Just ahead of Thursday’s meeting between U.S. President Barack Obamaand Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Beijing is protesting a U.S. decision to allow one of his state’s highest-profile victims into the country, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake and Josh Rogin report:
At issue is an award ceremony. On Wednesday, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington presented an honor to Dolkun Isa, the head of the World Uighur Congress, for his work advocating the rights of the millions of Muslim Uighurs living in western China.
Indeed, Isa has been exiled from China since the mid-1990s. Since helping found the World Uighur Congress in 2006, Isa has been a consistent advocate for nonviolent resistance…..Isa was a student democracy activist at Xinjiang University before he was expelled in 1988. He then began distributing Uighur history books to Uighurs deprived of learning about their culture in Chinese communist schools. For this he was exiled to Turkey and later received asylum in Germany.
“The Chinese government calls me a terrorist because I was a student protest leader,” he told us.
“I believe in the freedom of the Uighurs and this is why they have tried to stop all of our leaders from obtaining an international platform,” he told us. “China has succeeded in the past, but recently more countries understand who I am.”
His World Uighur Congress receives about 40 percent of its budget from the National Endowment for Democracy, an independent U.S. organization funded by Congress and not known for its sponsorship of terrorism, Lake and Rogin add.