Wales: Amnesty International bring Chinese human rights activist to the Welsh Assembly

A meeting tomorrow (2 October) at the National Assembly for Wales will hear the harrowing story of a prominent human rights activist from China. Rebiya Kadeer, a businesswoman and representative of the Uighur minority from North West China will relate her personal experience of repression and harassment at the hands of the Chinese authorities.

Alun Davies AM said:

"I am looking forward to hearing what Rebiya Kadeer can tell us about the human rights situation in China and the day to day experience of the Uighur people, a muslim majority based in an area of China which borders Central Europe.

"The Assembly Government's efforts to strengthen cultural and business links with China must be applauded - but it would be wrong to ignore the serious abuses taking place in China. We cannot remain silent while we continue to see detailed reports of the widespread use of the death penalty and torture, and severe restrictions on freedom of expression.

"With less than 12 months until the Beijing Olympics, we must do what we can to ensure that the legacy of the games is a better human rights record in China, and to do that, we need to hear from the people who have experienced the situation first hand ."

Cathy Owens, Programme Director for Wales for Amnesty International said:

"Persecution of the Uighur culture continues in China. Mosques have been closed down, clergy detained, and Uighur books banned and their authors jailed. Freedom of expression and association have been severely restricted and thousands of people imprisoned across the region"

"Rebiya herself spent 5 years in prison, with 2 years in solitary confinement, for the crime of "providing secret information to foreigners" following a trial in which she was not allowed to provide a defence. In fact, she had sent her husband in the USA some newspaper clippings. Since her release following international pressure, her Children's rights have suffered violence and imprisonment."

"I am delighted that Rebiya is visiting Wales for the first time and I look forward to hearing her views about how we can help in the run up to the Olympics to deliver better human rights for the people of China. One of the best ways to bring about positive change in China is through diplomatic pressure from abroad, and by encouraging politicians to raise concerns with the Chinese government."

Ends

Press briefing available.
The meeting will take place at 5.45, Conference Room 2, National Assembly for Wales
For more information contact Cathy Owens on 07738 718638 or cathy.owens@amnesty.org.uk

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