Rebiya Kadeer, uncrowned leader of the Uyghur minority persecuted in China, says that the Chinese are “psychologically torturing” her children who have openly criticized her human rights campaign.
The Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer has accused the Chinese government of “psychologically torturing” her children, who have written open letters criticizing their mother, and even appeared on national television to accuse her of having instigated Uyghur’s revolt in Urumqi last July.
Speaking with journalists, the Uyghur leader said her daughter Roxingul and her son Alim were forced to accuse her, and bend to the will of Beijing: “The method being used by the Chinese government is perhaps the worst kind of violence against my children! to force them to speak against me … I think that this is a form of dictatorship imposed on them”.
Two days ago, in the early evening the children and the brother of Kadeer appeared on national television news. “The road my mother has chosen leads to a bottomless hole,” said her son Alim, 33, in prison for tax evasion. “With such a strong nation [China], she will fail in her project of separatism.”
A day before the Chinese media gave extensive space to an open letter by her children as they repeated the same accusations that Beijing has laid against Kadeer: of being the cause of the Uyghur revolt in Urumqi and wanting to divide the nation.
The revolts began on July 5, then degenerated into ethnic clashes between Muslim Uyghurs and Chinese Han, which led to the deaths of at least 197 people. China has detained thousands of Uyghurs, but according to Kadeer “in one night” at least 10 thousand people went missing.
“It’s hard for me to imagine what kind of psychological torture they are going through right now,” said the Uyghur leader. “When I was in prison, I was also forced by the Chinese government to say things against my will, in a video posted on a website.”
62 year old Rebiya Kadeer, once a successful businesswoman and member of the Party, fell into disgrace when she began to seek more rights and autonomy for the Uyghur criticizing the government’s policy of colonization. For this she was imprisoned for 5 years. Released in 2005 thanks to international pressure, she now lives in exile in the United States and is a member of the World Uygur Congress.
After a visit to Japan, she has recently arrived in Melbourne to attend the International Film Festival, where a documentary about her life will be shown for the first time.
China initially tried to remove the film from the program, then, faced with a no from organizers, withdrew all Chinese films. In the preceding weeks Beijing also criticized Japan for having given an entry visa to Kadeer and reproached Turkey for having defended the Uyghurs. “China – said the Uyghur leaders – has also put pressure on the United States to curb my activities. I think that because of me, the Chinese government is trying in practice to impose its authoritarianism throughout the world. ”