Central Asia

2008 Tibetan uprising remembered in Queens

Students for a Free Tibet held a 10-year commemoration of the 2008 Tibetan uprising at a hall n the Queens neighborhood of Astoria, New York City. The 2008 uprising, which began in Lhasa in March, continued for weeks and spread across the Tibetan plateau. It was put down at a cost of some 20 lives, by official Chinese figures. But Tibetan rights groups and the government-in-exile in Dharamshala, India, claim that hundreds were "disappeared" in a subsequent wave of repression, with some 200 presumed killed. Guest of honor at the commemoration was Dhondup Wangchen, producer of the 2008 documentary film Leaving Fear Behind, made in the prelude to the uprising, in which ordinary Tibetans spoke of their feelings about China hosting the Summer Olympics. Wangchen was subsequently arrested, convicted of "subversion," and served six years in prison. Upon his release, he fled Tibet and was granted asylum in the United States. He is shown here with his wife, Lhamo Tso, who waged a campaign for his release. (Photo: Rose Tang)

Central Asia

China: Mongol historian faces ‘separatism’ charges

Respected Mongol historian Lhamjab A. Borjigin was placed under house arrest in Inner Mongolia's Xilingol League to await trial on charges of "national separatism" and "sabotaging national unity." At issue is his self-published book that purports to document the deaths of 30,000 in a campaign of "genocide" against ethnic Mongols during China's Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. Although Lhamjab, 74, is the author of several books on the history of the region, all state-run publishing houses refused to publish this work, and he resorted to taking the risk of self-publishing through an "underground" press. The book became popular, distributed through informal networks in Inner Mongolia. It was also reprinted by a formal publishing house in Mongolia. Lhamjab potentially faces a lengthy prison term. (Photo of traditional Mongol herder via UNPO)

Central Asia

Tibetans clash with police in mine protest

Chinese police used tear-gas and baton charges to disperse Tibetan villagers protesting a mine project in Qinghai's Yulshul Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, following two months of demonstrations at the site. Rsidents said the project at a site called Upper Dechung was undertaken without informing the local inhabitants. Several were hospitalized following the police assault, including a 70-year-old man. There are also concerns for the whereabouts of a delegation of some 50 villagers who went to complain to provincial authorities about the mine, and have not been heard from since. The mine was seeminlgy initiated by private interests with little or no government oversight. "Local people suspect corruption is involved in connection with this joint venture," a source told Radio Free Asia. (Photo: AsiaNews)

Central Asia

China: sweeps, surveillance in police-state Xinjiang

Thousands of Uighurs, members of the indigenous Muslim and Turkic people of China's far-western Xinjiang region, have been detained in "political education camps," while authorities are placing sophisticated facial-recognition technology even in remote villages to enforce restrictions on residents' movements. DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and blood types are being collected from all residents as a part of the surveillance program. The measures come amid a wave of arrests of Uighur community leaders on charges of "religious extremism." (Photo: Mvslim.com)

Central Asia

Tibetan language rights activist goes on trial

Relatives of Tashi Wangchuk waiting outside Yushu Intermediate People's Court in China's Qinghai Province. The trial of the educational rights activist ended with no verdict, and Tashi remains behind bars. He faces charges of "inciting separatism" for speaking to the New York Times about his work to advocate for Tibetan-language education, as guaranteed by China's constitution. Tashi told the Times that the lack of general instruction in the Tibetan language is "destroying our ethnicity's culture." The charge against him, dismissed as "ludicrously unjust" by Amnesty International, carries a 10-year sentence. (Photo: NYT via Phayul)

Central Asia

Anti-terror ‘security state’ in Xinjiang

The Uighur people of China's Xinjiang province are coming under unprecedented surveillance and militarization amid official fears of terrorism in the far-western region.

Central Asia

Russian blogger jailed for protesting Syria war

A Russian court sentenced blogger Alexei Kungurov to two-and-a-half years in prison for "justification of terrorism" over a post criticizing Moscow's military intervention in Syria.

Central Asia

Tibet: climate struggle frontline

Climate change is found to blame for a massive avalanche that killed nine yak-herders in Tibet, as indigenous resistance continues to China's extractive agenda for the region.

Central Asia

ISIS hand seen Kazakhstan attacks

A team of gunmen killed three security officers and two civilians in an attack on ¬†an office of the National Security Committee in Kazakhstan’s commercial capital Almaty.

Central Asia

Protests rock Kazakhstan over land-grabbing

Hundreds have been detained in protests across Kazakhstan over a new government policy to privatize farmlands and open the agricultural sector to foreign capital.