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Exiled Uighur leader arrives in Australia -

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Exiled Uighur leader arrives in Australia

Charlotte Glennie reported this story on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 12:42:00

ELEANOR HALL: The exiled Uigher leader Rebiya Kadeer has arrived in Australia in a visit which is
threatening to generate more diplomatic turmoil between Australia and China.

The Chinese Government has accused the Muslim dissident, who is now based in the United States, of
orchestrating last month's deadly riots in China's north-west.

Ms Kadeer has come to Australia as a guest of the Melbourne Film Festival but as Charlotte Glennie
reports, Chinese officials had asked the Australian Government not to provide her with a visa.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: The vast region of Xinjiang in far north-western China is a hotbed of

The riots which erupted there last month exposed the extent of the anger which has simmered against
Chinese rule for decades.

The ethnic people of Xinjiang are Muslims called Uighurs and Rebiya Kadeer is their exiled leader.

Here she is in Sydney speaking through a translator.

(Rebiya Kadeer speaking)

REBIYA KADEER (translated): I would like to express my deepest gratitude for the Australian people
and also Australian Government to grant me a visa to come to Australia, to give me this opportunity
to speak about the plight of my people.

And this time Australia has shown the power of democracy, the power of freedom to give me this
opportunity. And Australia is one of the strong, one of the very strong countries in Asia Pacific
region and this trip is quite unbelievably important for me.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: Ms Kadeer was once lauded as one of China's richest businesswomen but in the
late 1990s she began to get political. She was jailed and when released she fled to the United

(Rebiya Kadeer speaking)

REBIYA KADEER (translated): What I am seeking for is democracy and peace and Australian people are
peace loving people like me; so we have the same message, we have the same goal. That's my main
message that I would like to say and I would like to talk to the people here.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: Rebiya Kadeer is well aware of the controversy surrounding the screening of a
documentary about her at the Melbourne Film Festival.

(Rebiya Kadeer speaking)

REBIYA KADEER (translated): The transparent manifestation of the meddling with the other country's
issues and it's a transparent manifestation of the dictatorship trying to extend into another free
zone or free country.

I don't understand why the Chinese Government so aggressively to sabotage this film festival which
has given me, given the Uighurs a small opportunity to speak about ourselves, speak about our

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: China has labelled Rebiya Kadeer a terrorist. The ruling Communist Party accuses
Ms Kadeer of inciting Xinjiang's ethnic riots last month.

Now according to China's official news agency, Xinhua, Rebiya Kadeer's family back home in Xinjiang
are also blaming her for orchestrating the violence.

REBIYA KADEER (translated): Currently my two children were in prison, in Chinese prison. My son
also was put into prison and my daughter also put in prison. And this time they were forced to
confess, forced to write this letter that would blame me for the unrest in east Turkistan.

And you cannot imagine that suffering that they are undergoing right now. So my children is a
hostage for the Chinese Government to put pressure upon me to stop me from my activities.

The Chinese Government was forced my children to make this confession to say that I would be
person, that I would be the sole agitator for this unrest. If they didn't do that, if they refuse
to cooperate with Chinese Government then their life would be jeopardised and my other grandson and
grand-daughters would be, would face very severe condition.

And finally I could say that in order to live in China you have to lie or you have to learn how to
lie and this is a politically fabricated lie that, and even my children they're duped into
believing that I might be the sole agitator of this unrest. I don't know. I don't know anything
about this.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer ending that report from Charlotte Glennie.