Total incoherence on Uyghurs by mattsteinglass
May 20, 2009, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Afghanistan, China, Terrorism

I’ve been reading Hilzoy’s series on the Uyghurs. Madness.

I mean, look. Here’s what Republican President George W. Bush had to say about a Uyghur rights activist in June, 2007.

“Another dissident I will meet with here is Rebiya Kadeer, whose sons have been jailed in what we believe is an act of retaliation for her human rights activities. The talent of men and women like Rebiya is the greatest resource of their nations- far more valuable than the weapons of their army or oil under the ground. So America calls on every nation that stifles dissent to end its repression, trust its people and grant its citizens the freedom they deserve.” 

Here’s what Republican Congressman Chris Smith had to say about Uyghur rights activists in September, 2007.

“At turning points in history…one honest and courageous man or woman often comes to represent the entire people in the eyes of the world…. For the Uyghur people, deprived of their religious freedom, robbed of their cultural and linguistic rights and marginalized in their own homeland by the government-organized Han Chinese migration, it is Rebiya Kadeer.”

And here is what former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told Fox News’s Chris Wallace in May, 2009 about a bunch of Uyghur rights activists who were mistakenly taken into US custody in Afghanistan seven years ago.

WALLACE: … who were arrested in Afghanistan, brought to this country. The Pentagon says they’re not enemy combatants. At least one federal judge has said they’re not a threat. But if they go back to China, they’re going to be prosecuted.

GINGRICH: Why is that our problem? I mean, why — what — if the — if the — what — what is it — why are we protecting these guys? Why does it become an American problem?

What on earth is going through these guys’ heads? They want to send ethnic minority rights activists back to China because China calls them terrorists? Maybe after that we can start sending all the Vietnamese boat people back to Vietnam? And then the Soviet Jews back to Russia? Why not get it all over with and send the Pilgrims back to England? Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free — no, on second thought, take ’em back and throw ’em in prison, it’s not America’s problem?


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