U.S. officials have said that they will allow up to seven Uighurs from Guantanamo Bay to settle in the United States. The decision is under heat from those within America, as well as from leaders in China. Julian E. Barnes from the Los Angeles Times reports:
The release is a slap in the face to Beijing, which has requested that the Uighur prisoners be repatriated to China to stand trial for separatist activities. In their testimony before the Guantanamo tribunal, the Uighurs admitted that their purpose in going to Afghanistan was to receive military training to fight Chinese rule over Xinjiang.
“If these people are terrorists, they should be punished. If they are not terrorists, the United States should apologize to China for holding them so long and make compensation,” said Zhang Jiadong, an expert in terrorism at Fudan University’s Center for American Studies. Zhang said, however, that he did not expect the Chinese government to retaliate because it was already widely anticipated in Beijing that the United States would not return the Uighurs to China.
“The [Chinese] foreign ministry will criticize the decision, but there is nothing they can do about it. We’re used to the United States being tough with us,” Zhang said.
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