China not happy on prisoner transfer
Guantanamo suspects are en route to Slovakia amid protest
China has opposed the US decision to send the last three Chinese Uygur terrorist suspects imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay to Slovakia, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Thursday, adding that China has always maintained that these terrorist suspects should be handed over to China rather being transferred to a third country.
“China firmly opposes any country accepting those suspects for any reason,” he said.
According to a Pentagon statement on Tuesday, three terrorist suspects — Yusef Abbas, Saidullah Khalik and Hajiakbar Abdul Ghuper — who are members of the Uygur ethnic group, were to be moved from Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba. Slovakia’s interior ministry later confirmed that the central European country would take in the three men.
Qin said the suspects were members of the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which is a small Islamic extremist group based in China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
In 2002, the US designated the group as a supporter of terrorist activity. In the same year, the United Nations added the group to its list of terrorists and terrorist supporters associated with Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network.
“They are genuine terrorists. They not only threaten China’s security, they will threaten the security of the country that receives them,” Qin said in a daily news
US has never changed these double standards, which are also shown in other cases.” LI WEI THE CHINA INSTITUTES OF CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS.
briefing in Beijing.
“China hopes that the relevant country ... does not give asylum to terrorists, and sends them back to China as soon as possible.”
Slovakia, a member state of the European Union, first accepted three Guantanamo prisoners in 2010, and the ministry said the latest transfer is the continuation of an EU-US agreement aimed at helping President Barack Obama close the prison.
The US said it was grateful to Slovakia for its “humanitarian gesture”.
The US has so far failed to condemn terrorist activities by Uygur separatists against civilians in China, drawing widespread criticism for its double standards on the issue.
“The US has never changed these double standards, which are also shown in other cases,” said Li Wei, director of the anti-terrorism research center at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
“If this is not an example of double standards, what is?” said Zhu Zhiqun, professor of political science and international relations at Bucknell University.
“We have no casualties as the arson attack happened during off-work hours,” he said. “But the despicable act caused severe damage to the consulate facilities and poses a threat to the safety of the consulate staff, their family members and the nearby neighborhood.”
Marie Harf, State Department deputy spokeswoman, said on Thursday that after the incident, the State Department had been in immediate contact with the Chinese consulate and the Chinese embassy in Washington
“We take this incident very seriously, and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security is working with the FBI and local authorities to investigate and apprehend the perpetrators,” she said.
“It is so terrible to see such disrespectful behavior,” said Tom Jenkins, a tourist from Oregon who happened to be passing by the site. “Anger should have a better way to express itself.” Zhang Jie, a Chinese lawyer and visiting scholar from Chicago, told China Daily he drove an hour from his hotel to show his support for the consulate.
“I don’t think this arson attack will influence the Sino-US relationship, but the American government must take this incident seriously and find out who committed this crime,” he said. “They must give an answer to the Chinese government.
“As everyone knows, all consulates are protected,” he said. “It is shocking and infuriating that something like this has happened.”
He Konghua, chair of the US Chinese Women Cultural Organization, said the fire was “an extremely serious, malignant, and political offense.” Qidong Zhang in San Francisco and Chen Weihua in Washington contributed to the story.