News / Asia

    Uighur Leader Accuses China of ‘Systematic Assimilation’

    Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer delivers a speech in front of a East Turkestan flag at the fourth General Assembly of the World Uighur Congress in Tokyo, May 14, 2012.Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer delivers a speech in front of a East Turkestan flag at the fourth General Assembly of the World Uighur Congress in Tokyo, May 14, 2012.
    x
    Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer delivers a speech in front of a East Turkestan flag at the fourth General Assembly of the World Uighur Congress in Tokyo, May 14, 2012.
    Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer delivers a speech in front of a East Turkestan flag at the fourth General Assembly of the World Uighur Congress in Tokyo, May 14, 2012.

    TOKYO - Exiled representatives of the Uighur, an ethnic group that lives mainly in Western China’s province of Xinjiang, are meeting in Japan for their fourth annual conference. The World Uighur Congress, based in Germany, opposes what it calls the Chinese occupation of their land, and the group's gatherings routinely draw criticism from Beijing.

     

    Rebiya Kadeer, leader of the World Uighur Congress, and also known as "the Mother of the Uighur Nation," has been living in exile in the United States since her release from a Chinese prison in 2005.

     

    She joined more than 100 representatives of the ethnic group from more than 20 countries, including the United States, Germany and Australia, to elect new leadership and discuss strategies to engage China over the issue of self-determination.

     

    Kadeer said the Uighurs are facing a threat to their existence because of the Chinese government’s policy of systematic assimilation. She also accuses Chinese authorities of committing extra-judicial killings, economic exploitation, and destroying Uighur values.

     

    The 63-year-old leader said the international community seems more interested in trade with China than in human rights. But she noted that Japan’s support in hosting the general assembly illustrated a growing awareness of the Uighur issue.

     

    In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei criticized Japan for allowing the conference to take place.

     

    Lei said the World Uighur Conference is an outright anti-China, separatist and terrorist organization. He said China is very dissatisfied that Japan has allowed the Uighur conference to convene.

     

    Several members of the Japanese political opposition participated in the opening session and expressed support for the Uighur cause.

     

    Alim Seytoff, vice president and director of the Uighur-American Association, said the political fate of the Uighurs has remained unsettled since 1949, when the Chinese Communists occupied the region known as East Turkestan.

     

    Communist leaders renamed it Xinjiang - or "new territory" - and made it into an autonomous region of China.

     

    Seytoff said that after six decades, autonomy is not a reality. While some Uighurs demand independence or self-determination, others favor negotiating with Beijing.

     

    "We hope there will be some political reforms within China, a recognition of the human rights of the Chinese people, the Uighurs, the Tibetans, that there will be a more moderate government that we can talk [with] about our issues and find a political, peaceful settlement," said Seytoff.

     

    The Uighurs meeting in Tokyo this week also are training members to raise awareness of Uighur issues in their communities and electing new representatives of the ethnic group in exile.

     

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    May 16, 2012 4:26 AM
    Please check the history of Xinjiang:

    Xinjiang was previously known as Xiyu (西域) or Qurighar (غەربىي دىيار), meaning Western Region, under the Han Dynasty, which drove the Xiongnu empire out of the region in 60 BC. This was in an effort to secure the profitable Silk Road.[5] It was known as Huijiang (回疆), meaning "Muslim Frontier," during the Qing Dynasty before becoming the province of Xinjiang, which literally means "New Frontier" or "New Border", in the 1880s.

    From:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xinjiang

    by: AnWang from: Shanghai, China
    May 15, 2012 7:25 AM
    Xinjiang is renamed by the emperor Guangxu of Qing Dynasty in1884. Before that time, the area had been called Xiyu, which means Western Region, since Chinese Han dynasty (about BC 60). It is surprising to see the author asserting that the government of People's Republic of China invaded East Turkestan in 1949, because the noun, East Turkestan, even does not exist in history at that region. China has clear sovereignty in that region for thousands of years before the migration of Uighurs who initially lived as one nomadic minority mainly in Northern and Western areas outside China at AD 300, and then they gradually migrated to and concentrated in the region of Xinjiang located in northern west area of China today. There is no sovereignty of East Turkestan established in history, and so the author please do not make up such joke.

    by: Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 5:34 AM
    The name "Xinjiang" was given during the Qing Dynasty in the century prior to Communist rule, and retained during the Republican era. It's not as if they just came along and said: "Oh, ho! This is new!"

    by: Byron from: china
    May 14, 2012 8:36 PM
    "the Mother of the Uighur Nation", actually, no one admited she is the mother of Uighur. It's a joke. She just is a leader of terrorist

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora