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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 1995) . . Page.. 1548 ..


I also accept that perhaps the words of the motion could be polished up a bit, but the essence of this motion we support absolutely. In no way does this motion imply any kind of prejudice against French people living in Australia as French citizens.

Mr De Domenico: It does.

MS TUCKER: That is your interpretation of the wording. I can see how you could interpret it that way, but that is not how we choose to interpret it.

Mr De Domenico: Then you should throw the motion out.

MS TUCKER: I think the essence of this motion is so important that if you do not accept this motion because of the wording then you should put an amendment up.

Mrs Carnell: I did. I said what the Government's position is. It is in Hansard.

MS TUCKER: We could have an amendment to this motion if you do not like the wording as it is. The amendments that we have moved to this motion cover China as well as France. That is a very important step. We hear that China is different because China is doing it in its own backyard. That is, in fact, not true at all. I have here a briefing paper which shows quite clearly that the people who live in the region of Lop Nor, where the test site is situated, are an indigenous people who have a similar situation to that of the people who live in Tibet. The Uighurs are the principal inhabitants of the autonomous region around Lop Nor. The status of “autonomous region” is essentially a token concession by Beijing to areas where Han Chinese are not the principal inhabitants. Tibet is likewise an autonomous region; but, as is well known, this has not prevented Beijing from exercising repressive measures there from time to time. Lop Nor - actually the name of a lake - is the name given to the site where the Chinese have conducted their atmospheric and underground nuclear weapons test program. It is in this region that the Uighurs live. The Uighurs are a Turkic people, speaking a language of the same family as modern Turkish, though far removed in development.

It has always been an objective of Chinese policy to control central Asia. To date, grievances have clustered around the devastation of mosques and persecution of religious leaders during the Cultural Revolution, the increasing number of Han people being sent to the area, the control Han people exercise and the employment preference given to Han people, the choosing of Lop Nor as the site for nuclear testing, the building of labour reform camps in the area and the breaking of the promise not to enforce the family planning policy in the area. While many Han Chinese sent to live in this area want to return home, the Chinese leadership has shown no sign of willingness to relinquish control. The Eastern Turkistan Union in Europe claims that many Uighurs are suffering from radiation-linked disease. Despite protests by the Uighurs, including one as recently as May 1995, the Chinese continue to conduct nuclear tests in the region. The 43 nuclear tests at the Lop Nor test site over the last three decades have produced an ecological disaster, with polluted water and food affecting the local population as well as all animal life. The nuclear testing conducted by China is just as important an international issue as the French tests in the South Pacific. We must work together to put an end to this nuclear madness.


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