The exiled Uyghur leader sees through Beijing’s charges of terrorism in Hotan clashes two days ago and demands China cease arbitrary arrests and torture. Meanwhile, Uyghur sources speak of at least 20 dead and 70 arrested.
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Tension in Hotan, Xinjiang, remains high after the clashes between police and protesters on July 19. The World Uyghur Congress reports that there were at least 20 Uyghurs killed (14 crushed to death and 6 killed by gun shots) and 70 arrested. Rebiya Kadeer, leader of the Congress, responding to China’s accusations states that the real terrorists are the Chinese leaders.
The massive police presence is visible only at the Nuerbage police station, site of the clashes, and around some government offices. Beijing insists that it was a terrorist attack, by assailants armed with knives, axes and Molotov cocktails praising "Allah the one God" and invoking "holy war", brandishing banners with extremist slogans, with 18 deaths (14 protesters, 2 policemen and 2 civilians) and 4 terrorists arrested. The head of the local police station Abulaiti Maitiniyazi claims the attackers were almost all from out of town.
But the Congress reports that the police opened fire on unarmed peaceful protesters who then reacted and they accused the police of premeditated killing. It explains that the demonstrators were protesting against an unjust expropriation of their land and demanding news of their relatives who "disappeared" during the ethnic violence of July 2009.
Rebiya Kadeer, Uyghur leaders imprisoned in China for years for crimes of opinion and forced into exile in the United States, denies both the terrorist plot, because of the Uyghurs were armed and asks that "the Chinese government stops this sort of terrorist activity against a peaceful people and respects the culture and national identity of the Uyghurs. " "China - she adds - has no right to talk of 'terrorist attacks', until it allows its citizens freedom of speech and assembly." "Finally, China should cease arbitrary detention, unfair executions and torture in prison."
Kadeer speaks of a region ready to explode, with Beijing, which robs Xinjiang of oil and other natural resources, encouraging the immigration of ethnic Han who occupy positions of power and appling strict control measures, with bans and arrests even against the practice and teaching of the Islamic religion. "The Uyghurs – she concludes, speaking Radio Free Asia - have no rights, no job, no money, so they have nothing to lose."
Ethnic clashes erupted in Xinjiang between the native Uyghurs and Han immigrants, in July 2009, which caused at least 200 deaths. Since then the region has been guarded by police, who often speak of having to act against Islamic extremists, while Uyghur sources speak of systematic abuse.