Tue, Jul 07, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Democracy activist condemns attack on Uighur protesters

STAFF WRITER

Uighur democracy activist Wu’er Kaixi (吾爾開希) yesterday condemned China for its crackdown on Uighur demonstrators, which Beijing said left more than 140 people dead.

Wu’er Kaixi, a Uighur who lives in Taiwan, said he was shocked by the death toll, adding that it showed that “China’s crackdown had been severe.”

“The bloody conflict took place during the confrontation between the police and the protesters. In other words, the demonstration had been peaceful before the Chinese government dispatched police officers to where the Uighurs had gathered,” Wu’er Kaixi said.

“There is no way China can blame the conflict on the demonstrators again,” he said.

Wu’er Kaixi said the death toll reported by the Chinese authorities had already reached 129, but warned that numbers given by Beijing were unreliable.

Lizih (栗智), deputy director of the World Uighur Congress, said the conflict on Sunday night had left 140 people dead and 828 people injured.

Wu’er Kaixi said China could be trying to intimidate Uighurs and the rest of the world by publicizing the death toll, adding that the actual number was probably much higher than official reports said. The crackdown was no different from the crackdown at Tiananmen Square two decades ago, he said.

Wu’er Kaixi said the conflict was a result of ethnic conflict between Uighurs and Han Chinese, adding that China’s attempt to label Uighurs as “terrorists” and their demonstrations as “terrorist attacks” would not help resolve the ethnic conflict.

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