of the Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China, said Abdurahman Abay, director of the Xinjiang People's Publishing House.

The Uygur edition of the biographies of other former Chinese leaders, such as Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zeming and Hu Yaobang, will also be published with that of Mao, according to Abay.

The English edition of "Mao: a life" was first published in Britain, and its Chinese edition was published in 2004.

Home to 47 ethic groups, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region boasts a population of nearly nine million with the Uygur ethnic minority, accounting for 45 percent of the region's total.
source here

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Xinjiang: Taklimakan Desert Rally




Exciting news from Xinjiang. Details of the Taklimakan Desert Rally are coming through.
This is an update written to all the teams froM Team captain " Max Gordon Oidtmann". He lives in Urumqi China and is arranging all the details for the race for us, we all start to fly into Urumqi from the 24th April.

The happy news here in Urumqi is many fold.

First I was awakened from bed this morning with a phone call from Manager Wang, of Qingqi-Suzuki, telling me that the all the motorbikes had finally arrived from Shangdong

So Jonathan, Tian Jian and I all trooped out to the Urumqi suburb of Changji,where, in a dusty filthy lot, stood two massive blue Dong Feng trucks from Inner Mongolia stacked high with our motorcycles in big steel crates.

The bikes were trucked in pell-mell all the way across China in an amazing three days - each truck had a team of three drivers so they drove non-stop. The storage lot's offloaded was broken, so there was no unloading today.

All I know is that our team now possesses eight brand new GREEN motorcycles, which are still in a semi disassembled state. That and they are all covered in about 10 sandstorms worth of dust.

Last week I took a trip to Karamay, the glorious oil city of northern Xinjiang.

I was invited up to survey the operations of the "An Tai Head Engineering and Consulting Company" (their translation, not mine). I was feted with crabs and baijiu, and put up in a lovely hotel right in the middle of an oil refinery (it felt very Syriana-like).

Anyhow this company has decided to endorse our team to the tune of about RMB 30,000, which will be handled by Tian Jian, and is also giving us the free use of a Nissan X-terra for the course of the race.

Of course this all comes with a catch: This engineering company is opening up a four-star hotel in Urumqi. It ain't open yet, but our uniforms will have their name on it

Currently Tian Jian and I are having uniforms made, basically a motorcycling jacket and pants set. This stuff fell out the "back door" of the same factory as the BMW motorcycling clothing, so it is really hot shit- nice durable all-weather fabric.

Our intention is that this is stuff you can wear around camp and during the larger group road rides leading up to rally sections. It could also double as an outer layer during race sections, 'cause it is really great material. Our outfits will be black, with gold and silver reflective patches for our sponsors.

We've currently got two mechanics/helpers coming along to provide support: DuTao has confirmed that he will be coming out from Lanzhou, and Tian Jian has arranged another mechanic from Urumqi.

Also, after long negotiations with the race company, your original race entree fees now also include something like 400,000 RMB worth of medical treatment in Xinjiang's hospitals for any injuries sustained during the race.

Jonathan of New Zealand has been busy too: He got us an endorsement from the
international distributor of Hoegardens Beer (belgium) and Boddington's Pub Ale
(England). So we're going to have crates of this stuff to get liquored up on during the race, as well as some t-shirts.

So we've got a sweet set of outer-wear for everyone on the team. It is warming up nicely in Urumqi and Xinjiang in general, so I will revise my advice to bring warm clothing. Expect daytime temps to be hot. Aside from perhaps one day, the racing will all be in low-mid elevation desert- no glacier crossings.

Considering that we've got several sets of jackets made for you all here, leave your extra sweaters behind. Please pack as light as possible.
Official team name: Jinhua Business Hotel- Talkimakan Rally Team
That's the news from Urumqi.
Good luck with final preparations.
We'll be sending pictures of the bikes as soon as possible.

source here


More from CHINAKIWI.MODBLOG

It has been organized for the May holiday break. It’s called the “Around Taklimakan Desert Race”

It’s a 10 day, staged rally across the Taklimakan Desert, covering 4000Km

The race will have approximately 60 motorbike riders and about 100 4wd, vehicles racing plus TV and support crews.



From Xinjiang.gov.cn

2006 Zhongkun Auto\Motor Rally Race around the Taklimakan Desert does challenge the unique natural physiognomy in XJ; it is also a rigorous test for the driver and their cars. Meanwhile, the profound cultural connotation and atmosphere of XJ also catch the eye of the competitors. During the rally race, we witness the unique Yadan physiognomy, vast Gobi desert and various kinds of rivers. While, the cultural relics really attract the attention of us, such as the magnificent Kizil Thousand-Buddha Cave, elaborately designed old residential district, respected Apahoja Tomb and mysterious Kuqu Grand Canyon. All these relics will surely add more charm to the rally race.

source here

Kazakh pipeline reaches Alashanko, Xinjiang


Kazakh crude flowing through a landmark pipeline opened four months ago is set to reach China in a week, helping the world's number two oil consumer cut back on imports, a Chinese industry official said.

The pipeline will ultimately supply 4.5 million tonnes this year, equivalent to about 4 per cent of China's total oil imports last year, part of Beijing's move to boost supply security with more long-term contracts from key suppliers.

"It will start feeding the refineries in May," said an official from state-run China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) from Beijing, referring to plants in Xinjiang and Lanzhou run by its listed subsidiary PetroChina.

PetroChina, Asia's big-gest oil and gas producer, operates refineries mostly in the country's north and supplies 40 per cent of the Chinese fuel market. The supply rate matches industry estimates that the $800 million, 600-mile (965 kilometres) pipeline would be running at half its designed capacity of 10 million tonnes a year (200,000 barrels per day) in 2006 and operate at full tilt by end-2007.

On a daily basis, the pipe-line will carry 137,000 barrels of oil to Chinese refineries from May, or about 2.3 per cent of China's current total refinery production.

The Atasu-Alashanko pipeline is China's first international crude line. China has been lobbying Moscow for over a decade to build an oil pipeline from East Siberia of Russia, the world's second-largest exporter after Saudi Arabia.

Until now China has imported Kazakh crude oil by train, taking 26,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2005, customs data show.

The CNPC official said crude supply via rail will continue even after the flow via pipeline is underway, but he declined to give further details.

Most of the new oil will be pumped from CNPC-operated oilfields in its Central Asian neighbour, including the Aktobe field in the northwest and the Kumkol fields that CNPC recently acquired when it bought Canada's Petro-Kazakhstan.

The Kazakh-China pipe-line ends at the Chinese border town of Alashanko in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, from where CNPC has laid a 153-mile pipeline to carry oil to its Dushanzi refinery.

PetroChina's refineries in Xinjiang as well as Lan-zhou, the fuel supply hub in the vast, remote western China region, are expected to raise crude throughout this year to process the increased supply of Kazakh oil.
source GulfNews

More on Dushanzi refinery in Xinjiang

Most of crude oil fed into the Dushanzi factory will be imported through a 1,200- kilometre cross-border pipeline.

This links Atasu in Kazakhstan to Dushanzi, and is China's first major land oil import route.

continues here

Read more on Kazakh-China pipeline(s)

Despite some suggestions, there is virtually no market for imported oil in Xinjiang, which is an oil exporting region with a population of only about 19mn. China’s major consuming markets are all far to the east. China expects to invest $1.2bn in two pipelines running east, with construction set to start simultaneously with the Kazakh project. The first line for crude would stretch some 1,500km from Shanshan in Xinjiang to a refining center in Lanzhou, in north central Gansu province. A second 1,800km line would run from Urumqi to Lanzhou, carrying what officials are calling "finished oil." Each line could handle 10mn tons annually, suggesting that they could be used for later volume increases from Kazakhstan or for Xinjiang’s own product shipments. Plans call for linking the lines to petrochemical complexes in eastern and southwestern China, although no timeframe has been given.

continues here

Friday, April 21, 2006

News from Xinjiang


Jinchuan Group Increases its Equity Interest to 13.5% in GobiMin
GobiMin Inc. (the "Company" or "GobiMin")(TSX VENTURE:GMN) and Jinchuan Group Ltd. ("Jinchuan") of the People's Republic of China are pleased to report that Jinchuan has increased its shareholding in the Company to 7,650,000 common shares ("Common Shares"), representing approximately 13.5% of the total outstanding Common Shares of GobiMin.
Read more here


Aid for China Orphans Lacking
12-year-old Xiao Ming lifted his dirty quilt to uncover a half-filled bag of flour. "Look, I still have food," he said with a smile to a reporter from China Youth Daily. According to the paper's report on April 17, Xiao Ming has lived mostly alone since his parents died three years ago. His two elder brothers have left home to work. Relatives who live about 100 kilometers away visit once in a while. They brought some pies for him on their last visit, but the pies have since gone moldy. The boy gets most of his meals from neighbors.
source here


Unit 731 command center to become ruins park
Harin decides to protect the Unit 731 ruins and build it into a world-famous ruins park of the World War II.

During the World War II, the Japanese Army set up Unit 731, and the Unit 731 ruins was a witness of the largest biological warfare research through human experimentation in world wartime history and the remains of the largest biological warfare command center in world history.
This year, Harbin will focus on renovation of the neighboring regions of the Unit 731 ruins and strive to recover their original appearance in history to enable people to see the ferocious acts of Japanese invaders in China.
The National Development and Reform Commission has allotted 30 million yuan for dismantling two residential buildings on one side of Xinjiang Street, where the Unit 731 ruins is located.
source here

Scientist raises questions over identity of skeleton
A former colleague of Chinese scientist Peng Jiamu says uncertainties still exist about the identity of a skeleton found in Lop Nur Desert where Peng disappeared 26 years ago.
Although the remains revealed many similarities to Peng, a noted biochemist, many questions remained to be answered, said Xia Xuncheng, a former colleague of Peng.
"We can tell from the skeleton's lower jaw that the man had many false teeth, but we're not sure whether Peng had any," said Xia, who is also a Urumqi-based ecologist and geographer with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
source here

Muslim Xinjiang


Throughout China's vast Xinjiang (Sinkiang) region, the muezzin's call to prayer echoes in such desert oases as Kashi (Kashgar), Aksu, Kuga (Kucha), Hami, Turpan and Hotan (Khoton). Mosques too are well filled in the cities of the Gansu Corridor, (Kansu), once vital links in the old Silk Road between China and the West, while, in the walled city of Xian, Chinese guides respectfully detain tourists at the main gate of the much-visited Great Mosque until the numerous faithful finish one of the five daily prayer sessions.

Imam Dawud Shi Kunbin also says that "more and more" people - over 1,000 in 1983 - are making the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah, despite normally severe restrictions on overseas travel for individual Chinese. He also reports a new influx of young men into the Islamic studies. At the Lanzhou madrasa, last summer, for example, all 20 places were filled, and at an Islamic college attached to Beijing's Dong Si mosque another 17 high school graduates were studying to be imams.

Muslims have also gained a measure of toleration from other religious practices. In areas where Muslims are a majority, the breeding of pigs by non-Muslims is forbidden in deference to Islamic beliefs. Muslim communities are allowed separate cemeteries; Muslim couples may have their marriage consecrated by an imam; and Muslim workers are permitted holidays during major religious festivals.

Recently, even the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party took up the cudgel on behalf of Muslims. Prompted by complaints from Muslim visitors, Renmin Ribao (People's Daily) urged the authorities to solve the problem of "getting a Muslim meal" in Beijing, where, it said, the 240 Muslim restaurants were no longer enough because "more non-Muslim residents are switching from a diet of pork to beef and mutton." The highlight, in fact, of a recent visit by one normally-chopstick-wielding Chinese to the Alpine-like Tian Shan (Celestial Mountains), was a hand-eaten mutton meal shared with Muslim herdsmen.

As well as religious gains, Muslims have also won significant secular concessions from China's Communist rulers; they are, for example, playing an increasingly important role in regional and local administration. In the Xinjiang region, which covers 16 percent of the total land area of China, Muslims now hold a majority of government posts; four of the seven members of the regional government and 26 of the 37 members of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Xinjiang are members of national minorities who mostly practice Islam. In the capital, Imam Dawud Shi Kunbin serves as a member of the Standing Committee of Beijing's Municipal People's Political Consultative Conference, and says "Muslims head all administrations in the street" where mosques are located.

Muslims, most of whom are farmers or herdsmen, seem to be prospering economically too since the Chinese government introduced more liberal agricultural policies and stepped up industrial investment in the under-developed - and relatively autonomous - outlying areas where they live. Capital investment by the central government in such autonomous regions - including the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang region - has totaled about $9.2 billion since 1978, and in 1983, when agricultural production peaked in China, farmers in the autonomous regions produced 39.7 million tons of grain and 180 million head of livestock.

The result of this increased prosperity was clearly visible last summer at Turpan, where Muslim farmers said they earned far more than the average city dweller and the sight of motorcycles parked in the vine shaded courtyards of their walled, mud-brick homes wrung looks of envy from visitors from Beijing.

Culturally too, Muslims seem to have gained more freedom. Newspapers and books, television programs and films are being printed and produced in their own languages; the Xinjiang Daily, for example, is published in Uighur and Kazakh as well as in Chinese. Minority students are able to go to school in their mother tongue and are also allowed to take university entrance examinations in their own language. At the same time, the government is taking special pains to preserve and promote the colorful folk dances and songs of the Muslim minorities of Xinjiang.

Most of these already-practiced privileges were recently confirmed in the "Law of Regional Autonomy for Minority-Nationalities" adopted by the Sixth National People's Congress. The law stipulates that the administrative head of an autonomous region, prefecture or county -previously a member of the majority Han Chinese - should be picked from one of the nationalities exercising regional autonomy in the area.

The newly enacted legislation also, allows autonomous areas to develop their economies independently - within the framework of state plans, of course - and formulate their own laws according to the characteristics and needs of their locality. It also gives all minorities the freedom to use their own spoken and written languages, develop their own culture and education, and practice their own religion.

Such policies represent a dramatic reversal since the days of the "Great Leap Forward" and the Cultural Revolution, when, for example, the government attempted to dilute the Muslim population of Xinjiang by settling masses of Han Chinese there, and by replacing Muslim leaders.

This turnaround in policies probably reflects a more realistic attitude by China's government towards minorities who may make up no more than 10 percent of the population, but who occupy over 60 percent of the land of China - much of it strategically important and rich in natural resources. Predominantly Muslim Xinjiang, for example, borders the Soviet Union, Mongolia, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan and is rich in minerals, including oil. While Yunnan on the southwest frontier, which has a substantial Muslim population, borders Burma, Laos and Vietnam and has some of China's largest timber reserves. For the government it may seem wiser to keep minorities there happily within the Chinese fold.

This, to be sure, may be a kind of tug-of-war for the hearts and minds of the Muslim minorities, but it cannot be denied that the Chinese Muslims are benefiting; whatever the motives, the new political realism translates into official tolerance. Those who lived through the repressive days of the Cultural Revolution are understandably skeptical about the future. But for the moment, at least, Islam is very much alive among peoples who have managed to practice their faith, sometimes against great odds, since the seventh century.

This article appeared on pages 4-9 of the July/August 1985 print edition of Saudi Aramco World.
source here

News from Xinjiang


Motor Rally.
Plans are underway for a motor rally from Urumqi to Lahore to be held in September this year, according to Hashim Khan, managing director of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation.
Read more here

Many dead in R.T.A. in Aksu Prefecture
A traffic accident has killed seven people and seriously injured another two Thursday afternoon in the Aksu Prefecture of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, local traffic authorities said on Friday.
The accident took place at about 1 p.m. on a highway in Aksu, when three motor vehicles collided each other, killing four people on the spot.

Another three people died on the way to a local hospital. The collision also left two passengers seriously injured, according to local traffic authorities.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.
source here

China wants the Uighurs of Guantanamo

The Chinese foreign ministry has called on the US government to repatriate Uighur prisoners held in its Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

"We hope the American side would repatriate the terrorists of the Chinese citizens,"
said Qin Qang, a foreign ministry spokesman, on Thursday.

"Terrorism is the enemy of humankind. East Turkestan is a part of the international terrorist force and casts a serious threat to international societies including China and the US."

US officials say they cannot send Uighur prisoners back to China because it is likely they will be tortured or killed.
source here

Cross your fingers if you’re an Uighur
Joseph K. in The Trial could not have found himself in a more terrifyingly ludicrous situation. But while the protagonist in Kafka’s novel never gets to know why he was picked up one day by mysterious officials and arrested, Abu Bakker Qassim and A’del al-Hakim at least know why they have been held captive since June 2002: they were mistaken to be enemy combatants on Pakistan. Muslim names, picked up from the Pakistan-Afghan border and mistaken for enemy combatants? Now, how far can the US War Against Terror be from this story? Not far, considering the two hapless Uighurs — ethnically Turkic Muslims mainly from China’s Xinjiang province — are stuck between a rock and a hard place in a spot called Guantanamo Bay.

Mistaking Uighurs roaming around in Pakistan with ‘suspicious’ names is not half as bad as not letting them go despite there being no charges against them. The bizarre climax is that the US administration can’t let them return to Xinjiang because they are touchingly ‘fearful’ that the two will (also) be persecuted by Chinese authorities — who incidentally like ‘funny sounding’ names even less than the Americans.

So what about letting them stay on in the land of milk and honey? No siree, no can do for security/immigration reasons (read: ‘funny sounding’ names from that part of the world). So any takers for Mr Qassim and Mr al-Hakim, two men waiting in limbo who can neither go back home nor ‘legally’ be held in the happy home-halfway house that is Guantanamo Bay? Surely, some sense of camaraderie and courtesy is forthcoming from their Muslim brethren from any of the many Islamic States? Did someone say the blighted Uighurs had been picked up from Pakistan? Hmm...
source here