Uighur activist calls on Japan to probe riot


Japan must not turn a blind eye to China’s suppression of ethnic minorities and should take the on responsibility of assisting them, the president of the World Uighur Congress said Wednesday.

Rebiya Kadeer, 62, who heads the Uighur rights movement, called on Japan to dispatch an investigative unit to look into the July 5 riot in Urumqi that left nearly 200 dead and 1,800 wounded.

“China has only put forward numbers that work in favor of their government,” the activist said at a news conference in Tokyo, saying at least 10,000 Uighurs have disappeared since the clash.

Kadeer said she was disappointed with the international community for not taking notice of Beijing’s responsibility in the deadly quarrel.

The activist, who arrived Tuesday, said she asked Japanese lawmakers to persuade Beijing to hold talks with her group and release Uighur political prisoners. She also asked the Diet members to push the U.N. to look into the incident.

“If the missing Uighurs are dead, we need to find out where they are buried. If they were arrested, we must know where they are being held captive,” she said.

China, which has expressed its dissatisfaction with Japan for letting Kadeer visit, has accused her of masterminding the Urumqi rioting. She denied the allegations, saying Beijing triggered the conflict by repressing the Uighur minority.

“The event on July 5 was originally a peaceful demonstration,” Kadeer said, and the violence broke out after the Chinese government turned it into a riot.

She insisted that Beijing’s decades-long repression has hit the mostly Muslim community hard, referring to some of China’s policies against the Uighurs as “ethnic cleansing.”

Kadeer, who was a political prisoner for nine years, said her husband and two children were also held for several years behind bars.

“There is an area in Uighur where about 1,000 households reside. You visit there today and there will be no males over 10 years old,” she said, explaining that the central government has pursued a policy of dismantling the ethnic minority.

Tension was in the air after Kadeer arrived for her three-day visit to Tokyo, with the Chinese government criticizing Japan for allowing her entry. Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Kazuo Kodama told reporters Tuesday that Kadeer’s visa was issued based on the usual procedures and that it should not affect bilateral ties with China.

Kadeer resides in Washington in self-imposed exile.

Ambassador called

BEJING (Kyodo) Chinese on Wednesday summoned Japanese Ambassador to Beijing Yuji Miyamoto to the Foreign Ministry and filed a protest over the visit of Uighur rights activist Rebiya Kadeer to Japan.

Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei told Miyamoto that China wants Tokyo to act immediately to prevent Kadeer from conducting anti-China separatist activities during her stay in Japan, according to a diplomat at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing.

Kadeer arrived in Japan on Tuesday on a three-day visit.

Prior to summoning Miyamoto, the Chinese Foreign Ministry had already voiced “strong dissatisfaction” over Kadeer’s visit to the country.

Miyamoto was quoted as telling Wu that issuing a visa to Kadeer was appropriate, in line with Japanese law.

Beijing accuses Kadeer, who is in self-imposed exile in Washington, of masterminding the July 5 riots in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, which left at least 192 people dead and 1,800 others injured in the country’s worst ethnic violence in decades.