Rebiya Kadeer was born in 1951 in Xinjiang. After reforming and opening-up in the late 1970s, she rented a shop to start her business. Her successes as a businesswoman earned her the local nickname "the millionaires" and became a member of the 8th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
In March 2000, Rebiya Kadeer was sentenced to eight years in prison by the Xinjiang Intermediate Court for providing national intelligence to overseas organizations. During her imprisonment, she requested to be released on medical parole. Local judicial departments agreed on humanitarian grounds.
On March 11, 2005, Rebiya Kadeer went to the US on medical parole. Upon her release, she promised never to do anything that harms national interests.
In August 2005, CPC Politburo member and Xinjiang Regional Party Secretary Wang Lequan told the press that Rebiya Kadeer didn't keep her promise. She was colluding with leaders of terrorist, secessionist, extremist, and criminal organizations. She was organizing and plotting activities that aim to split China. She also asked her childrren to liquidate their assets and transfer the money to an offshore account and settled the children overseas.