Uighurs Using Missionary Railway to Flee China

The AP reports on an underground railway network run by Christian missionaries that helps North Koreans flee their country and which is now transporting Uighurs to Cambodia:

The network of sympathetic Chinese Christians shelter and guide people, usually North Koreans, as they cross China on their way to UN refugee offices abroad to seek asylum.

The first group of 22 Uighurs, who’ve been described by exile groups as witnesses to the rioting, made their way through China and Vietnam before arriving over the past few weeks in the Cambodian capital, where they have made contact with the UN refugee office and applied for political asylum.

However, they live in fear of being picked up and returned to China, which has close ties with Cambodia, Uighur groups said.

“China has a very big influence in Cambodia. So their life is in risk, I would say,” said Ilshat Hassan, the U.S.-based director of interior affairs for the World Uyghur Congress.

A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry asked that questions about the 22 Uighurs be sent in a fax, and offered no immediate response Friday. The Public Security Bureau in Xinjiang did not immediately respond to a faxed request.


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