Uighur Leader Says China Continues Crackdown on the Uighur Community བོད་སྐད།

Exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer says China continues to crack down on the Uighur community in that country. Kadeer is visiting Japan for the second time since tensions between Uighurs and the dominant Han Chinese group led to violent clashes in China's Xinjiang region a few months ago.

Rebiya Kadeer is in Japan at the invitation of academics, to give lectures on human rights and ethnic minorities.

On Friday, she said she is not an enemy of China. And China is not her enemy. She says the Chinese government is not her enemy either and she urges them to give the Uighurs a peaceful society.

The Chinese government considers Kadeer a separatist and a criminal, blaming her for the violence between Uighurs and the Han Chinese in July. The government says about 200 people were killed and thousands injured in riots in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi.

Kadeer, however, has said that thousands of Uighurs have disappeared in Xinjiang in China's crackdown on the protesters.

She says the Chinese government has tried to move on by showing the media that "every ethnic group is happier in China," and that the government supports the Uighur population.

Kadeer insists the reality is different.

She says 1,500 websites run by Uighurs have been shut down since July and people who ran them have been arrested.

Kadeer also says that thousands of young Uighur women working in Chinese factories are being exploited daily.

Kadeer says she plans to strengthen ties with the Uighur community in Japan. She is hopeful her visits here will increase support for her cause.

She may not get much help from the Japanese government. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has talked at length about strengthening ties with the Chinese government. And no members of his cabinet are expected to meet with her. China's government has protested to Tokyo about her visit.

The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking community whose traditional homeland is Xinjiang, on China's far-western border. They are predominately Muslim. The Uighurs complain of discrimination from the Han Chinese majority and say the government restricts their religious practices.

Beijing denies any discrimination and says that Uighurs and other ethnic minority groups are given benefits not granted to the Han. It says that the World Uighur Congress, a rights group Kadeer heads, is a separatist organization.