European Parliament Assessing the Impact of Nuclear Testing in Xinjiang
  • Fri, 03/02/2012 - 20:26

Created: 2012-03-02:03.58

Human rights organizations and members of the European Parliament raised the issue of atomic tests at a conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

Forty-six nuclear explosions were conducted in Xinjiang - an autonomous region of China - from 1964 to 1996 and their effects on the local population are unknown to this day.

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[Dr. Enver Tohti, Uighur Surgeon and Independent Researcher]:

“Chinese government has carried out 46 nuclear explosions in the Lop Nor area. Actually it wasn't, it was much in the northwest and very close to residential areas. Only 120 kilometers away from Turpan, for example. Because of this secrecy, probably we will never find out exactly how many people died.”
These 46 tests - 23 conducted in the atmosphere and 23 conducted underground - are the largest series of nuclear tests conducted in a populated area. The three biggest of these 46 tests generated much more radioactivity than the Chernobyl disaster.
Between 1997 and 1998, the number of cancer patients in the regional hospital of Xinjiang dramatically increased from 500 to about 2,000.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Most of the people in the region are too poor to access any medical help.
[Antoinette de Jong, Journalist]:

“In the case of China, it seems that there is a lack of even acknowledging that these tests have taken place, that there is a problem, that there is medical data available, suggesting that there is an effect.”
Jun Takada, a Japanese physicist, has calculated that over 1.48 million people have been exposed to contamination over the 32 years that these tests were conducted, not including the estimated 190-thousand people who have died.
What concerns the human rights organizations are not just the consequences, but also the target for these tests.
They were conducted in a region that has been historically mistreated by the Chinese regime.
Xinjiang, with its mostly Uighur population, has been controlled by the Chinese regime since 1949.
Numerous human rights violations have been reported in the region – from suppression of culture and religion to severe mistreatment like torture and even organ harvesting.
Uighurs themselves believe the testing site was chosen deliberately.
[Dr. Enver Tohti, Uighur Surgeon and Independent Researcher]:

“Chinese government wants to protect their own people, and because this land is belonged by Barbarians. So we don't care if barbarians they die or live, so we have been chosen as scapegoats.”
Details and documents of the tragic consequences were presented at the conference.
The members of the European Parliament hope to expose the situation further and give a voice to the victims as a first step to achieving redress.
[Kristiina Ojuland, MEP]:

“One possible way is to raise these issues with the Chinese authorities when we have the summit, between the European Union and China. The other thing very important is, the hearing like we have today, to make people more knowledgeable of what has been happening, what is happening.”
Uighurs themselves continue to call for their rights to be respected and for the international community to pay attention to the problem and help resolve it.
[Dr. Enver Tohti, Uighur Surgeon and Independent Researcher]:

“So our issue should be raised to the United Nations agenda, because twenty million people, you cannot ignore them, you cannot kill them off. We are going to live, we are going to be there. So if you don't address this problem, the problem is only getting worse.”
NTD News, Brussels, Belgium