10 November 2004
Transcript of the speech of Mr. Erkin Alptekin, President of the World Uyghur Congress and former UNPO General Secretary

Is Europe Condemning Freedom in China

Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, on behalf of the Allied Committee of the Peoples of Eastern Turkestan, Tibet and Mongolia, and on behalf of UNPO (Unrepresentative Nations and Peoples Organization) I would like to express my deep sorrow of the passing away of his Majesty the Royal Prince Bernhard. I would like to extend my deep condolences to Her Majesty the Queen, the members of the entire royal family and the Dutch people.

With this opportunity, once again, I would also like to condemn the barbaric assassination of the Dutch film producer the late Mr. Theo van Gogh there is no doubt that the culprit will be brought to justice and punished accordingly.

Ladies and gentlemen

The Uyghurs, the Tibetans, the Chinese dissidents and the devoted Tibet Support Groups have gathered here to appeal to the EU and its member states not to lift the weapons sales embargo on China. Because an end to the embargo cannot be justified without significant improvement of human rights in China in general.

China's view on human rights is most paradoxical. A communist country, which preaches the universal validity of Marxist principles, yet hypocritically rejects principles intended to protect workers exploited in prison camps, to uphold the rights-of homegrown dissidents-and the aspirations, of Uyghurs, Tibetans and the Inner Mongols.

Today, respect for human rights set aside, the Chinese authorities are arresting, torturing and even executing Uyghurs, Tibetans and Inner Mongols who demand only to live with dignity.

As we all know, the arms embargo was imposed upon China as a response to the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989. At that time the Chinese leaders did not hesitate to use their tanks, armored vehicles and modern weaponry, mostly obtained from Western countries, to crush the peaceful student demonstration at the Tiananmen Square.

Since then, the Chinese leaders never stopped using these weaponries against the Tibetans, Inner Mongols and the Uyghurs. For instance, the Chinese leaders used tanks, armored vehicles and helicopters to crush a peaceful Uyghur student demonstration in the city Ily, on February 5, 1997. During that attack, 400 Uyghur students and 2000 were injured.

Since then, throughout the country, extraordinary measures were taken to suppress the Uyghurs at every opportunity. Almost 200,000 “antiriot squad” Special Forces furnished with modern weapons have been dispatched from Lanzhou Military District to Eastern Turkestan. Security forces in major cities, countries and township have been doubled. In order to maneuver is being held in major city in Eastern Turkestan.

The Chinese authorities, who have suddenly discovered "terrorism" in Eastern Turkestan after September 11, 2001, have staged a worldwide campaign to brand Uyghurs as terrorists. Since then, authorities have arrested more than 3000 Uyghurs. Arrested Uyghurs have become a target of inhumane torture. Until now more than 200 Uyghurs have been executed.

Despite the warnings of President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Madame Mary Robinson, the former Chief Commissioner of the UN Human Rights Commission and many other international organizations, the Chinese authorities are continuing to use the war against the international terrorism as an excuse to persecute, arrest, torture and execute not only Uyghurs, but also Tibetans and the Chinese dissidents.

For instance, on January 2003, Mr. Lobsang Dhondup, a 28 year old Tibetan young man, was executed by the Chinese authorities on terrorism charges. For the first time China has also sentenced Mr. Wang Bingzhang, an ethnic Chinese, dissident, to life for allegedly plotting to blow up the Chinese embassy in Thailand as well as roads and bridges in China itself. Now we are all under great fear that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a well-known and much respected Tibetan Buddhist Lama could be executed any minute.

The EU will certainly give the wrong message to the Chinese leadership if they would decide to end the arms sales embargo to China under these circumstances.

In the recent past, the United States has accused China of providing sensitive arms technologies to North Korea, Iran, Libya and Pakistan. There is no guarantee that China will not proliferate the weapons technology, which they will obtain from the EU countries.

At every opportunity, China is threatening to use its military might against the Taiwan. Taiwan is a leading democratic country in that region. Lifting the arms sales embargo will endanger the existence of Taiwan.

On November 17, 2004, European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining the embargo, arguing that China must take "concrete steps with the view to improving the human rights situation in China".

In brief, I humbly call upon the European Union and its member states to maintain the embargo until significant improvement is made in the People's Republic of China as a whole.

Thank you.