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01-06-06, 22:18
US concerned over China's arrest of exiled Muslim leader's children
Today | Uyghur Related

TodayOnline
Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 1-Jun-2006 10:09 hrs
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The United States has expressed concern that three children of an exiled leader of China's Muslim Uighur minority had been placed under house arrest after being freed from police custody.

The adult children of the exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer were taken into police custody in China's predominantly Muslim Xinjiang region on Monday and released early Tuesday, family members in Washington said.

"We are concerned by reports that although the children of Rebiya Kadeer have been released from detention, they have been placed under house arrest and have not been permitted to make or receive phone calls," a State Department official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We are working to contact the families in Xinjiang directly," the official said, adding that the United States on Tuesday "raised our concerns" with the Chinese government officials on the reported police detention of the trio.

Washington "urged them to release Ms Kadeer's children" and "we will continue to urge that they be allowed to move and act freely," the official said.

Kadeer's two sons, Ablikim and Alim Abdiriyim, and one of her daughters, Rushangul, were held by police reportedly ahead of the arrival of a US congressional team in Xinjiang.

Chinese police on Wednesday denied any knowledge of the detentions.

"We have never heard of this. We know absolutely nothing," said the chief of the propaganda department of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, who refused to give his name.

The trio "were released from lockup and have returned to their families but are under house arrest, with about 10 armed police officers outside each of their houses," Akida Rouzi, Kadeer's daughter, told AFP.

Kadeer 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.

Rushangul has been allowed to use the telephone but her brothers are held incommunicado, Rouzi said.

"Ablikim is not even allowed to leave his room," she said.

Kadeer, who was elected Uyghur American Association president on Monday, urged the Chinese government "to stop harassing my family and relatives in East Turkistan."
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Amnesty International accused Beijing of "blackmail" by intimidating Kadeer's children.

"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.

"It is disturbing that the Chinese have no intention of improving the human rights situation for the Uighur community," he said.
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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. — AFP