PRESS RELEASE: China – IHRC expresses concern over media coverage of Uyghurs in China

Islamic Human Rights Commission

08 August 2008

PRESS RELEASE: China – IHRC expresses concern over media coverage of Uyghurs in China

With the Olympic ceremonies now underway in Beijing, thus far the media coverage of Uyghurs in China has been quite alarming. When compared to the handling of the case of Tibet, one is at odds coming across any mention of human rights within articles dealing with Uyghur unrest and incidences involving “terror”.

Indeed, given the severe extent of the religious and racial persecution suffered by the ethnic minority group at the hands of the Chinese authorities, it is most disappointing that this receives little to no mention in the media. On the contrary, the media seems to be following China’s lead in branding this severely repressed population as terrorists and separatists on the whole. At the same time, Tibetan demonstrators are given a much different and kinder treatment by the press. It is quite unfortunate and ironic that, with little exception, the media introduce the public to Uyghurs in the context of terror and security.

IHRC researcher Fahad Ansari, in a recent article, commented:

“The dual prism through which Chinese human-rights abuses are viewed is glaringly apparent. Chinese repression in Tibet brings forth the strongest condemnation from the governments and people of the world. Almost identical subjugation in Xinjiang goes unnoticed or is seen as a necessary response to a security threat. Most people have never even heard of the Uyghurs. As the Olympics proceed, it is inevitable that more terrorist plots, real, imagined or fabricated, will be ‘foiled’ by the Chinese authorities. These will be used as pretexts to further oppress a people about whom the rest of the world knows virtually nothing.”

He further mentioned that the plight of these Chinese Muslims needs to be properly publicised “so that the sight of the Chinese authorities putting down demonstrators holding “Free East Turkestan” placards will provoke the international moral outrage at present reserved for pro-Tibet activists.”

For more information please contact the Press Office on (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44) 7958 522196 email[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

[1] Article by Fahad Ansari, entitled The plight of the Uighurs: China’s Muslims suffering as much as the Tibetans, can be found at:

[2] IHRC briefing discussing government programme in China to transfer young Uyghur women from Xinjiang to other parts of China, may be found at:

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