2012-08-09 — Uighur residents in Japan and their support organization have been campaigning to raise awareness about nuclear tests conducted by China in the country’s northwestern Uighur autonomous region, saying they have been harmful to people’s health.
On Aug. 6, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima by the United States, some residents and supporters distributed leaflets to visitors of the Peace Memorial Park in the city’s Naka Ward.
Ilham Mahmut, the 42-year-old leader of the Japan Uyghur Association, said that since the Chinese government claims it does not conduct research (in the area), it remains unknown what exactly has been taking place. Ilham said the group would like to step up its campaign in Hiroshima to press authorities to shed light on what has been happening.
According to the association and other sources, a nuclear test site is located in a desert area in Lop Nur in the eastern region of the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region.
The Beijing government is believed to have conducted a total of 45 blasts between 1964 and 1996. While no authoritative data have been compiled, there have been reports of birth defects and people contracting leukemia. One study said more than 1 million people have been adversely affected by radioactive fallout.
“In around 1989 and 1990, once or twice a year, the sky darkened and pillows of sand and smoke grew, making me realize they were conducting nuclear tests,” a Uighur man in his 40s living in Hiroshima Prefecture told Kyodo News.
But “residents didn’t care because they don’t know about them. I went to the (Hiroshima) atomic bombing museum and learned for the first time that they could have an impact on human bodies.”
The museum has exhibits about the 1945 bombing and how it affected people in the city.