Uighur Leader Says 10,000 'Disappeared' in China
Exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer said Wednesday that nearly 10,000 people "disappeared in one night" during ethnic unrest in the Chinese city of Urumqi early this month.
"Close to 10,000 people in Urumqi disappeared in one night. Where did those people go?" she said in Japan, speaking in her native language through a translator. "If they died, where did they go?"
Kadeer, 62, the U.S.-based head of the World Uighur Congress, charged that "the Chinese government is trying to destroy the Uighur people. I want to tell the international community about our situation."
Beijing accuses the mother-of-11 of being a "criminal" who instigated the unrest pitting Uighurs against Han Chinese in China's Xinjiang region, which the government says left 197 people dead.
Kadeer charged that "the responsibility lies with the authorities who changed what was a peaceful demonstration into a violent riot."
"For Uighurs, taking part in demonstrations is like committing suicide," she added, speaking at a Tokyo press conference.