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Uighurs Deserve World’s Attention, Activist Kadeer Tells VOA

In an exclusive interview on VOA, Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer urged the international community to pay close attention to the situation in western China

Washington, D.C., July 14, 2009 – Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer, in an exclusive Voice of America (VOA) interview, urged the international community to pay close attention to the situation in western China where at least 184 people have died in recent ethnic protests. <!-- IMAGE -->

Kadeer, president of the World Uighur Congress, also said estimates of the number of people killed in fighting between Uighurs and ethnic Han Chinese might be low.

The Congress is an umbrella organization of Uighur exile groups which represents the Uighurs’ interests. The Chinese government claims Kadeer’s group helped stir up recent demonstrations in the city of Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, an allegation Kadeer denies.

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In an effort to keep the spotlight on western China, Kadeer said, “If the world paid as much attention to the repression in China’s Xinjiang Province as it paid to the situations in Darfur and Tibet, China would not repeat this type of violence.”

Kadeer has been living in the United States since 2005, following her release from China where she was jailed for six years on charges of “endangering state security.” In 2006, she was elected president of the World Uighur Congress.

The interview was simultaneously translated from Uighur to Turkish and broadcast live on TGRT Haber TV in Turkey during the evening newscast (9:00 p.m. Turkish time). TGRT is a key VOA affiliate in the country.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

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