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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation and cultural heritage in Kashgar (Xinjian Uyghur Autonomous Region, China)


with request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure

Marietje Schaake, Niccolò Rinaldi, Marielle De Sarnez, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Edward McMillan-Scott, Kristiina Ojuland on behalf of the ALDE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0168/2011

Procedura : 2011/2614(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the situation and cultural heritage in Kashgar (Xinjian Uyghur Autonomous Region, China)

The European Parliament,

- having regard to previous resolutions on China notably those concerning human rights and minority rights, and in particular those of 26 November 2009 and 24 November 2010,


- having regard to the 13th EU-China Summit in October 2010, Brussels, Belgium, which included the first EU-China High Level Cultural Forum aimed at strengthening the EU-China cultural dialogue and cooperation


- having regard to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, adopted by General Assembly resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992, which stipulates that ‘[s]tates shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories’,


- having regard to Articles 4 and 21 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, which provide, respectively, governmental assistance in the cultural development of regions inhabited by minority nationalities and state protection of valuable cultural monuments and relics,


- having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,


A. Whereas in 2009 Beijing has launched the ‘Kashgar Dangerous House Reform’ in East Turkestan or Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), an urban reconstruction programme which since 2009 progessively destroys the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar with the plan to demolish 85 percent of the traditional town centre, replacing it with modern appartment blocks, and converting the remaining old parts of the city into propaganda stigmatised tourism sites;


B. Whereas Beijing continues to exclude the city of Kashgar from bids for UNESCO world heritage status such as the planned transnational application to achieve protection of several cultural sites on Central Asia’s Silk Road,


C. Whereas the city of Kashgar is an internationally significant site of unique architectural heritage with historical and geographical importance as an ancient centre of trade and tourism


D. Whereas the city of Kashgar retains a highly symbolic value for the cultural identity of the region’s Uyghur population with Turkic origin and China’s cultural diversity,


E. Whereas the reconstruction programme’s official justification of earthquake fortification does not necessitate complete demolition of traditional buildings with other options being culturally sensitive renovation,


F. Whereas Beijing has engaged in similarly destructive housing modernisation in Tibet’s Lhasa, through its ‘Development Plan Lhasa City 2000’, which demolished almost 500 historic buildings and forcibly resettled more than 5000 Tibetans,


G. Whereas Lhasa’s reconstruction served to increase the city’s governmental surveillance and the oppression of peaceful political gatherings through the broadening of streets and the installation of security cameras,


H. Whereas Beijing is continuously implementing repressive ethno cultural policies in East Turkestan, which reached a grim peak during the violent crackdown on Uyghur protesters in 2009’s Urumqi unrest,


I. Whereas many of China’s ethnic and religious minorities including the Uyghurs, Tibetans and Mongolians suffer ongoing violations of their human rights and whereas many are denied adequate political representation and cultural self-determination,


1. Calls on the Chinese government to immediately halt the cultural destruction threatening Kashgar’s architectural survival and to begin an inquiry into culturally-sensitive methods of renovation,


2. Calls on the Chinese government to halt all forced resettlement and social marginalisation of Kashgar’s Uyghur population, which is caused by the destruction of residential areas, and to adequately compensate all victims for the losses suffered,


3. Urges the Chinese government to adhere to its constitutional obligations by adequately supporting Kashgar’s and East Turkestan’s cultural traditions, which are strongly influenced by the Turkic Uyghur identity,


4. Urges the Chinese government to assess the possibility of including the city of Kashgar in the joint application with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for the Silk Road's UNESCO World Heritage designation,


5. Calls on the Chinese government to halt all discriminatory and repressive policies towards its ethnic, religious and linguistic minority populations including the Uyghurs, Tibetans and Mongolians and to respect their fundamental right to freedom of cultural expression,


6. Calls on the European External Action Service to devise additional measures in the context of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, to protect the human and cultural rights of China’s ethnic, religious and linguistic minority groups,


7. Encourages EU Member States and the international community to remain vigilant with respect to China’s domestic policies and their respective regional and international consequences,


8. Calls on EU representatives and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy /Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP) to increase and intensify dialogue on human rights and minority rights with the People’s Republic of China,


9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the HR/VP, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee of the Peoples Republic of China and the Regional Party Standing Committee of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.