Exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer charged Wednesday that nearly 10,000 people "disappeared" in ethnic unrest in China’s northwest this month and expressed disappointment at the U.S. response to the violence.
Kadeer, the U.S.-based head of the World Uighur Congress, said that "the Chinese government is trying to destroy the Uighur people," speaking during a Japan visit that angered the communist government in Beijing.
Speaking through an interpreter and citing local sources, she said "close to 10,000 people in Urumqi disappeared in one night" when authorities cracked down from July 5 on the unrest in the mainly Muslim region of Xinjiang.
"Where did those people go?" she said. "If they died, where did they go?"
Kadeer, 62, claimed that Chinese police used machine guns to randomly shoot Uighur people after dark after the electricity was turned off, and that the following morning large numbers of Uighur men had gone missing.
Beijing accuses the mother-of-11 and grandmother of being a "criminal" and a separatist who instigated the unrest -- which the government says left 197 people dead, most of them Han Chinese killed by angry Uighur mobs.