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Chinese Uighurs Seeking Asylum in Cambodia: Reports

Twenty-two members of a Chinese minority group who reportedly witnessed violent protests against the Chinese administration in July are now in Cambodia seeking asylum, according to US media reports.

The Washington Post on Thursday quoted Omar Kanat, vice president for the World Uyghur Congress, saying that the 22 people, three of them children, arrived in Cambodia over the past several weeks.

A reliable source confirmed to VOA Khmer on Thursday that the 22 Uighurs are now in Cambodia and in good condition.

Cambodian government officials contacted Thursday said they have not been informed of the case.

“I’ve heard that Washingtonhas run this story,” national police spokesman Keat Chantharith said Thursday. “People have asked me too. I am not aware of it. I have received no information.”“People have asked me about the case too and said the Washington Post has run the story. I checked with several people, but received no answers,” said Koy Kuong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Koy Kuong, however, said that it is still too early to say whether Cambodia will hand the refugees over if they are in Cambodia and

China requests their return.Turkic Uighurs are mostly Muslim ethnic group from the far western province of Xinjiang, where for years separatists have waged a campaign against the Chinese government in the resource-rich region.

In early July protesters led violent demonstrations in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.