Wednesday, July 29, 2009

China protests over Uighur tour !

Mrs Kadeer holds up her hands as journalists approach with microphones at Narita airport in Tokyo on Tuesday
Mrs Kadeer's tour, and the publicity it has received, has angered China

China has complained to Australia about the forthcoming visit of exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, officials say.

Mrs Kadeer is to attend a film festival in Melbourne next week, and will give a televised speech.

Meanwhile, China summoned Japan's ambassador in Beijing to protest about Mrs Kadeer's visit to Tokyo, where she has met members of the governing party.

China accuses the World Uighur Congress leader of inciting ethnic violence this month that left nearly 200 people dead.

Mrs Kadeer, 62, who lives in exile in the US, denies the allegation.

An Australian official said China had made repeated representations about Mrs Kadeer's visit, and that it had been discussed in both Canberra and Beijing.

In Australia, Mrs Kadeer is to attend the Melbourne International Film Festival, which is screening a documentary about her life, 10 Conditions of Love, on 8 August.

The festival's director, Richard Moore, says a Chinese official had urged him to withdraw the film.

And he told ABC radio that someone had hacked in to the festival's website.

"This little Chinese flag sort of popped up and went ding-da-ding-ding-ding and there was a message on it that said basically they objected to the presence of this film.

"They were a concerned Chinese citizen and Rebiya Kadeer was a terrorist."

A supporter of the Uighur cause holds up a large fan with the slogan "Free Uighur" at Narita airport in Tokyo, 28 July
Mrs Kadeer's supporters greeted her on her arrival in Japan on Tuesday

On Wednesday, the Chinese foreign ministry said it had summoned Tokyo's ambassador to demand that the Japanese government "take effective action to stop her anti-China, splittist activities in Japan", Reuters news agency reports.

Earlier in the day, Mrs Kadeer had met members of Japan's governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) at the party's headquarters.

She told the Kyodo news agency: "I received the impression that they will not accept China's continued oppression of the Uighurs."

At a news conference, she said that "nearly 10,000 people" disappeared in one night in the city of Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region.

"If they are dead, where are their bodies? If they are detained, where are they?"

She was alluding to violence which broke out in Urumqi on 5 July, between the Uighurs and the Han Chinese. The clashes continued for several days.

Other sources put the number of those detained in Urumqi at 1,400.

Japan says it does not expect Mrs Kadeer's visit to affect its relations with China.

A spokesman said she was invited by civil society organisations rather than the government.

Mrs Kadeer says she came to Japan to tell people about what she described as the terrible conditions being endured by the Uighur minority in north-west China.

Many Uighurs there resent the influx of Han Chinese immigrants. They feel economic growth has bypassed them and complain of discrimination and diminished opportunities.

BBC NEWS REPORT.

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