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Beijing Review Exclusive
Special> Focus on Xinjiang> Beijing Review Exclusive
UPDATED: August 10, 2009 NO. 32 AUGUST 10, 2009
Family Condemnations
Separatist leader Rebiya Kadeer's family members write to apologize to Urumqi riot victims and ask her to stop the violence

"We feel sorry for the victims and their families. You must still be feeling deep sorrow for losing your loved ones though more than half a month has passed. We can do nothing but apologize. In addition, we hope our Uygur brothers do not believe what our mother (and sister) said. We, from different ethnic groups, should be friends with one another and contribute to creating a stable, beautiful and happy Xinjiang," they wrote.

A broken family

Kadeer had six children with ex-husband Abdurehim. They divorced in 1977, when all the children were still young. Khahar, the eldest, was 13 years old, while the youngest, Alim, was only eight months old.

"My memories of my mother are blank before the age of 17," said Alim, 33.

After graduating from medical school in 1999, he began to run his mother's company, which later came under investigation for tax evasion. Alim was put in jail in 2007 for evading taxes of more than 7 million yuan ($1.02 million).

"When the company was investigated, my mother called me from abroad and told me that I could go into the street to demonstrate and set myself on fire with gasoline so as to threaten the government," said Alim, who learned about the July 5 riot through media reports. He could not understand how a mother could teach her son to do that, he said.

"She might not know how many people died, how many were injured and how badly the city was affected," said Khahar. "What should we do as her children?"

A letter to Rebiya signed by 12 of her family members voiced anger over her betrayal of promises not to take part in separatist activities and indignity over the riot.

"Because of you, so many innocent people lost their lives in Urumqi on July 5, and so many houses, shops and vehicles were burned or damaged," they wrote. "Harmony and unity among ethnic groups were undermined."

"Please think about our happiness and that of your grandchildren," they said. "Don't destroy the stable and happy life in Xinjiang. Don't follow the provocations from some people in other countries."

They also wrote that the local government did not harass them because of their relationship with her. "The government treats us very nicely. We are often told, 'Your mother is responsible for things she did. It has nothing to do with you.'"

Her daughter, Roxingul, who has been working in a local school for more than 20 years, said she "gets along very well" with others, though many know Kadeer is her mother. "At first I was afraid people would hate me very much," she said.

"She is my mother. It is not good to say things bad about her. But we just hope she can pull herself out of these (separatist) activities," said Khahar. "Maybe she will listen to advice from her children."

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