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01-06-06, 16:17
Chinese police 'severely' beat exiled Uighur leader's sons: relative

11 minutes ago

Police in China have detained and severely beaten two sons of exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer in the second move against her family this week, a relative in Washington said.

The duo were taken into police custody together with seven other family members in China's predominantly Muslim Xinjiang region on Thursday, according to Kadeer's daughter Akida Rouzi.

"One of my brothers has been taken to hospital and we don't know the condition of the other," said a sobbing Rouzi, reached by telephone.

They were "beaten half to death" in Nansan, a camping site in Urumqi, she said. "We are worried and helpless, everyone is crying. I really wish there was more we could do."

Policemen herded Kadeer's sons, Ablikim, 32, and Alim Abdiriyim, 30, her daughter, Rushangul, 36, and their spouses and children into a truck and took them to the camping site where the beatings took place, Rouzi said.

"While they were beating up my brothers, my sister called me up using a cellphone before the conversation was cut off," she said.

Ablikim, Alim and Rushangul were first thrown into a police lock-up on Monday and placed under house arrest the next day under heavy armed police guard.

Chinese authorities in Xinjiang province on Monday denied any knowledge of the detentions.

But a US State Department official said on Wednesday that Washington "raised our concerns" with the Chinese government officials on the reported police detention of the trio and the subsequent house arrest.

"We are working to contact the families in Xinjiang directly," the official said, urging the Chinese authorities to release Kadeer's children and allow them "to move and act freely," the official said.

Kadeer earlier this week urged the Chinese government "to stop harassing my family and relatives."

The 60-year-old mother of 11 was a millionaire businesswoman and a high-profile Uighur political prisoner who became a symbol of the struggle of her eight-million-strong community.

She was deported to the United States following her release in March last year from six years of detention in Beijing.

Amnesty International said the alleged intimidation of Kadeer's family smacks of "blackmail" by the Chinese authorities.

"This is a blackmail, holding children as hostages to silence Rebiya Kadeer in her attempt to bring democracy and restore human rights in Xinjiang," said T. Kumar, Amnesty's Washington-based Asia Pacific advocacy director.

Uighur Muslims, who maintain a distinct ethnic identity from the Chinese, are seeking their own homeland on territory that is now part of northwestern China.

They have been struggling to re-establish the independent state of East Turkistan in Xinjiang since the province became an autonomous region of China in 1955.

The Chinese government has accused some of them of being terrorists.

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