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Dragon Fighter: One Woman's Epic Struggle for Peace with China Hardcover – May 19, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Kales Press; 1st US edition (May 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979845610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979845611
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When her father is beaten, and her family is forced from their home in Uyghurstan (a swath of Chinese land north of Tibet), Kadeer's idyllic childhood comes crashing to an end. Though still a young woman, she resolves to defend Uyghurs from "tireless Communist indoctrination;" by 1957, she writes, "I wanted to stop seeing posters of Chairman Mao's adipose face, with that forever grinning mouth, plastered over every wall." Kadeer charts the routine public humiliation, banishment, execution, and forced flight of her Ugyhur friends and neighbors. In her late twenties, anxious to provide for her children and take control of the future, Kadeer reinvents herself as a businesswoman, but never turns her attention away from political activism. By the early '90s, the USSR has dissolved and Kadeer has become the wealthiest woman in China, but the oppression of Ugyhurs continues, remaining largely unknown outside the region. Even after Kadeer wins a seat in China's National People's Congress, she is unable to counter the negative effects of Chinese bureaucrats on the Uyghur region. Finally, her efforts land her in prison for six years. Her remarkable resilience in the face of horrendous conditions typifies her tireless lifelong struggle. Her story is a compelling testament to the human spirit's obstinate right to be free.
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“This memoir of singular bravery in a little-known corner of the Chinese Republic is a compelling testament to the human struggle for freedom, told with gravitas, warmth, and hard-won wisdom.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A defiant political tell-all...Kadeer writes perceptively about the many humiliations imposed by Beijing on the Uighurs...We are constantly reminded of the author’s qualities: she is chaste, smart, beautiful, clever, strong, indomitable, selfless, moral, wise, and fearless—especially fearless...This remarkable life is now added to the saga of the Uighur people.” (The New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

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It is a story of greed, but it is also a story of courage and strength in the face of dire circumstances.
"Dragon Fighter" is well worth the read for those seeking contemporary, firsthand, eye-witness accounts with respect to China's human rights violations.
Midwest Book Review
After hearing about Ms. Kadeer on NPR, I picked up the book and could not put it down until I was done reading it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Expat_in_Xinjiang on July 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Within the borders of China's far western province of Xinjiang - a land of camels, deserts and ethnic tensions - the name "Rebiya Kadeer" is rarely spoken above more than a whisper. While some people may do this as a sign of respect to the leader of Xinjiang's minority Uyghur people, the primary reason is out of fear. Nobody quite knows what would happen if you are found discussing this woman in China, but few are willing to find out.

Following the July 5th riots in Urumqi, the name `Rebiya Kadeer' was again thrust into the global spotlight, accused by the Chinese as an instigator of unrest but seen by many of her fellow Uyghurs as an inspiration of peace. While she now resides in the United States where she has become the president of the World Uyghur Congress, her picture has again been splashed across newspapers all over Xinjiang accompanied by stories painting her in a less-than-friendly light. Conflicting stories in the Chinese and international press begs the question that few before the riots this month ever thought to ask:

Who is Rebiya Kadeer?

Dragon Fighter is the first-hand account of Rebiya's journey from a poor home in the northern portion of Xinjiang to becoming one of China's richest women and by far the most influential Uyghur. Following years of success and government support she then finds herself on the verge of insanity while locked in a Chinese prison for years until she is released and handed over the United States. It is a story of greed, but it is also a story of courage and strength in the face of dire circumstances.

Now, in light of the July 2009 riots in Urumqi, her narrative becomes that much more relevant.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Hadiyo Jim'ale on May 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an epic story following the life of one of the most interesting women in our times. She is not just rich but this is a woman who puts her money where her mouth is. The highlights for me from her book are when she starts a laundry business, when she starts an organization to help women from her community start business, and when she risks her life for the greater political freedoms of her people.

This book is as much about China's history as it is personal reflection. The author tells much of what has not been covered by international press, especially the way the Chinese government deals with it is minorities. It can be an eye opening in that way, too, if you are the kind of reader interested in international politics.

At 426 pages, it may not be an easy read for most readers but I would say it is a book that awakens the consciousness of its reader. No wonder the Dalai Lama signed onto it.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lynn H on August 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A few years ago I taught a lovely young Eurasian woman with delicate features, high cheekbones and almond shaped eyes who spoke five languages and had grown up in China. I did a little research after a fellow student identified her as an Uighur ( a group I had never heard of),and was amazed that her highly developed culture should be so unknown in the West. Later she told us some of the stories I have now read in this book, about betrayal, murder, infanticide, and what we now call "cultural genocide" as it is practiced today in China against the Uighur people.

This story could so easily be unbelievable fiction.It has rags-to-riches, David and Goliath, the power of the individual, love and betrayal, speaking truth to power, true feminism,survival, and so much more. But, as far as I know, it is true.

I liked the blend of the personal and the historical in the narrative. I would have liked more details about daily life in the family, but this is the story of a woman who sees her purpose as one of helping her people survive. I hope this book aids in achieving the goal. May her words give hope to the Uighurs, and influence those with the power to create positive change in the situation.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves biography, geography, motivational speakers, or just to learn about other cultures.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Kauck on March 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Rebiya Kadeer's biography offers an outstanding insider view on the history and life in Xinjiang/ East Turkestan. Her story is very remarkable: She started with almost nothing and managed to make a fortune with her businesses, first to support her children and later to help her people. Remarkable, too, is how she always somehow managed to deal with corrupt officials, the Chinese state, but also everyday problems. Kadeer has shun no risks to help the Uyghurs. It's saddening that in the end, the Chinese authorities focused on her separatist orientation (which was not translated in any separatist activities) and tried to drive her into insanity in jail. Interestingly, however, she was offered a very influential position just before that, which made me wonder whether she would have been able to help her people more in this position. Unfortunately, she and the author of the book did not reflect on this.

I don't share the Chinese authorities' position that she is a liar, but I'm not quite convinced by some of her statements. Generally, the book is quite anti-Chinese - not surprising if you consider her history and the common tendency of refugees to talk about their home countries in negative ways. Sometimes, however, I think that this kind of orientation can result in questionable conclusions. For example, she claims that officials were forced to continue to report record harvests during the 'Great Leap Forward'. The explanation I've heard before and find more plausible is that official had incentives to manipulate their data to improve their standing among superiors. Another example is her view on urban planning: traditional Uyghur buildings had to make place for modern Chinese ones.
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