PRESS RELEASE -
Washington, D.C., July 14, 2009 – Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer, in an exclusive Voice of America (VOA) interview, urged the international community to pay close attention to the situation in western China where at least 184 people have died in recent ethnic protests.
Kadeer, president of the World Uighur Congress, also said estimates of the number of people killed in fighting between Uighurs and ethnic Han Chinese might be low.
The Congress is an umbrella organization of Uighur exile groups which represents the Uighurs’ interests. The Chinese government claims Kadeer’s group helped stir up recent demonstrations in the city of Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, an allegation Kadeer denies.
In an effort to keep the spotlight on western China, Kadeer said, “If the world paid as much attention to the repression in China’s Xinjiang Province as it paid to the situations in Darfur and Tibet, China would not repeat this type of violence.”
Kadeer has been living in the United States since 2005, following her release from China where she was jailed for six years on charges of “endangering state security.” In 2006, she was elected president of the World Uighur Congress.
The interview was simultaneously translated from Uighur to Turkish and broadcast live on TGRT Haber TV in Turkey during the evening newscast (9:00 p.m. Turkish time). TGRT is a key VOA affiliate in the country.
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