View Full Version : Uighur activist's children 'held'

BBC News
31-05-06, 11:51
Uighur activist's children 'held'
A prominent campaigner for the rights of China's Uighur minority says three of her children have been detained.


Rebiya Kadeer, who moved to the US after being freed from a Chinese prison in 2005, said two sons and a daughter were taken into custody on Monday.

She said they were detained to stop them speaking to a US Congressional team visiting Xinjiang, the region where most of China's Uighurs live.

"I demand the immediate release of my three children," she said.

Ms Kadeer was a successful businesswoman before she fell foul of China's authorities, who jailed her in 2000 for "leaking state secrets".

Ethnically Turkic Muslims, mainly in Xinjiang
Made bid for independent state in 1940s
Sporadic violence in Xinjiang since 1991

Since her release she has been campaigning for the rights of the eight million Uighurs living in China, mainly in the poor western region of Xinjiang.

Although she does not openly campaign for an independent Uighur state, China has accused her of "conspiring with separatists", a charge she denies.

The Uighurs, who are almost all Muslim and look and sound like Turks rather than Han Chinese, enjoyed a brief period of independence in the 1940s, calling their state the Republic of East Turkestan.

Some Uighurs are eager to re-establish an independent Islamic nation, and Xinjiang suffers periodic separatist violence which China is eager to suppress.

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Published: 2006/05/31 06:29:44 GMT