U.S.-China Conflict No 2: Gitmo Uighurs

As well as the currency issue there is another early test for U.S.-China relations facing President Barack Obama: where to release the 17 Chinese Uighurs being held in the Guantanamo Bay prison that the new president has ordered to be closed within a year.

Beijing wants them handed over to China to be dealt with under Chinese law. Uighurs make up half the population in predominantly Muslim far western Xinjiang province where Chinese authorities have for years been fighting a low-level war with the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which is alleged to have ties to al-Qaeda and on the U.S.’s list of terrorist organizations.

The 17 Uighurs were originally cleared for release in 2004. Last October a U.S. judge said they should be set free in the U.S. because of fears for their safety if they were sent back to China. That decision was appealed by the Bush administration, which is why they remain in detention. The group is being held in a reduced security part of the prison separate from other prisoners. They were captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and turned over to Pakistani authorities who in turn turned them over the U.S.

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Filed under China-U.S.

One response to “U.S.-China Conflict No 2: Gitmo Uighurs

  1. Pingback: China And The U.S.: The Pressing Issues For The Clinton Visit « China Bystander

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