Beijing slams US NGO award for Uighur dissident

Updated 01 April 2016
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Beijing slams US NGO award for Uighur dissident

BEIJING: China on Friday blasted an award given in the US to an exiled Uighur dissident as a “blasphemy against and a stain upon human rights,” as President Xi Jinping visited Washington.
Xi, who was in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit, met his US counterpart Barack Obama on Thursday amid tensions between the world’s two biggest economies over the South China Sea, cyber security, rights and other issues.
A day earlier the Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) gave Dolkun Isa, an activist from China’s Xinjiang region, an award for “his dedicated human rights advocacy.”
Xinjiang is home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority, many of whom say they face cultural and religious repression, and the area is regularly hit by violence which Beijing blames on Islamist separatists.
“That an organization would give a terrorist like Dolkun with such an extensive criminal record an award is blasphemy against and a stain upon human rights and the rule of law, and also makes a mockery of them,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular briefing Friday.
Isa is now a German citizen and chairman of the Munich-based World Uighur Congress, which advocates for the rights of Chinese Uighurs around the globe.
Hong said he was “a red-level target wanted by Interpol and the Chinese police for his organization and implementation of numerous bombings, robberies, killings and other serious criminal offenses and violent acts,” which Isa denies.
“These accusations are made to discredit my work,” he said, adding that Beijing’s policies had left Uighurs living in “a climate of fear and helplessness.”
“I firmly advocate for a peaceful resolution to the Uighur issue and reject violence, and this threatens China,” he said.
In his acceptance speech Wednesday, Isa acknowledged that the Chinese government saw him as a “terrorist” and had issued a warrant through Interpol for his arrest, leaving him unable to enter countries “vulnerable to Chinese pressure”
VOC executive director Marion Smith hailed Isa as a “proud addition to the ranks of world leaders” in a statement.
According to its mission statement, VOC seeks to “memorialize, educate and document the grim legacy of communism around the world.” On its website, it solicits donations to help “put communism on the ash heap of history.”
Over the past two years, Beijing has carried out a “strike hard” campaign in Xinjiang aimed at stopping unrest that has claimed hundreds of lives. Scores of people have been sentenced to death, while hundreds have been jailed or detained on terror-related offenses.


Drifter charged in stabbing death of champ golfer in Iowa

Updated 18 September 2018
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Drifter charged in stabbing death of champ golfer in Iowa

  • Celia Barquin Arozamena was found in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 50 kilometers north of Des Moines
  • A police dog tracked Barquin’s scent to a temporary camp along a creek near the golf course, where a suspect was apprehended

AMES, Iowa: A homeless man attacked and killed a top amateur golfer from Spain who was playing a round near her university campus in central Iowa, leaving her body in a pond on the course, police said Tuesday.
Collin Daniel Richards, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Celia Barquin Arozamena, a student at Iowa State University.
Barquin was found Monday morning in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Des Moines. Police were called to the golf course around 10:20 a.m. to investigate a possible missing female after golfers found a golf bag with no one around it.
Officers found Barquin’s body some distance from the bag, with several stab wounds to her upper torso, head and neck, according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday against Richards.
A police dog tracked Barquin’s scent to a temporary camp along a creek near the golf course, where Richards had been living in a tent, the complaint said. Officers found Richards with several fresh scratches on his face consistent with fighting, and a deep laceration in his left hand that he tried to conceal, it said.
An acquaintance of Richards told investigators that the suspect had said in recent days that he had “an urge to rape and kill a woman” while they were walking on a trail near the course, the complaint said. A second acquaintance told police that Richards arrived at his home on Monday appearing “disheveled and covered in blood, sand and water.” He bathed and left with his clothes in a backpack.
Investigators later recovered two pairs of shorts with blood stains and a knife that Richards allegedly gave to two other people after the slaying, the complaint said. Those two individuals were driving Richards out of town after the slaying, but he asked them to drop him off near the camp so he could get his tent and that’s when officers arrested him, it said.
Barquin was the 2018 Big 12 champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year. The university said the native of Puente San Miguel, Spain, was finishing her civil engineering degree this semester after exhausting her eligibility at Iowa State in 2017-2018.
She was one of the most accomplished players in Cyclone golf history, the university said. In April, she became the second women’s golfer at Iowa State to earn medalist honors at a conference tournament when claiming the 2018 Big 12 Championship. She did it with a three-shot victory.
Barquin, who was ranked No. 69 nationally by Golfweek, ended her career as a Cyclone with a fourth-straight NCAA Regional appearance and earned All-Big 12 Team honors for the third time — the second player in Iowa State’s history to do so.
She became the third Cyclone women’s golfer to compete in the US Women’s Open Championship, the university said. The team announced Tuesday it was pulling out of the East & West Match Play in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to be with friends and family and to grieve their loss.
Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement on Twitter that she was “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death” of Barquin, describing her as a “dedicated civil engineering student” and an “acclaimed golfer with a bright future.”
Head women’s golf coach Christie Martens said in a release that Barquin was “loved by all her teammates and friends” and was an “outstanding representative of our school.”
“We will never forget her competitive drive to be the best and her passion for life,” Martens said.