Twofish's Blog

July 21, 2008

Washington Post appears to get executions in Xinjiang wrong

Filed under: china — Tags: — twofish @ 5:34 am

This just came over the CHINALAW list in response to

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/china_law_prof_blog/2008/07/unlawful-execut.html

about this article in the Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/18/AR2008071803356.html

The Washington Post may be confused about what actually happened. There
is this report from Radio Free Asia about two executions that occurred on the date and the location of that
reported in the post.

http://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/terror-07112008120250.html

The article apparent said that the defendants were immediately executed after
trial, and now contains the corrected information.

http://www.thenewdominion.net/212/the-mystery-of-the-time-traveling-executions-uyghur-terrorists-get-not-so-summary-sentences/

talks about this, and contains a translation of Xinhua reports on the
defendants.

There was also a report in the Associated Press on 7/11

http://www.kansascity.com/449/story/702404.html

which also didn’t report that the execution was public, and incorrectly
reported that they were executed immediately after trial. In fact the trial
took place November last year.

Also the World Uyghur Congress held a protest about the executions on 7/12

http://www.uyghurcongress.org/En/events.asp?ItemID=-2091986225

and there is nothing in the press releases or anything else that they have
issued that suggests that the execution was public.

This report was copied on the Irish Times on 7/14

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2008/0714/1215940877391.html

which mentions that the prisoners were led away (although how much it was
copied from RFA is unclear).

And the report didn’t make it to the Washington Post until 7/19

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/18/AR2008071803356.html

From the Radio Free Asia and Irish Times report it appears that there was a
public sentencing and then the defendant were led away to be executed in
private. This is precisely the procedure which is stated in Article 212.

It is possible that the Washington Post has an independent set of witnesses to
a public execution, however if that were the case, I think it would warrant
an entire article rather than a paragraph in an article about the Olympics.
One thing that I find curious is how the reporter for the Washington Post
seems to be quite unaware of what a very serious violation of Chinese law a
public execution would be.

Also the two people that were executed were hardly anonymous. The cases of
Mukhtar Setiwaldi and Abduweli Imin have been extremely high profile within
the Chinese media over the last year. You can google for the Chinese
transliteration of the names Abduwali Yiming (阿不都外力·依明) and Muhataer
Setiwalidi (穆合塔尔·色提瓦力迪).

It is always important to be careful with accusations of criminal activity
since it is very easy to assume what happened based on fragmentary
information that a criminal act occurred when in fact it may not have.

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1 Comment »

  1. Thing is, I don’t trust Radio Free Asia too much. Dick Cheeney’s wife and Condolezza Rice sat on the board and it was founded (though no longer run by) the CIA.

    If ever a media organisation with non-transparent backgrounds and a clear political leaning set out to Astroturf regarding China RFA would be a prime candidate. BTW you may like this photo: http://china.notspecial.org/archives/2008/07/rebiyas_right_s.html

    Comment by Alex — August 1, 2008 @ 3:58 am


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