Rebiya Kadeer: Wikis


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Rebiya Kadeer

United States Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration Ellen Sauerbrey (left) meeting Kadeer (center) and Alim Seytoff, General Secretary of the Uyghur Human Rights Project.
Born 21 January 1947 (1947-01-21) (age 63)
Nationality Chinese
Ethnicity Uyghur
Occupation Businesswoman, political activist
Known for President of the World Uyghur Congress

Rebiya Kadeer (Uyghur: رابىيه قادىر, Rabiye Qadir, pronunciation [ˈrɑbɪjæ ˈqɑdɪr]; Turkish: Rabiye Kadir; simplified Chinese: 热比娅·卡德尔traditional Chinese: 熱比婭·卡德爾pinyin: Rèbǐyǎ Kǎdé'ěr) (born 21 January 1947) is a prominent Uyghur businesswoman and political activist from the northwest region of Xinjiang in the People's Republic of China (PRC). She has been the president of the World Uyghur Congress since November 2006.[1]

Kadeer has been active in defending the rights of the largely Muslim Uyghur minority, who she says has been subject to systematic oppression by the Chinese government.[2] Kadeer is currently living in exile in the United States.


Early life and career

Rebiya Kadeer was born into poverty in the city of Altay, Xinjiang. She married in 1965 and moved to the city of Aksu, Xinjiang. During the Cultural Revolution, she was purged as a class enemy after a clothing business which she ran with her husband was branded as "speculation", resulting in her divorce.[citation needed]

Following her divorce, Kadeer opened a laundromat In 1976. She later remarried in 1981 to Sidik Rouzi, then an associate professor, and moved to Ürümqi. In Ürümqi, Kadeer leased a market in the local business district, converting it into a department store that specialized in Uyghur ethnic costumes. In 1985, Kadeer converted the site again to a 14,000 square meter commercial building.[citation needed]

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kadeer engaged in cross-border trade, accumulating assets which at their peak were worth more than 200 million yuan.[3] She became one of the five richest people in China, and her success earned her the nickname "the millionairess". The trading company she established had businesses operating in China, Russia and Kazakhstan.[citation needed] She has given birth to eleven children.[4] The Akida Industry and Trade Co founded by Kadeer, owns a number of properties in Xinjiang. These include The Akida Trade Center, the adjacent Kadeer Trade Center and the Tuanjie, or Unity, theatre in Ürümqi.[5]

Kadeer was an active philanthropist within the community, most notably through her foundation, 1,000 Families Mothers Project, a charity intended to help Uyghur women start their own local businesses.[3] In 1993, Kadeer was appointed delegate to the eighth session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference,[3] the National People's Congress and was a representative to the UN Fourth World Conference for Women in Beijing in 1995.[6] Kadeer has also been vice chairwoman of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region Federation of Industry and Commerce, and vice chairwoman of the Xinjiang Association of Women Entrepreneurs.

In 1997, Kadeer established the "Thousand Mothers Movement", to promote job training for Uyghur women, as well as evening schools for Uyghurs who did not have chance to go to ordinary school.[7]


Having been a witness to the Gulja Incident in 1997, Kadeer says she failed in her repeated attempts to persuade Beijing that change was needed. Feeling that she had no choice, she openly criticised the government in a speech before parliament, and was promptly removed from the National People's Consultative Conference; authorities revoked her passport.[4] In 1999 she sent newspaper clippings to her exiled husband, Sidik Rouzi, who was living in the United States and who is active in protesting against Chinese policies towards the Uyghur people. Kadeer was detained in August 1999 while on her way to meet a US Congressional Research Service delegation investigating the situation in Xinjiang at the time,[4] and was alleged to be in possession of a list of 10 people "suspected of having a connection with national separatist activities". She was detained by PRC authorities on charges of "leaking state secrets", and was convicted on 10 March 2000 in the Ürümqi Intermediate People's Court, of "endangering state security",[3][8] after sending her husband newspaper clippings on the treatment of the Uyghur community.[9]

Whilst in prison, Kadeer spent two years in solitary confinement, but was not tortured. She speculates that this was because that guards were aware of her international reputation.[4] In 2004, her sentence was reduced by a year based on citations of good behaviour where she was being held.

Release and exile

In 2004 she won the Rafto Prize for human rights.[10] On 14 March 2005, Kadeer was released early, nominally on medical grounds, into United States' custody in advance of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region. The U.S., which had pressured for her release, agreed to drop a resolution against China in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch moderated their criticism somewhat as a consequence.[11] On 17 March, Kadeer flew to the U.S. and joined her family in Washington, D.C. In an interview with Phoenix Television before her departure to the US, she stated that she would remain a citizen of the People's Republic of China, and as a person born in the new China, she would sacrifice her own life for the integrity of China.[12]

In April 2007, one of her sons, Ablikim, was sentenced to 9 years in prison and 3 years deprivation of political rights, reportedly after confessing to charges of "instigating and engaging in secessionist activities." In November 2006 Alim, another of her sons, was sentenced to 7 years in prison and fined $62,500. Qahar Abdurehim, yet another of her sons, was fined $12,500 for tax evasion but not jailed. In June 2006, Alim, Ablikim, and Qahar were officially charged with state security and economic crimes shortly following Kadeer' election as president of the Uighur American Association.[13]

Kadeer stated her belief that all Uyghur organizations fight peacefully.[14] On 5 June 2007, at a conference on democracy and security held in Prague, Kadeer met privately with President George W. Bush, who praised people like her for being "far more valuable than the weapons of their army or oil under the ground."[15] On 17 September 2007, the United States House of Representatives passed by a voice vote House Resolution 497,[16] demanding that the Chinese Government release the imprisoned children of Rebiya Kadeer and Canadian citizen Huseyin Celil, and change its suppressive policy towards the Uyghur people.[17]


July 2009 riots

While the protests that preceded the July 2009 riots were ostensibly a response to the death of two Uighur workers in Guangdong, the Chinese government catapulted Kadeer into the limelight when it claimed the WUC, which she heads, had planned the riots.[18] That said, Taiwan denied a visa to Mrs. Kadeer in Sept 2009, alleging she had links to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, classed as a terrorist organization by the United Nations and USA.[1].

Kadeer has denied that the riots were organised.[19]

On 3 August, Xinhua reported that two of Rebiya Kadeer's children had written letters blaming her for orchestrating the riots. According to Xinhua, they pleaded: "We want a stable and safe life … Please think about the happiness of us and your grandchildren. Don't destroy our happy life here. Don't follow the provocation from some people in other countries."[20] Germany-based spokesman for the WUC rejected the letters as fakes. A Human Rights Watch researcher remarked their style was "suspiciously close" to the way the Chinese authorities had described rioting in Xinjiang and the aftermath. He added that: "'s highly irregular for [her children] to be placed on the platform of a government mouthpiece ... for wide dispersion."[21] CCTV broadcast a video of interviews with the family members of Kadeer on 4 August.[22]

Xinhua announced in early September 2009 that three properties owned by Kadeer's companies, including the Akida Trade Center, where more than 30 members of Kadeer's family were reportedly living, would be torn down due to "cracks in the walls and sunken footings".[5] Local Uighurs said they saw this as an attempt to banish Kadeer's shadow; the Uighur American Association said the demolition may spark a new round of violence.[23]

The 10 Conditions of Love

Director Jeff Daniels shot a documentary film in 2009 about Kadeer, called "The 10 Conditions of Love". It was destined to be screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival. The organisers refused a request from Chinese consulate in Melbourne for the film to be withdrawn and for Kadeer's invitation to the festival to be rescinded. Several Chinese directors pulled out of the event. The festival website was hacked and festival information replaced with the Chinese flag and anti-Kadeer slogans, and booked out all film sessions on the site; a denial-of-service attack forced it to shut down.[24][25] Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said China was "firmly opposed to any foreign country providing her with a stage for her anti-China separatist activities". However, Daniels said it was good that "people were able to see different sides of the story" and criticised the heavy pressure from the Chinese government.[26][27][28]

Australian Federal Labor Member of Parliament, Michael Danby, transmitted a message of support for the screening from 14th Dalai Lama, saying: "...[Kadeer] is another one of the national leaders who is a paradigm of non-violence." Danby said the Dalai Lama, "wanted to make it very clear to people that the claims of this woman being a violent person or instigating violence, is from his point of view, and with all of his authority, wrong."[29]

The documentary was scheduled to be shown at the Kaoshiung Film Festival, Taiwan, in October 2009, but was later rescheduled to September, before the festival due to opposition from the PRC.[30] Wang Yi of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China opposed the film, saying it "beatifies the ethnic separatists" and sends "the wrong signals about terrorism and violence",[31] while the Chinese government warned the Kaoshiung city government not to "stir up trouble".[32] The website for the festival was also hacked.[33][34] It was later announced that the film would be shown at the film festival as originally planned. Premier Wu Den-yih said the government would protect freedom of speech.[35]

University of Oxford Interview

Oxford University interviewed Kadeer, gaining her many American viewers. A video was taken of her in her Washington D.C. office. The interview is in Uyghur, with no bit in English except for names of things or people such as "Chicago", and "Condoleezza Rice". A man, speaking Uyghur, who is presumably an Uyghur, although not specified, asks her questions. The office is large, with a photo of a young Kadeer on the wall, and a Turkic horseman statue is used as her paperweight, expressing how she is not only proud to be Uyghur, but Turkic in general.

A whiteboard has the red dry-erase marker writing, "Monday 2 pm. UHRP mtg. Be there or be {picture of a square}!" However, this is only after about 3–4 minutes of the video showing scenery of New York. Then, when Kadeer finishes the part on her exile, the video briefly shows the area of Washington City near her office.

She then returns into focus, saying "Today I am free". She describes how much help and/or sympathy she receives from Americans of all ethnicities, races, religions, and classes, and expresses gratitude towards all Americans. Many things are revealed in the video,[36] such as how she founded the "1000 mothers' movement", to help working Uyghur mothers be more successful, and profit from their work, and have a chance to educate their children.

She also expressed her desire to help small, young Uyghur children to get an education and be successful schoolchildren. Kadeer said "I didn't know this was not allowed {by the Chinese government}" . She also describes throughout the documentary her experience en route to the US, in which, before leaving, she is located and taken by the Chinese government, placed in a room in the Urumqi city airport, (which she says was usually always busy, but this time very few people were there), put in a plane "full of Chinese officials", flown to Beijing, put in another room, this time in the Beijing airport, and greeted by Chinese officials. One of them tells her she may go to America, but she will not get involved in politics. She responds by telling the man, "Don't worry. I would never do anything to hurt the Chinese people".

The man replies by saying, "Keep your promise". 2 Americans, a man and woman from the local American embassy, come to escort her to the plane, which is bound for Chicago. Kadeer reminisces, "When I saw the Americans, I thought the sun was coming out. My heart was racing". The Chinese official tells the Americans, "Rebiya Kadeer isn't getting involved in politics". The American man replies, "America is a free country. Rebiya Kadeer can be involved in whatever she wants to be". he says the man got so mad she could swear that to her, "He was about to hit me".

The American man and woman stepped in between her and the official, and told her not to worry. They then boarded the plane. She said about the flight, "I was scared until the plane doors closed". According to her, the first thing she said when landing in Chicago was "Freedom for the Uyghur". The video was published to iTunes by Oxford University, and is listed as an iTunes U video. It is in the collection "Forced Migration Online Documentaries".

The release date strangely appears "6/23/18". THe author is listed as "Rebiya Kadeer (Rabiya Kadeer), with "Oxford University" as the provider. The description reads "Rebiya Kadeer (Rabiya Kadeer), Washington DC, USA. Left Xinjiang in 2005 for Washington DC and now is the president of the World Uyghur Congress, the most significant Uighur leader, either in China or abroad, and a hate figure for the Chinese government".[36]

Travel to Palau to visit Uyghur former captives at Guantanamo

Kadeer is scheduled to travel to Palau in November, a new nation in the Pacific Ocean, which offered temporary asylum to twelve of thirteen remaining Uyghur captives in Guantanamo.[37] Six of the twelve men accepted the temporary asylum.


  1. ^ "Leadership of the World Uyghur Congress". Retrieved 10 July 2005. 
  2. ^ "Foreign Policy: Seven questions with Rebiya Kadeer". August 2009.}. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Profile: Rebiya Kadeer". BBC News. 17 March 2005. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d Chu Miniter, Paulette (March 2007). "Taking a Stand for China’s Uighurs". Far Eastern Economic Review. 
  5. ^ a b Chan, Royston (8 September 2009). Reuters. China to demolish Kadeer buildings in restive Urumqi. 
  6. ^ China Frees Rebiya Kadeer. Radio Free Asia. March 17, 2005.
  7. ^ Jailed Uighur Dissident Wins Norwegian Human Rights Award. International Freedom of Expression Exchange. February 9, 2005.
  8. ^ Millward (2007), p. 360.
  9. ^ McGeown, Kate (June 24, 2005). Fighting the cause of China's Uighurs. BBC News.
  10. ^ Esposito; Voll; Bakar (2007), p. 208.
  11. ^ News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International. Amnesty International.
  12. ^ Uyghur Rebiya Kadeer on China. Youtube.
  13. ^ International Religious Freedom Report 2007, US Department of State, 14 September 2007, accessed 28 Sept 2007
  14. ^ "热比娅:中国突袭东突营地令人怀疑" (in Chinese). BBC News. 10 January 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  15. ^ President Bush Visits Prague, Czech Republic, Discusses Freedom. White House. June 5, 2007.
  16. ^ GovTrack: H. Res. 497: Text of Legislation.
  17. ^ House of Representatives calls on the PRC to release Rebiya Kadeer's children and Uyghur-Canadian Hu. ObserveChina. 18 September 2007.
  18. ^ "Civilians and armed police officer killed in NW China violence". Xinhua News. 5 July 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2009. 
  19. ^ Wong, Edward (5 July 2009). "Riots in Western China Amid Ethnic Tension". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 July 2009. 
  20. ^ "China says Uighur leader's family condemn her". The Guardian. 3 August 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  21. ^ AFP (3 August 2009). "Uighur leader's family 'blame her' for unrest: report". MSN. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  22. ^ "Family hopes Kadeer will listen to their appeals". China Central Television. 4 August 2009. 
  23. ^ Martin, Dan (7 September 2009). "Kadeer buildings loom as next Xinjiang flashpoint". AFP. 
  24. ^ Hack attack hits Melbourne Film Festival -
  25. ^ Hackers attack Melbourne Film Festival website -
  26. ^ McGuirk, Rod (26 July 2009). Hackers put China flag on Australian film Web site. Associated Press.
  27. ^ Uighur premiere a sell-out in Australia. Agence France-Presse. 27 July 2009.
  28. ^ Tran, Mark (26 July 2009). Chinese hack Melbourne film festival site to protest at Uighur documentary. The Guardian.
  29. ^ Dalai Lama sends message of support to Kadeer. ABC News.
  30. ^ Chang, Maubo (September 22, 2009). Documentary about Uighur political dissident shown in Kaohsiung. Central News Agency.
  31. ^ Only mainstream opinion welcome on cross-Strait relations: official. Xinhua. 22 September 2009.
  32. ^ Taiwan city screens film about Uighur activist. Jakarta Post. September 22, 2009.
  33. ^ Child, Ben (September 22, 2009). Chinese hackers strike again in protest over Uighur activist film. The Guardian.
  34. ^ Cui (22 September 2009). "Hacker attacks website over Kadeer film". China Daily. 
  35. ^ Documentary on Kadeer will screen at film festival. Taipei Times. 28 September 2009.
  36. ^ a b iTunes: Forced Migrations Online Documentaries- Interview with Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer.
  37. ^ "Uighur leader to visit former Guantanamo detainees". Channel News Asia. 2009-11-05. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 


  • Esposito, John L.; Voll, John Obert; Bakar, Osman (2007). Asian Islam in the 21st Century. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 978-0195333022.
  • Millward, James A. (2007). Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-023113924.

Further reading

  • Kadeer, Rebiya; Cavelius, Alexandra (2008). Die Himmelsstürmerin: Chinas Staatsfeindin NR. 1 erzählt aus ihrem Leben. Heyne. ISBN 978-3453640412.
  • Kadeer, Rebiya; Cavelius, Alexandra (2009). Dragon Fighter: One Woman's Epic Struggle for Peace with China. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0979845611.

External links


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