An exiled activist of China's Uighur community has accused authorities in Beijing of seeking to destroy the country's ethnic minorities and urged democratic nations to press China to change its policies.
Rebiya Kadeer addressed a conference in the Czech capital, Prague, on democracy and human rights in Asia. She said the Chinese government is trying to crush the rights and culture of ethnic minorities. She stressed the importance of international pressure from democratic countries to convince Beijing to ease the situation.
Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama echoed the Uighur activist's views. Both called for dialogue with Chinese leaders on minority issues.
The Chinese embassy in Prague protested the participation of the Dalai Lama and the Uighur leader in the conference organized by former Czech President Vaclav Havel.
China has accused Kadeer, the U.S.-based leader of the World Uighhur Congress, of inciting the July riots in China's Xinjiang province that left about 200 people dead.
Beijing also accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for Tibet. The exiled spiritual leader says he only wants autonomy for the region.