Tokyo : World Uyghur Congress's biennial meeting
Uyghurs are facing a struggle for survival in the face of growing repression, exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer said Monday as she launched a biennial meeting of the World Uyghur Congress hosted by Japan against China’s objections."Before, we were fighting for our rights, we were protesting against China's oppression," Kadeer told reporters after the opening of the four-day WUC talks in Tokyo."But now we face a fight for our existence,” said Kadeer, the president of the WUC, a Germany-based group representing Uyghurs worldwide and holding its biennial meeting in Asia for the first time, after previous congresses in Munich and Washington.
Around 120 Uyghur delegates from diaspora communities around the world are participating in the talks, at which they will elect new delegates and discuss Uyghur rights issues.
Kadeer said the WUC would continue its "peaceful struggle" amid growing repression in East Turkestan,where Uyghurs complain they are being marginalized in their own homeland by Chinese development policies that favor Han Chinese.
"The situation is now worse than it was in 2009," when July 5 riots between Uyghurs and Han Chinese in Urumqi prompted a brutal crackdown, she said.
She urged foreign governments to support the rights of Uyghurs,Tibetans and Mongolians.
"Countries around the world that embrace freedom and democracy should cooperate and sternly pressure China,” she said.