East Turkestan: Nobel Nomination Highlights Uyghur Plight
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ethnic Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer expressed satisfaction on Friday that her nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize had focused global attention on her people's struggle against Chinese oppression and she denied any link to terrorism.
"I'm not a terrorist," Kadeer, 60, said in an interview with Reuters television. "The Chinese government knows that, the international community knows that. And I am opposed to terrorism in all shapes and forms, whether it's being conducted by Chinese, by Uighur, by any person."
The Chinese government has accused the mostly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic Uighurs in northwestern Xinjiang of using violence to agitate for an independent
Kadeer spent five years in prison in
"Today the Chinese government has used the charge of terrorism to persecute and eliminate the Uighur people," Kadeer said through a translator. "All the Chinese charges are false. The international community will soon learn that. And I also believe that I have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because I am not a terrorist, because I am not violent."
Beijing incorporated the mostly Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uighur areas into China in 1949 and has supported large-scale Chinese migration into the region while engaging in a campaign of religious and cultural repression, a Human Rights Watch report last year said.
Kadeer, the president of the Uighur American Association, won the Rafto Prize for human rights in
Kadeer said she believed the Uighurs held by the
"If those Uighurs were still in