x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

China asks Japan not to host Uighur assembly

China has asked Japan not to host an annual meeting organised by an exile group championing the rights of ethnic Uighurs, a Muslim group from China's far west.

BEIJING // China has asked Japan not to host an annual meeting organised by an exile group championing the rights of ethnic Uighurs, a Muslim group from China's far west.

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) represents the mostly Muslim ethnic group that inhabits China's western Xinjiang region and is holding its general assembly in Tokyo next month.

"We have launched a representation with the Japanese side to take measures to prevent such an organisation from using Japanese territory to engage in activities splitting China," the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said yesterday.

"They [the WUC] carry out activities undermining China's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

The WUC meeting will be held May 14 to 17, when "some hundreds of ethnic Uighurs from around 20 countries will gather in Tokyo to call for the right of self-determination", Ilham Mahmut, the president of Japan Uyghur Association said.

The exiled Uighur leader, Rebiya Kadeer, who is based in the United States, will attend the congress, which will be held for the first time in Asia, he said.