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Uyghur dissident’s daughter visits Taiwan

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Originally published by The Central News Agency, 18 July 2010

Taipei, July 18 (CNA) The daughter of Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress, said in Taipei Sunday that she is visiting Taiwan to thank Taiwan’s people for their support of the organization’s cause on behalf of her mother.

Raela Tosh told a news conference that her mother, who was barred from visiting Taiwan for three years last year, believes she will be allowed to visit Taiwan some day because it is a free country.

Noting that the Dalai Lama — the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader — has been allowed to visit Taiwan on several occasions, Tosh said her mother believes Taiwan’s government will eventually grant her a visa, too.

Moreover, Tosh said, her mother has already sensed the Taiwanese people’s passionate support for her cause based on their warm response to the documentary “10 Conditions of Love, ” which tells Kadeer’s story and chronicles China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The showing of the controversial documentary in the southern Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung last year triggered strong opposition from Beijing, which has branded Kadeer a terrorist.

Amid misgivings that pro-independence activists in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region and Taiwan might link up and fears of upsetting improving relations with China, Taiwan’s government imposed a three-year ban on visits by Kadeer last year.

During her current visit, Tosh said she will help Taiwanese people understand that the seemingly peaceful scenes seen in Xinjiang are false. “Many true scenarios have been shielded or hidden away, ” she said.

With relations across the Taiwan Strait becoming closer and friendlier, Raela said China should learn from Taiwan in implementing democracy and protecting human rights. Taiwan should also not backpedal to its authoritarian past simply to appease China, she argued.

Raela is visiting Taiwan at the invitation of Gueh Tsiam Hue — a group formerly known as Fight Club and founded by Freddy Lim, lead singer of Taiwan’s death metal rock band Chthonic.

The club said it had extended an invitation to Kadeer to visit Taiwan to mark the first anniversary of China’s violent crackdown on Uyghur activists last July. However, Taiwan’s government only granted a visa to her daughter.

During her July 18-20 visit, Raela will attend seminars in Taipei and Kaohsiung. She will meet also local human rights organizations.

Responding to criticism that the government has barred Kadeer’s visit simply for fear of offending China, Premier Wu Den-yih said the Ministry of the Interior issued the entry ban due to the need to protect the country’s national security and interests.

As a sovereign state, Wu said, Taiwan is entitled to control its borders based on the principles of national security and mutual trust among countries around the world.

“I fully support the MOI’s border control measures which are not uncommon in the international community, ” he said. “Some countries that I intended to visit in the past rejected my visa application for certain reasons.” (By Lee Ming-chung, Wang Shu-fen and Sofia Wu) enditem/ls