10/19/2009, 00.00
CHINA
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Frankfurt Book Fair should not have honoured China, says Rebiya Kadeer

Exiled Uyghur leader says China did not draw any lesson from the Olympics, continues to violate human rights. According to the Chinese government, she is to blame for fomenting the July unrest.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Exiled Uygur leader Rebiya Kadeer sharply criticised the Frankfurt Book Fair for inviting China as its guest this year, arguing the country should not be honoured given its poor human rights track record.

“It is just not right to welcome a country, where executions are a daily occurrence and human rights are treated with disrespect,” said Kadeer, who has been in exile for the past two years and now leads the World Uyghur Congress.

“Before the Olympic Games, the world was of the opinion China would be forced to respect human rights more as the world turned its attention to the games in China,” she said. “Instead of drawing lessons from that event, the book fair invited China as its guest [. . .] but what happened on July 5 demonstrates how China treats human rights and its citizens”.

She was referring here to the violent unrest that broke out in July and shook China's northwest region of Xinjiang. The ethnic violence that ensued left 200 people dead; thousands more were arrested for involvement in anti-Chinese protests.

China instead blames Kadeer for orchestrating the violence. In an editorial, the People's Daily yesterday accused her and the Germany-based group she heads of using the internet to instigate the deadly riots in Urumqi, and thus of unscrupulously sending people to their death, a charge also made in the much awaited report into the unrest the Chinese government released two days ago.

Following the clashes, Beijing arrested scores of people. So far, 21 have been tried by the people’s courts and 12 have been sentenced to death.

Various NGOs have slammed China’s court system of violating the rights of the accused.

In response, an anonymous mainland legal authority said that trials were “carried out according to our national constitution and law,” adding that judicial “independence is a core part of sovereignty. Foreign governments and organisations have no right to intervene.”

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