Rebiya Kadeer meets with President Bush at the White House
  • Wed, 07/30/2008 - 12:00

For immediate release
July 30, 2008, 4:50 pm EST
Contact: Uyghur American Association +1 (202) 349 1496

President George W. Bush poses for a photo at the South Portico entrance to the White House Tuesday, July 29, 2008, with Chinese Human Rights Activists, from left, Ciping Huang, Wei Jingsheng, Sasha Gong, Alim Seytoff, interpreter; Rebiya Kadeer, Harry Wu and Bob Fu, following their meeting at the White House. White House photo by Eric Draper

Yesterday morning at the White House, Uyghur democracy leader Rebiya Kadeer met with President George W. Bush, together with four other human rights leaders, to discuss the human rights situation in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). During the meeting, President Bush expressed his support for Uyghurs’ quest for human rights and democracy, and assured the five activists that he would voice their human rights concerns with PRC officials when he travels to Beijing in just over a week’s time to attend the Olympic Games.

Together with Wei Jingsheng, Bob Fu, Harry Wu, and Dr. Sasha Gong, Ms. Kadeer expressed gratitude for President Bush’s demonstrated commitment to promoting freedom and democratic reform in the PRC. The five activists also spoke about their personal experience as victims of Chinese government persecution, and their efforts to peacefully promote human rights reforms within China.

“I was deeply honored to meet with the President, and to hear his words of support for the Uyghur people on the eve of the Beijing Olympics,” said Ms. Kadeer. “His decision to meet with us at this time will send a powerful message to the Chinese government that it does not have a free hand to commit human rights abuses.”

During the meeting, President Bush specifically expressed concern about the situation of Ms. Kadeer’s sons Alim and Ablikim Abdureyim, who are currently serving lengthy prison sentences in the PRC. He indicated that he would raise their cases with Chinese leaders during his visit to Beijing. Ms. Kadeer expressed her concerns over the Beijing regime’s recent harsh campaign of repression on peaceful Uyghur dissent in the name of anti-terrorism.

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) applauds President Bush for meeting with Ms. Kadeer and the other human rights figures, and for demonstrating his commitment to promoting human rights and democracy in East Turkestan and throughout the PRC.

UAA would also like to thank the members of the U.S. Congress who supported H. Res. 1370, calling on the Chinese government to “immediately end abuses of the human rights of its citizens” and to “cease repression of Tibetan and Uighur citizens.” The resolution passed in the House of Representatives this afternoon. UAA would especially like to thank House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman for sponsoring the bill.

Ms. Kadeer previously met with President Bush in June 2007 in Prague, where he delivered a speech at a conference on democracy and security. During the speech, the President praised Ms. Kadeer as a human rights defender, citing her as an individual who has struggled for freedom, democracy and human rights in the face of tyranny.