China on Tuesday denounced the Nobel Peace Prize nomination of a Muslim businesswoman and former political prisoner who has become an outspoken critic of Chinese rule in her homeland.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Rebiya Kadeer was not a viable candidate, accusing her of being a member of an alleged terrorist organization, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, that has sought secession from China for the northwestern province of Xinjiang.
She has "connived with terrorist forces abroad and engaged in the anti-Chinese secessionist movement," Qin said at a regular briefing. "I would like to ask the intention of those who nominate her as a candidate."
Despite the Chinese accusations, Kadeer is not known to have ties to ETIM and she denied any association on Tuesday.
"I've never been a member," she said in her telephone interview from her home in the suburbs of Washington. "I'm against terrorism. I'm against violence."