Nearly 10,000 people are missing after ethnic rioting in China this month, according to the exiled leader of the Uighur community. Rebiya Kadeer made the accusation during a visit to Japan, demanding an international inquiry to shed light on what happened.
The leader of the World Uighur Congress rejects Chinese accusations that she instigated the riots. She claims close to 10,000 people disappeared in one night in the city of Urumqi. Ethnic tension remains high between Xinjiang’s native Uighurs, a largely Muslim people culturally tied to Central Asia and Turkey and Han Chinese, who form the majority of China’s population. Beijing has blamed the violence on separatists. And, during talks with US officials in Washington, China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Guangya denounced what he called a “highly violent terrorist act.” Uighur dissidents are disappointed the US did not take a stronger line with Beijing over what happened. Chinese authorities say 192 people died in the unrest, mostly Han Chinese. But Rebiya Kadeer maintains many Uighurs are unaccounted for.