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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs