Date: Wednesday, 27-July-2005
Erkin Alptekin, recently elected as President of the World Uyghur
Congress, visits the United States.
VOA | By Stephanie Ho
June 30, 2004
Washington-A new Uyghur
exile leader says he hopes his message of non-violent resistance to Chinese rule in his homeland, in the far northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang, will unite his fellow uyghurs, both inside and outside the country. His message contrasts with another international image that has gained prominence in recent years of China's Muslim uyghurs as prone to violence.
In April, Uyghur
delegates from 13 different countries attended a meeting in Germany. As a result, two groups merged to form the World Uyghur Congress
to champion non-violence as a way to deal with the Chinese government.
Louisa Coan Greve, senior Asia program officer at the National Endowment for Democracy, praised the move. "The ability of the groups to come together in Munich for the creation of the World Uyghur
Congress, I think, should be taken seriously," she said. "Obviously, it's [in its] early days yet, but I think it's a great accomplishment."
uyghurs call their homeland Eastern Turkestan, which is better known as the Chinese region of Xinjiang. About eight million live inside China, with about one million ethnic uyghurs living mostly in Central Asia, Saudi Arabia, Europe and the United States.