Beijing (AFP) Aug 3, 2009
Two children of exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer have blamed her for deadly ethnic unrest in Xinjiang, Chinese state media said Monday, but a spokesman for her group said their letters were fakes.
It was not possible to immediately ascertain the authenticity of the two letters purportedly from Kadeer's son Khahar and daughter Roxingul, as well as her younger brother Memet, which were widely quoted in the Chinese-language media.
The Chinese government says Kadeer was behind the July 5 violence in Urumqi, capital of the northwest Xinjiang region, which left 197 people dead, most of them Han Chinese killed by angry Uighur mobs. She denies those charges.
"Because of you, many innocent people of all ethnic groups lost their lives in Urumqi on July 5, with huge damage to property, shops and vehicles," the Xinhua news agency said, quoting from the relatives' letter to Kadeer.
"The harmony and unity among ethnic groups were damaged," the letter allegedly said.
Her children and brother held both Kadeer and her World Uighur Congress (WUC) responsible for the unrest in Urumqi, Xinhua said, citing a second letter addressed to the families of those killed.
"Evidence proved the riot was organised by the WUC, led by Rebiya Kadeer, and implemented by a group of separatists within the Chinese borders," they reportedly said.
"Those who committed crimes should take responsibility."
Chinese state television showed an excerpt from one of the alleged letters, written in the Arabic script of the Uighur language.
Xinhua later separately reported that police and security agencies had thwarted five "organised terrorist attacks" on civilians in Xinjiang since the unrest.
The brief report said guns, knives and explosives had been confiscated and a group of suspects arrested but gave few details of the alleged plots.
Dilxat Raxit, a Germany-based spokesman for the WUC, quickly rejected the letters as fakes.
"These letters are forged," he told AFP by telephone.
"The objective of the Chinese government is to limit the international activities of Rebiya," he said.
"I can tell you the letters are forged, because I made some phone calls. For the Chinese government it's an easy task to forge letters."
Phelim Kine, an Asia researcher with New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the style of the letters was suspiciously close to the way the Chinese authorities had described events in Xinjiang on July 5 and afterwards.
"The wording and the way the letters are dispersed might suggest the government has had a hand in the formulation, but we don't really know," he said.
"If they are real and valid they should be part of an ongoing police investigation and it's highly irregular for them to be placed on the platform of a government mouthpiece such as Xinhua for wide dispersion."
Kadeer, a former businesswoman, spent several years in a Chinese jail before leaving for US exile earlier this decade.
Among those of Kadeer's 11 children who remain in China, her son Ablikim Abdiriyim was sentenced in April 2007 to nine years in prison for what Beijing called "secessionist" activities.
Two other sons, Khahar and Alim, were fined in 2006 for alleged tax evasion while Alim was also sentenced to seven years in jail, according to Amnesty International.
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