March 10, 2008

China fabricated terror plots: Uighur leader in US

China fabricated terror plots: Uighur leader in US

Exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer Monday accused China of fabricating alleged plots against the Olympics, and even of scheming to carry out its own terror attacks, to blacken her community's name.

"It's completely untrue. All these allegations are falsified," Kadeer, who joined her US-based husband in 2005 after six years in a Chinese jail, told AFP through an interpreter.

"The real goal of the Chinese government is to organize a terrorist attack so that it can increase its crackdown on the Uighur people," the 61-year-old head of the Uyghur American Association said.

Wang Lequan, Communist Party chief in the northwestern Xinjiang region, said Sunday that a January raid on "terrorists," which resulted in the deaths of two militants and 15 arrests, had foiled a planned attack directed at the Games.

The alleged plot was the second foiled attack linked to Muslim separatists in Xinjiang, home of the Uighur community, to be announced over the weekend.

Passengers on a China Southern Airlines flight attempted to crash a Chinese airliner on Friday flying to Beijing from Urumqi, capital of the region, an official from the region said on Sunday.

The plane was subsequently diverted to the city of Lanzhou in Gansu province, where "suspicious liquids" were removed, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said.

Kadeer is seeking talks at the White House and the US State Department about the apparent plots, which she insisted were fabricated "to create fear to attract support from the Chinese people and the international community."

"The Uighur people are struggling for their freedom, but the Uighur people will never harm innocent people. Our hearts are kind," she said.

June 11, 2007

Chinese Leave Guantánamo for Albanian Limbo

Chinese Leave Guantánamo for Albanian Limbo

The men, Muslims from western China’s Uighur ethnic minority, were freed from their confinement in Cuba after they were found to pose no threat to the United States. They have now lived for more than a year in a squalid government refugee center on the grubby outskirts of Tirana, guarded by armed policemen.

The men have been told that they will need to get work to move out of the center, they said, but that they must learn the Albanian language to get work permits. For now, they subsist on free meals heavy with macaroni and rice, and monthly stipends of about $67, which they spend mostly on brief telephone calls to their families. But some of the men have already lost hope of ever seeing their wives and children again.

Many American officials privately describe the Uighurs’ plight as one of the more troubling episodes of the Bush administration’s detention program. The case also provides a view of the remarkable difficulties Washington has encountered in trying to winnow the detainee population at Guantánamo in response to domestic and international criticism.

The refugees in Tirana seem to have little sense of how to influence the global chess game in which they have become involved. They spend most of their days behind the refugee center’s high, cinderblock walls, reading the Koran, studying Albanian and waiting for a turn on the center’s lone desktop computer. They avoid the gravelly soccer field because it reminds them of one they looked out on at Guantánamo.