Rights Group Says China Uses War on Terror to Crack Down on Uighurs

Posted September 12th, 2011 at 12:20 am (UTC-5)
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A minority rights group said Sunday that China has been using the global war on terror to jail thousands of ethnic Muslim Uighurs in the far-western Xinjiang region.

Rebiya Kadeer, president of the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress said Chinese authorities found in 9/11 the perfect excuse to crack down on all forms of peaceful political, social and cultural Uighur dissent.

She said peaceful protests by Uighurs in Xinjiang are often labeled “terrorism,” and that Chinese police have detained thousands of people over the last decade on vague charges of “endangering state security.”

The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking, mainly Muslim ethnic group living in far western China. Beijing accuses some Uighurs of involvement in Islamist terrorism. Chinese officials have also blamed Uighur groups for several violent uprisings in the Xinjiang region.

Uighurs and Han Chinese clashed in ethnic rioting in 2009, resulting in the deaths of 197 people.