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Q&A with Uighur spiritual leader Rebiya Kadeer

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A: If executions are used, the consequences will be extremely dangerous. It is not in the interest of the Chinese government and the Uighur people. To prevent such an outcome, Obama, the Europeans, and the European parliament should speak.

It is hard to imagine what will happen if China goes ahead with executions. The protest itself shows that Uighurs, who knew the consequences of going on the street, went ahead anyway. Men and women were arrested. Uighur mothers are looking for husbands. Families are looking for sons and daughters. So many have simply disappeared. The Uighur people are trying to stand up.

Q: Like the Dalai Lama in Tibet, you publicly advocate peace and non-violence. Yet Chinese authorities, as with the Dalai Lama, say you are actually directing and masterminding violence behind the scenes.

A: I am not the mastermind. The Chinese government's intent is to divert attention from their own problems, and demonize me by claiming I was the instigator. The Chinese government sees me as a threat. I've been speaking against injustice.

Q: Are you in touch with any Uighur groups that advocate violence?

A: I have no connection whatsoever with any violent groups. I am against all violence.

Q: Do you believe that the region China calls Xinjiang should be called East Turkestan?

A: Yes, it should be called East Turkestan. That is its historical name. Xinjing means 'new territories' and that is an insult to the people who have always lived there. Even the Chinese call it the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region. The Uighurs were there.

Q: Under the Chinese constitution, and even in the name of the province, Xinjiang is described as autonomous, as is Tibet. Is Urumqi governed by rules of autonomy?

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