In a statement 13. September 2006, The Uyghur American Association (UAA), which represents the collective voice of the Uyghur people in the United States of America, expresses delight by the recent news that its current president, Ms. Rebiya Kadeer, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Rebiya Kadeer was awarded the Rafto Prize in 2004. (21-SEP-2006)
Source: Uyghur American Association (UAA)
The nomination for the Nobel Prize was made by Swedish parliamentarian Annelie Enochson, who stated “Rebiya Kadeer champions the rights of western China’s Uyghur ethnic group and is one of China’s most prominent advocates of women´s rights.” Referring to Ms. Kadeer’s successful business and political career when she was still in East Turkistan (designated as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by the Chinese government), Ms. Enochson added: “Kadeer has also used her resources as founder and director of a large trading company in northwestern the People´s Republic of China to provide fellow Uyghurs with training and employment.”
The Chinese government lost no time in condemning the nomination.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Ms. Kadeer was “not qualified” to represent “Chinese Uyghurs” and accused her of being a member of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which has been listed by the US and UN as a terrorist organization.
Ms. Kadeer was in a Chinese prison from 1999 to 2005 and had never heard of ETIM until she arrived in the United States last year.
The Chinese government made a similar accusation against Ms. Kadeer in August 2005, alleging that she was plotting terrorist attacks on official celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Chinese administration of East Turkistan. No supporting or corroborating evidence was ever presented to support the allegation.
“I am honored to have been nominated for such a prestigious prize,” said Ms. Kadeer. “I view it as a mark of recognition of the plight of all Uyghur people. I am a woman of peace,” she added. “Therefore I oppose all violence and acts of terrorism. I am committed to campaigning peacefully for the human rights of Uyghur people. I will continue to speak out against China’s persecution of not only the Uyghur people, but also Tibetans, Mongolians, and the Chinese people themselves until all of them can enjoy their rights and freedoms.”
Ms. Enochson told reporters that Ms. Kadeer “has shown unparalleled courage in opposing the Chinese authorities’ repressive policies,” and added “Her fight has been like that of Dalai Lama and I know no other person now more worthy of the prize.”