- Title: USA: Exiled Uighur leader rejects China riot accusations
- Date: 7th July 2009
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JULY 6, 2009) (REUTERS) UIGHUR BUSINESSWOMAN AND ACTIVIST REBIYA KADEER WALKS TO PODIUM (SOUNDBITE) (Uighur) UIGHUR BUSINESSWOMAN AND ACTIVIST REBIYA KADEER SPEAKING THROUGH A TRANSLATOR IN ENGLISH SAYING "First of all thank you very much for coming and as you already know in two weeks time (ago) some major events that took in relation with the Uighurs and so I feel compelled to come and answer some of the questions to the media and rebut some of the Chinese allegations." MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (Uighur) UIGHUR BUSINESSWOMAN AND ACTIVIST REBIYA KADEER SPEAKING THROUGH A TRANSLATOR IN ENGLISH SAYING "I talked to my brother and I asked him whether he was able to see some of the websites but he was not aware of anything, possibly because of Chinese government censorship of the internet. So a call I made to my brother does not mean I organized the whole event. And the reason the Uighurs took to the streets was sparked by the Guandong incident, which resulted in the killing and beating of Uighurs. And we know for a fact that over the past decade the Chinese authorities have been using aggressive propaganda to demonize the Uighur people as one of the three evils of terrorism, separtism and religious fundamentalism and especially during and after Olympics the Chinese authorities initiates very high pressure strike campaigns, which they call a life and death struggle. And after six decades of Chinese rule the Uighur people, as you may be well aware, do not enjoy any kind of political, religious, economic or cultural freedoms under Chinese rule and so this became an outburst for these Uighurs to go to the streets and peacefully protest. Interestingly, these Uighurs when they took to the streets they were actually holding Chinese flags in order to prove they were not violent as the Chinese government has accused. They were not rioters or separatists." MEDIA KADEER AND TRANSLATOR LEAVE PODIUM
- Embargoed: 22nd July 2009 13:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVAEAF5AOJZG3WPGL9GAACYQNVYE
- Story Text: Rebiya Kadeer, a Uighur businesswoman who has been in exile in the United States since 2005, on Monday (July 6) refuted allegations from Chinese state media that she was responsible for the riots in the Xinjiang region.
"I feel compelled ... to rebut some of the Chinese allegations," she said through an interpreter in Washington. She said she called her brother when she learned of these troubles in the region to warn him to stay away from the demonstrations.
"A call I made to my brother does not mean I organized the whole event," she said.
The Uighur businesswoman, a 62-year-old mother of 11 children, has been in exile in the United States since 2005. She spent years in jail, accused of separatist activities.
Chinese state media quoted unnamed officials as blaming Kadeer's World Uyghur Congress led by Kadeer for the violence.
Hundreds of people have been arrested, the official Xinhua news agency said, after protesters from the Uighur minority took to the streets of the regional capital Urumqi on Sunday, burning and smashing vehicles and shops, and clashing with police.
Kadeer echoed exiled Uighur groups in rejecting the Chinese government claim of a plot. They said the riot was an outpouring of pent-up anger over government policies and Han Chinese economic dominance of Xinjiang, just under half of whose 20 million people are Uighurs.
"They were not violent as the Chinese government has accused. They were not rioters or separatists," she said.
The unrest underscores the volatile ethnic tensions that have accompanied China's growing economic and political stake in its western frontiers.
Along with Tibet, Xinjiang is one of the most politically sensitive regions in China. In both places, the government has sought to maintain its grip by controlling religious and cultural life while promising economic growth and prosperity.
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