Exiled human rights activist urges Norway to boycott 2008 Olympics

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dpa German Press Agency
Published: Thursday November 2, 2006

Oslo- An exiled Chinese human rights activist urged Norway to boycott the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, reports said Thursday. "I hope the Norwegian Olympic Committee will say that it cannot compete in a country where human rights are violated in such a manner," Rebiya Kadeer of the Uighur ethnic minority said in an interview with the regional newspaper Bergens Tidende.

Kadeer was awarded the 2004 Rafto Prize, created in 1986 in memory of outspoken human rights activist Thorolf Rafto, professor at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration in the west coast town of Bergen.

In the 1990s the wealthy businesswoman was active in politics, hoping to bring about reforms by working within the Communist party system.

She was arrested in 1999 after campaigning for the rights of the Uighur ethnic minority, and sentenced to an eight-year jail term but was released on medical grounds in March 2005 and now lives in the United States.

The Uighur, a Muslim minority in northwest China, number some 7.5 million.

"It is no exaggeration to say that in our century, China is the most fascist regime we have," Kadeer was quoted as saying.

Kadeer said Norway was known for its respect for human rights, and she said she could not understand "how you can accept that a country like China is allowed to host the Olympic Games."

Conditions for other minorities including Tibetans and Mongols have also worsened, she said.

Kadeer, 60, has eleven children. She was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency