August 25, 2005

China accuses high-profile dissident of terror plot

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Thursday accused a
high-profile dissident exiled to the United States of plotting
to sabotage upcoming celebrations marking the 50th anniversary
of the setting up the northwestern autonomous region of

Wang Lequan, the Communist Party secretary of the restive
region, said Rebiya Kadeer, a minority Muslim Uighur
businesswoman freed in March after years in jail, had also
evaded taxes, committed fraud and ran up huge debts.

"She said that once abroad she would never do anything to
damage state interests," Wang said of Kadeer at a news
conference. "But as soon as she went over the border, she broke
her promises."

While abroad, she had conspired with separatists and
religious extremists "about how to plan terror attacks and
jeopardize our 50th anniversary," he added.

The anniversary falls on China's National Day, October 1.

Wang, who sits on the politburo, making him one of China's
24 most powerful leaders, did not elaborate, but said Chinese
authorities had reliable evidence of the plot.

Kadeer was jailed in 1999 on charges of providing state
secrets abroad and released on medical parole. She was not
immediately available for comment.

The U.S.-based rights watchdog Human Rights Watch said in
May police had raided Kadeer's trading business in Xinjiang,
tried to arrest one of her sons and beaten up and detained two
of her associates.

Beijing keeps a tight grip on restive Xinjiang, which
borders Afghanistan, Pakistan, three former Soviet Central Asia
republics, Russia and Mongolia.

Xinjiang, which means "New Frontier," a name given during
the Manchu Qing Dynasty, is considered offensive by many
advocates of independence.

Uighur militants, whom Beijing calls terrorists or
separatists, have been struggling for decades to make the
region an independent state called East Turkestan.

"No country would allow this, so we must take tough
measures," Wang said.

At the news conference, Xinjiang governor Ismail Tiliwaldi
said: "Terrorists are now hated and detested in Xinjiang. They
are like rats run on to the street and everyone is screaming
'smash them!"'