Category Archives: Eastern Turkestan

Uyghur News (Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019)

Most links listed below can also be found at:

[*] These New Facebook Ads From Chinese State Media Want You To Believe Xinjiang’s Muslim Internment Camps Are Just Great

[*] Searching for a quiet beer under the watchful eye of China’s police

[*] The White Paper on Xinjiang: The CCP’s Latest White Lie

[*] Uighurs use app to raise plight of missing relatives

[*] China Raised Human Rights Violations in Kashmir At UNSC But Forgot Atrocities In Tibet and Xinjiang

[*] Uyghur Police Commissar Said Detained Since June 2018

[*] #NoRightsNoGames2022: Campaign to End Uyghur Human Rights Violations Ahead of the 2022 Olympics in China

[*] Uighurs are Posting TikTok Videos to Raise Awareness of Missing Relatives

[*] ‘Taiwan welcomes all Muslims’: What China can learn from its neighbour about treatment of minorities

Uyghur News (Monday, Aug 19, 2019)

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[*] Uighurs Can’t Escape Chinese Repression, Even in Europe

[*] China: Free Our Parents From Concentration Camps

[*] Xinjiang mission could determine Turkey’s place in Muslim world – analysis

[*] ‘Terrorism’: Beijing Issues White Paper Defending Uyghur Internment Camps

[*] What’s the Price of Freedom? Kazakh Activist Accepts Plea Deal

[*] East Turkestan: Uyghur Appointed as China Director at US National Security Council

[*] Australian Uyghur Gets Surprise Phone Chat With Incarcerated Mother

Uyghur News (Saturday – Sunday, Aug 17-18, 2019)

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[*] China Looks For Uighurs In Egypt, Where It’s Pouring Billions Into Infra

[*] Kashmir issue: China treading dangerously

[*] ‘Nightmare’ as Egypt aided China to detain Uighurs

[*] A Risky Gamble: Official Turkish Delegation to Inspect Troubled Xinjiang

[*] ‘Nightmare’ as Egypt aided China to detain Uighurs

[*] A bad year for Xi clouds PRC celebrations

[*] Egypt aided Chinese officials to detain and ‘interrogate’ Uighur students

Uyghur News (Friday, Aug 16, 2019)

Most links listed below can also be found at:

[*] Xinjiang activist freed in Kazakh court after agreeing to stop campaigning

[*] Foreign firms operating in Xinjiang need to consider human rights – or risk being complicit

[*] The White House quietly appointed a new China director who could rattle Beijing and make a US-China trade deal even less likely

[*] Data Leviathan: China’s Burgeoning Surveillance State

[*] White House appoints Uygur-American Elnigar Iltebir to top China policy advisory job

[*] Taiwan’s ‘Silk Road of Democracy’

[*] 15 studies retracted due to fears they used Chinese prisoners’ organs

RFA: Uyghur Inmate Becomes Sixth Identified in Photos of Xinjiang Detention Camp

A Uyghur inmate in a photograph of scores of men sitting in an internment camp in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) has been identified as a driver for a cement factory named Mettursun Eziz, according to former acquaintance.

The new information brings to six the number of people identified in photos, originally posted to the WeChat account of the Xinjiang Judicial Administration, showing Uyghur detainees listening to a “de-radicalization” speech at a camp in the seat of Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture’s Lop (Luopu) county in April 2017.

Eziz—a 35-year-old father of four who has worked as a driver for a cement factory in Lop township for nearly 10 years—was recognized by a friend from the area who now lives in exile in Turkey, and who spoke to RFA’s Uyghur on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals by authorities against family members who still live in the XUAR.

According to the source, Eziz was taken into custody “in early 2017” for “giving a lift to a neighbor to see their son in prison” and his family was initially informed that he would be held at an internment camp for only 15 days.

In the more than two-and-a-half years that Eziz has been detained, the source said, his family members have been denied visits with him at the Kaifaqu Camp, located in the Beijing Industrial Zone in front of Lop’s cement factory and No. 1 Middle School.

Eziz and other men in the photo are among up to 1.5 million Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas and held in political “re-education camps” across the XUAR since April 2017.

RFA’s Uyghur Service called the Lop county government office to verify the source’s claims, but was told by officials who answered the phone that they did not know him or to contact other relevant departments.

A staff member at the Lop Cement Factory told RFA that “no one among our colleagues is currently in an internment camp,” although he acknowledged that “they all are studying the official state language, because everyone is required to communicate in [Mandarin Chinese].”

“There isn’t anyone available to talk to you,” he added.

Authorities are believed to have held up to 1.5 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas in a vast network of internment camps in the XUAR since April 2017, although Beijing describes them as “boarding schools” that provide vocational training and protect the country from terrorism.

Reporting by RFA’s Uyghur Service and other media organizations has shown that those in the camps are detained against their will and subjected to political indoctrination, routinely face rough treatment at the hands of their overseers, and endure poor diets and unhygienic conditions in the often overcrowded facilities.

While the Lop county government and the Lop Cement Factory were unable to confirm that Eziz had been detained, a staff member with the Neighborhood Committee of Lop’s No. 1 district told RFA he knows the driver and said he had been taken to “the Kaifaqu Camp … more than a year ago.”

The staff member said he did not know the reason Eziz had been detained.

When asked about Eziz’s family, the staff member told RFA that one of his five siblings—a younger brother named Mirzexmet—had also been placed in a camp “for more than a year,” but said he did not know why the brother was held or whether it had anything to do with Eziz’s detention.


RFA: Uyghur Mother, Daughters Deported to China From Turkey

At least three ethnic Uyghurs have recently been deported to China from Turkey via Tajikistan, according to sources, and now face persecution from authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Zinnetgul Tursun and her two toddler daughters, Hilal Shehinur and Banu Abdullah, were first sent from Istanbul, Turkey to Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe, and then taken by Chinese police officers on a June 31 flight from Dushanbe to the XUAR capital Urumqi, Tursun’s sister, Jennetgul Tursun, recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service.

Jennetgul Tursun, who lives in exile in Saudi Arabia, said she had learned that her sister, her sister’s husband Abdullah Ahmedov, and their two children were held at an immigration detention center in the Turkish city of Izmir and declared Tajik nationals before being given Tajik passports and sent against their will to Tajikistan in late June, despite being legal Turkish residents.

Jennetgul Tursun said that two Tajik passengers on the June 31 flight had seen Zinnetgul Tursun and her children detained by Chinese police at Dushanbe International Airport and taken onto the plane to Urumqi, and sent text messages about the incident to a Uyghur exile group in Turkey, which forwarded the information to her. No information was provided about Abdullah Ahmedov.

“I know my sister very well, and she would never have boarded that flight [to Urumqi],” Jennetgul Tursun told RFA.

“I learned that they were given drugs that knocked them unconscious prior to being placed on the plane, and on the flight they regained consciousness. The two Tajik passengers witnessed what had happened, so they sent messages revealing what they had seen.”

The Tajik passengers said that they saw five other people—four women and a man—they identified as Uyghurs on the flight, suggesting that they had also been deported to China against their will.

“When my sister called me the last time from the Izmir detention center, she said there was a 22-year-old [Uyghur man] from Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture [in the XUAR] who had been helping her,” she said, adding that she believed he could be the young man the Tajik passengers said was on the flight.

Jennetgul Tursun told RFA that she spoke with her mother in Ghulja (Yining), in the XUAR’s Ili Kazakh (Yili Hasake) Autonomous Prefecture, on July 25, who confirmed Zinnetgul Tursun and her children had been brought home, but said her sister had “disappeared” and that the family had no information about what had happened to her, before warning her to end further communication.

No mention was made of Abdullah Ahmedov’s situation, and Jennetgul Tursun suggested that he might still be in Tajikistan.


RFA: Uyghur Arrived in US Cites Deportations, Frozen Assets in Pakistan as Impetus For Asylum Bid

A Uyghur man facing deportation to China from Qatar last week said Wednesday that his decision to flee Pakistan was prompted by claims that nine members of his ethnic group had been forcibly returned home from the South Asian nation, where he ran a company with ties to a Beijing-backed infrastructure plan.

Ablikim Yusup, 53, arrived safely in the U.S. on Tuesday with the help of U.S. Embassy officials after initially trying to reach Europe by way of Bosnia, which refused him entry because his special China travel document—papers issued by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to people who are legally defined as Chinese citizens for their travel to China and other countries—was not recognized there.

He was sent last week to Qatar, which then said it would deport him to Beijing, according to media reports, prompting him to appeal for days for help on social media posts from Qatar’s Doha International Airport, saying that he feared for his safety if sent back to China.

A day after arriving in Washington, Yusup told RFA’s Uyghur Service that despite being a resident of Pakistan, where he lived with his wife and young son, and running a successful import and export business that received contracts related to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) overseas infrastructure project, he feared that he was in danger of being deported to China, where he could face persecution.

“There were a lot of Uyghurs in Pakistan, and some started to disappear,” he said.

“I knew a Pakistani man who took me to his friend’s place for business. There were others there, and one of them was a former or current military official in plainclothes. After I was introduced as a Chinese citizen from [China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)], he spoke in Urdu, assuming that I didn’t understand, and said that Pakistan had just recently deported nine Uyghurs to China.”

According to Yusup, the military official said that deporting Uyghurs from Pakistan to China was “easy.”

“He said, ‘We just round them up by holding them by their necks, and China pays for it [deporting them],” Yusup told RFA.

“I was shocked, and thought they might come for me soon, so I started to keep a low profile.”

Yusup said he also recently learned that his assets had been frozen, presumably at the order of Beijing.

“I did a lot of work related to the BRI, but they had no honor,” he said, apparently referring to Chinese officials who had contracted his company.

“They froze my bank accounts in Pakistan and with the Bank of China. They are shameless. But it is OK because as long as I remain alive, there is hope.”

Another factor Yusup said had influenced his decision to flee Pakistan was that several Pakistani women had married Han Chinese living in the country who pretended to be Muslim, only to find out they had lied, and that this had led to animosity against all Chinese citizens.

“The locals did not know the difference between [Han] Chinese and Uyghurs—they would just call all of us Chinese and started to hate us,” he said, adding that the atmosphere in Pakistan had become such that “I could not go outside freely.”


RFA: Xinjiang Authorities Detained Uyghur Official Who Quit Due to Injury in Yarkand Incident

Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) detained for one month a Uyghur former official who resigned due to complications from an injury he sustained while fleeing an incident of unrest five years ago, according to sources.

On July 28, 2014, Uyghur residents of Elishku township, in Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) prefecture’s Yarkand (Shache) county, protested the detention of a dozen Uyghur women for praying overnight at a local mosque and the subsequent indiscriminate use of force and extra-judicial killings by Chinese security forces in several townships.

Authorities fired on the protesters with live ammunition and at least 96 people were killed in the ensuing violence, according to Chinese state media, though Uyghur exile groups have said as many as 2,000 may have died. A crackdown by police in the county following the incident led to mass jailings of work-age Uyghur males.

At least two officials—Dongbagh township chairman Gholam Tohti and the township’s ruling Chinese Communist Party Disciplinary Committee secretary Abdugheni Turdi—were being held hostage by protesters when they were gunned down by the security forces, their widows have claimed.

Ablimit Omer, the ruling Chinese Communist Party secretary of Elishku’s No. 26 village, had been sent to the protest by Tohti to persuade those involved to turn themselves over to police, but when authorities opened fire, he fled through nearby fields and broke his leg after falling into a ditch, according to a Uyghur source living in exile in Turkey.

Soon after the incident, the source told RFA’s Uyghur Service on condition of anonymity, Omer asked to leave his position due to complications from his injury and his superiors accepted his resignation.

However, three years later, Omer’s decision to quit was labeled an “act against the government,” and he was detained in one of a network of internment camps where authorities in the XUAR have held up to 1.5 million Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas since April 2017.

A Uyghur source from Yarkand, who also declined to be named, told RFA that Omer was held at the internment camp for one month, but released after authorities listened to a voicemail message he had received from Dongbagh township chairman Gholam Tohti asking him to assist with handling the protest, prior to Tohti’s death.

The Turkey-based source said that everyone who assisted the wounded in the aftermath of the unrest had been arrested and given prison sentences, including several people who were held for six months before being exonerated, and that in the last three years, anyone who resigned from a government position in Yarkand after the incident had been sent to internment camps for “religious extremism.”

While two police officers in Yarkand told RFA that they had no knowledge of Omer, a third confirmed that the village party secretary “was at the scene of the July 28 incident, and we heard that he was injured.”

When asked when Omer was taken to an internment camp, a fourth officer told RFA it had happened “in early 2017.”

The officer said that the reason Omer was detained was because “he used to work as a village secretary, but resigned after he broke his leg.”

The fourth officer was unable to confirm whether Omer’s injury had occurred while fleeing the shooting, or whether he was nearby when Tohti was killed.


RFA: Uyghur Man Held in Qatar Arrives Safely in the United States

A Uyghur man facing deportation to China from Qatar last week has now arrived safely in the United States, RFA reports.

Ablikim Yusup, 53, landed at around 4:00 p.m. in Washington’s Dulles International Airport, where he was met by his lawyers and by other ethnic Uyghurs.

Speaking to supporters following his arrival, Yusup voiced his thanks to the U.S. government for helping him to come to the U.S.

“I am starting a new life now as I arrive in America,” Yusup said.

“I am thankful to the U.S. government and her diplomats for helping me and rescuing me from danger. [And] I am thankful for the rights activists and the Uyghur community who had tirelessly fought for my rescue,” he said

“I am worried about my wife and five-year-old son, though. They could not come to Doha with me since they have Pakistani passports,” he said.

“Chinese diplomats visited me in Doha and invited me to talk with them, but I refused to meet them,” Yusup said.

Yusup, formerly a resident of Pakistan, had previously tried to enter Europe by way of Bosnia, a Muslim-majority country, but was sent back last week to Qatar, which then said it would deport him to Beijing, according to media reports.

He had then appealed for days for help on social media posts from Qatar’s Doha International Airport, saying that he feared for his safety if sent back to China.

“The United States is alarmed by China’s highly repressive campaign against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslims in Xinjiang,” the State Department said in a statement Tuesday, announcing that Yusup was being flown to the U.S.

“This campaign includes mass arbitrary detentions. The Chinese government has, by our estimates, detained more than one million individuals since April 2017.”

“In these camps, there are credible reports of torture, inhumane conditions, and deaths. Individuals there are forced to renounce their ethnic identities, religious beliefs, or cultural and religious practices,” the State Department said.

“We will continue to call on China to reverse its counterproductive policies that conflate terrorism with peaceful religious and political expression, to immediately release all those arbitrarily detained, and to cease efforts to coerce members of its Muslim minority groups residing abroad to return to China to face an uncertain fate,” the State Department said.

Meanwhile, Germany-based World Uyghur Congress welcomed news of Yusup’s flight to the U.S., adding, “The international community must take steps to ensure Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims are provided protection.”

RFA: Uyghur Man in Qatar Fears Forced Return to China

A Uyghur man held in an airport in Qatar has sent out an appeal for help to avoid being deported to China, where he said he will face persecution, media reports said on Saturday.

Ablikim Yusup, 53, said in a video posted to Facebook from Doha International Airport that he fears for his safety if sent back.

“I need the world’s help,” Yusup said.

Formerly a resident of Pakistan, Yusup had tried to enter Europe by way of Bosnia, a Muslim-majority country, but had been sent back to Qatar, which now says it will deport him to Beijing, according to media reports.

Yusup had been reported earlier to have been booked on a Saturday morning flight from Qatar to Beijing, sources said.

Writing on Twitter on Saturday morning, Human Rights Watch president Kenneth Roth said that under pressure Qatar had not yet sent him back “to persecution in China.”

“The bad news: he may have only 24 hours. More pressure is needed on Qatar to respect its asylum obligations,” Roth wrote.

Speaking to RFA’s Uyghur Service, Dolkun Isa—president of the Germany-based exile World Uyghur Congress—said his organization has already requested U.S. and German authorities to urge Qatar not to send Yusup back.

“Many Uyghurs deported to China over the years have either disappeared or been sentenced to life [in prison] or death,” Isa said, adding, “Qatar is obligated under international law not to deport someone to a country where his life and liberty are in jeopardy.”

“I urge Qatar authorities not to deport Ablikim Yusup to China, but to allow him to leave for a safe third country,” Isa said.