Deported Uyghur Had Cambodian Visa

A legal visitor in Cambodia was apparently swept up in a mass deportation to China.

Phnom-penh-airport-305.jpg Phnom Penh airport, Aug. 1, 2006.
Photo: Wikipedia

WASHINGTON—One of 20 ethnic Uyghur asylum-seekers deported from Cambodia to China as illegal migrants entered the country legally and on the advice of U.N. refugee officials, Radio Free Asia (RFA) has learned.

Aikebaerjiang Tuniyaz, 27, left China in March 2009 after serving a one-year jail term in Liudawan prison in Urumqi for allegedly “leaking secret information abroad.”

Tuniyaz, born in Aksu and a graduate of Shanghai Jiaotong University, spoke in 2007 with RFA’s Uyghur service about the shooting of a Uyghur man by Chinese security forces in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Tuniyaz entered Thailand in early 2009 and sought asylum through the Bangkok office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), where a staff member suggested he might expedite the process by approaching the UNHCR office in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, instead, he said in an earlier interview.

He obtained a visa through the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok and entered Cambodia legally, he said. Tuniyaz was in Cambodia legally when deadly ethnic rioting erupted in Urumqi on July 5 this year.

The 20 Uyghur Muslims deported Saturday under intense Chinese pressure had fled to Cambodia in search of asylum after witnessing and documenting violent ethnic riots in the restive western Chinese region of Xinjiang this summer that left nearly 200 dead.

They had warned the UNHCR that they feared long jail terms or even the death penalty if they were sent back to China, according to statements obtained by The Associated Press.

A map showing China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Cambodia.
Tuniyaz had been translating for and staying with the group of 21 Uyghurs in Phnom Penh—two are said to have fled—when the group was detained.

Cambodia said it expelled the Uyghurs because they had illegally entered the country. It has since been sharply criticized by Washington, which said the deportations would harm bilateral ties with the United States, though they may have strengthened relations with Beijing.

On Monday, China signed off on more than U.S. $1.2 billion in aid to Cambodia during a visit there by Vice President Xi Jinping. The assistance, including 14 agreements for grants and loans, ranges from help in building roads to repairing Buddhist temples.

More protests

The European Union said Monday it was "deeply concerned" about Cambodia's decision to return the group of Uyghurs to China and urged Beijing to respect the rights of the returnees.

On Tuesday, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak slammed the deportations.

“This is a blatant violation of Cambodia’s obligations under the principle of non-refoulement as stipulated in Article 3 of the U.N. Convention Against Torture,” Nowak said in a statement.

Nowak said that he had reports of “severe torture” in Xinjiang following the unrest and that recent executions there violated “the most basic fair trial guarantees.”

“I am calling on the Chinese authorities to treat the 20 persons humanely upon return in accordance with international standards, to grant access to them in case they are detained and to afford them due process guarantees, if charged with criminal offenses”, he added.

U.N. Independent Expert on Minority Issues Gay McDougall called on Beijing to allow U.N. rights envoys to examine ethnic tensions in Xinjiang after the deadly violence there.

Original reporting by Shohret Hoshur for RFA’s Uyghur service. Uyghur service director: Dolkun Kamberi. Written in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.

Anonymous says:
Dec 23, 2009 11:50 AM

Let me say somethings.Those 20 Uyghers were accused criminals by China government,who defend them as innocents.EU,US,UN only screaming inside their offices,none of them go to get those Uyghers, whereas vice president of China goes straight to Hun Sen with $1.2 billion($1,200,000,000.00)in his hands. 20 Uyghers is 100 times less than Cambodian refugees killed by Thai along the border when the communist Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia,nobody condemn Thai. 2,000,000 Khmer people killed by the communist government,where are UN,US,EU- sleeping? or paving the road for Vietnam to invade Cambodia. Get your .... off the chairs, do like Mr.Xi Jin Ping.

Anonymous says:
Jan 27, 2010 09:43 AM


Anonymous says:
Dec 23, 2009 05:58 PM

The world must impose sanctions on Hun Sen, one eye government by any means. As long as these people in power, people only suffering as a result.

Anonymous says:
Dec 23, 2009 07:27 AM

China now has changed from a developing country to a fast approaching developed country in the region, hence it is prudent on its part to show magnanimity and compassion towards its minorities which shall undoubtably be wise and prudent.

Anonymous says:
Dec 23, 2009 02:25 PM

Where is Hun Sen on this matter? Normally, Hun Sen would bark and bark like a wild dog that missed a meal. He speaks carelessly over other things, but when it comes to his sensitive issues that are relating to China & Vietnam, Hun Sen would not make any comments. He is a chicken_dog.

Anonymous says:
Dec 25, 2009 05:58 AM

I've followed the uyghur story quite along time, I would say, however, I was abit concerned when I heard the news of the 22 uygur refugees landed in Cambodia. How did the story broke? Who did report this Washington Post first? Was there any violation on the UN refugee act, 1980, where it states very specificaly that protect to the identity and privacy of refugees. I would draw a hard line on with Uyghur organizations overseas with the UN and find out who in fact revealed the story to the public?
Shohrat, who is the reporter on this, you should do a bit more research and find who broke the story first. YOu can ask this hard question from your so called leaders including Rabiye or Dulkun Isa, then come back and write such none sense,. thanks!

RFA and voice of america report the same thing as CCTV or Xinhou. The difference is one for so called Chinese, tibat or Uygur decomocracy and other is for Red Chinese. Please ask the hard question and be impartial.

Anonymous says:
Dec 25, 2009 02:40 AM

I feel so sorry for all the deportees because they will definitely face torture and imprisonment. These poor people had
endured enough suffering during the escape and fortunately made it as far as Cambodia and only got returned back to square one. It seems to me that the Phnom Penh government chose to get aide from China instead of granting freedom to the unfortunate people. And this is Hun Sen!

Anonymous says:
Jan 04, 2010 03:38 PM

let talk straight to this case. whaever camodian government had done, because of grand father ho chi minh told to hun xen to do.when north v.c told cambodian government to deport those people back they just followed the boss's commanding. we will sorry to those people. wrong times and wrong place comming. mind about red chines big money too.

Anonymous says:
Dec 23, 2009 06:59 AM

EU and US have deeply concern. What's a hypocrite!!! USA deport thousands of Cambodian Refugees that already did their time in US. Thai will deport 4000 Hmong to Lao. Where is human right ...? o r do they talk about ?

Anonymous says:
Dec 25, 2009 07:48 PM

When things happen to someones especialy evil things which causes by one other,then people jump into it by using their pampus to show off their knowledge. it just like add more fuel into the fire. Why don't we jsut stay calm and study about the causes then start purifying one's mine.

Anonymous says:
Dec 29, 2009 04:51 AM

Dear Mr. Tran, please be informed that we do not edit comments posted to the RFA Web site. We will not publish comments if they are deemed unfit according to RFA's Terms of Use, but otherwise comments are published the way they appear when they are submitted by the reader.

Anonymous says:
Jan 11, 2010 02:00 PM

it seems Cambodia fall in love with Chinese money. They would sell anything they have for money. no worry about their dignity, money first. Stupid Communist Cambodia

Anonymous says:
Dec 23, 2009 06:44 AM

There is a famous proverb in English "Action speaks louder than words". Even if Human Rights agencies including UN, Europe,Asia, and America have been criticizing Chinese government and Cambodia for repatriating the 20 Uyghurs to China and calling China for giving legal and fair judgment and treatment for the 20 Uyghur people, all the summon does not work on China because China keeps its ear and door closed.
Practical action items needs to be created by Human Rights agencies in regard to stop Chinese government killing innocent Uyghur people in Eastern Turkestan.

Anonymous says:
Dec 24, 2009 07:05 PM

Mind you all, it were not the Vietnamese or Cambodian afraid of the Chinese, and also the US and EU. For example ExxonMobil of the US was not daring fight back on a contract they have with Vietnam oil and gas explorations.
Some of these Overseas Vietnamese pretended they can still have kiss buts on the US and EU, really it is not the case anymore.
The Overseas Nguy Vietnamese have always considered as parasites. Bill Clinton said ‘a bunch of Vietnamese coy boys love to play guns’.

Anonymous says:
Dec 24, 2009 12:09 AM

I am very very sorry about these, I would like you all, do not talk about Cambodia, you must talk about the individual. I do not want the government of Hun Yuon to send the 20 uyghurs to back to China, usaully theregime of communist country always torture the innocents . i feel serious pity for them had been sent back to China. You know, my leader is the great stateman of mony and his followers are dollars, they never thougt about the wellfare ofhe people, cost of living,expression of freedom.... This regime is more crucial than i was control of the regime of khmer Rouge in the decades of 1975 -79,That time people were not merely enough food they could walk on the paddies freely but this time even they can not walk near to their fields because there are dogs, carrying weapons in their hands to guard it. i have very big problem due to I raised the past to tell you all.oh may be Angkar lets me free.

Anonymous says:
Dec 23, 2009 07:01 AM

Hun Sen could careless about the international community, as long as its benefits to his region. he refused to extradite wanted fugitive who been convicted of corruption in Thailand. but he even make him as his economic advisor to his region, and still the us and the international continues to donated $ to this government. the Chinese is good in executing person just recently they had executed 17 people. Hun Sen still send them back to China. the US and the International can take harsh action next time they think of given more monies to his Government.

Anonymous says:
Dec 23, 2009 05:49 PM

The world must jointly condemn strongly these inhumane actions of Hun Sen puppet government of China and Hanoi. After forcefully sending these hopeless people back to China for execution and jail. Hun Sen regime got more than one billion dollars gift for this greedy guy, Hunsen and his culprits into their pockets. Cambodian people have nothing to do with these tragedies even they themselves also facing eviction from their own house, their lands plundered by Hunsen and his powerful attendants to sell for Vietnam permanently on the so-called development. Hunsen as well forcibly dispatched Hmong and Khmer Krom people to Vietnam for prosecution and punishment. People around the globe must curse these brutal regimes to ash.

Anonymous says:
Dec 28, 2009 05:36 PM

Mind you all, it were not the Vietnamese or Cambodian afraid of the Chinese, and also the US and EU. For example ExxonMobil of the US was not daring fight back on a contract they have with Vietnam oil and gas explorations. Some of these Overseas Vietnamese pretended they can still have kiss buts on the US and EU. The Overseas Nguy Vietnamese have always considered as parasites. Bill Clinton said ‘a bunch of Vietnamese coy boys love to play guns’.

RFA altered my writing, please NOT!

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