Category Archives: human dignity

RFA: Veteran Editor of Uyghur Publishing House Among 14 Staff Members Held Over ‘Problematic Books’

A 30-year veteran editor is among more than a dozen staff members arrested after their Uyghur-run publishing house in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) released books deemed “problematic” because of improper political content, according to sources.

At least 14 staff members of Kashgar Publishing House in the XUAR’s Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) city have been arrested since last year, a source with ties to the region recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In addition to Kashgar Publishing House’s current deputy editor-in-chief and two former editors-in-chief, the source said that 60-year-old Memetjan Abliz Boriyar, who worked as a manager and editor at the company since 1987, was taken into custody in early October because he had approved the release of more than 100 books that were later blacklisted by the government.

The arrests are part of a “sweeping campaign” in the XUAR since the beginning of 2017 to censor literature based on political content, the source said, with sensitive books being categorized as “dangerous” or “problematic,” and anyone deemed responsible for publishing them targeted for detention.


Ilham Tohti Deserves to be a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Ilham Tohti

Despite knowing the consequences for his actions, Professor Tohti still advocated for a lasting, peaceful relationship between the Han Chinese and the Uyghur people.
He spoke about ending the poverty of the people in Xinjiang (East Turkestan.)
He spoke about ending the restrictions on religious observance.
He spoke about ending the crackdown on Turkic peoples.
He spoke about the rights guaranteed under China’s constitution.
He spoke about Han and Uyghur living together in peace and harmony.
He was jailed and sentenced to life in prison.

This is a call to action to support the recognition of Ilham Tohti’s efforts to bring the people of China together and show the Chinese authorities we support the bridge he tried to build between people.

While online petitions and forms do make voices heard, a physical letter from constituents has a greater impact. Please take the opportunity to copy the text below or use your own words to call for non-partisan support for Ilham Tohti to be the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
The following link will provide the means to find the address of your Representative and Senators in the US Congress (and in most cases, an email address as well):

The Honorable (name)

Sir / Madame,
I am writing this letter to urge you to support Ilham Tohti’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
A college professor at a government university, Ilham Tohti peacefully advocated for the rights guaranteed under the Chinese constitution; Chinese authorities sentenced him to life in prison.

Ilham Tohti spoke about poverty and how it could be overcome,
Ilham Tohti decried the crackdown against the Uyghur people and asked for change,
Ilham Tohti embraced friendship among all China’s people,
Ilham Tohti spoke about his rights under the constitution of the People’s Republic of China,
Ilham Tohti knew what his fate would be and that did not sway him from his goal of peace and friendship.

Please support Ilham Tohti’s nomination to be a Nobel Peace laureate and do not let his sacrifice be in vain. Ilham Tohti’s bravery and determination for peace and harmony embodies the ideals of the Nobel Peace prize.


RFA: Xinjiang Authorities Sentence Uyghur Philanthropist to Death For Unsanctioned Hajj

Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have sentenced a prominent Uyghur businessman and philanthropist to death for taking an unsanctioned Muslim holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, according to his brother.

Abdughapar Abdurusul, of Bakyol district in Ili Kazakh (in Chinese, Yili Hasake) Autonomous Prefecture’s Ghulja (Yining) city, “was arrested in July or August,” his brother Abdusattar Abdurusul recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service, citing Abdughapar’s Kazakh business partners living in Kazakhstan’s Almaty city.

“The latest I heard is that my brother has been given a death sentence and he is waiting for his execution to be carried out … The reason is that he went to perform hajj on his own [instead of joining a state-sanctioned tour group],” he added, referring to the annual Muslim holy pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

According to Abdusattar Abdurusul, his brother was provided with “no lawyer” during a “group trial,” suggesting he had been illegally sentenced to death. All death sentences should be reviewed by China’s Supreme Court in Beijing, but it is unclear whether Abdughapar Abdurusul’s case has been examined.

Abdughapar Abdurusul, a 42-year-old father of four, owns several shops and businesses, and multiple properties, his brother said, and had used some of the money he earned to build a mosque for the local community in recent years.

Abdughapar Abdurusul had also sold an old family home for around 1 million yuan (U.S. $144,000) in April or May, and was living comfortably before he was arrested and all of his family’s assets—totaling around 100 million yuan (U.S. $14.4 million)—were seized, he said.


RFA: Xinjiang Authorities Demand Suspected ‘Terrorists’ Turn Themselves in to Receive ‘Leniency’

Authorities in the mostly Uyghur-populated city of Kumul (in Chinese, Hami), in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), have issued a notice demanding that anyone who buys maps or refuses to watch state television turn themselves in within 30 days or face jail, according to state media, signaling an expansion in China’s definition of what defines “terrorism” in the region.

The two “crimes” are among “18 situations” listed by local authorities in a notice published on the official WeChat account of Hami Cyberspace Affairs Commission over the weekend in which suspects—that include those “influenced by the three evil forces” of separatism, extremism and terrorism—should give themselves up in the hopes of receiving leniency, the official Global Times reported Monday.

Spokesmen for Uyghur exile groups swiftly denounced the newly unveiled policy as the latest example of China criminalizing or labeling as terrorism routine cultural practices. Uyghurs have long chafed under intrusive Communist Party policies on food, facial hair and wedding and funeral practices, but since 2017, many aspects of Uyghur identity have been used as excuses to incarcerate them in camps.


RFA: Prominent Uyghur Language Researcher Disappears, Feared in China’s Re-education Camps

A well-known Uyghur literature researcher is the latest confirmed case of Uyghur intellectuals having disappeared as the Chinese government continues its crackdown on academics in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Dr. Abdurehim Rahman had been a lecturer in the Department of Literature at Xinjiang University, but went missing after the winter vacation of 2018, raising fears he has joined the more than one million Uyghurs detained without due process in political re-education camps in the past 18 months.

Abdurehim is known to have travelled to Turkey to visit his wife in February. One of his contacts there, speaking on condition of anonymity, told RFA’s Uyghur Service that the professor returned to Urumqi following his 15-day stay, after which all contact had been cut off.

“He came to Turkey with a group of artists to see his wife, a student at Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul,” the source said. “While here, he visited many Turkology researchers from different universities to collect research material.”

“His aim was to take his research to a higher level,” the source said.

RFA contacted the security department of Xinjiang University but the call was disconnected after questions regarding Abdurehim were asked.


RFA: US Lawmakers Unveil Bill Calling For Release of Uyghurs From China’s Detention Camps

U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation on Wednesday calling for the release of over a million ethnic Uyghurs detained by China in re-education camps and urging Washington to study the scope of Beijing’s crackdown on the Muslim minority group.

In a press release announcing the launch of the bipartisan bill, in which Republican Representative Chris Smith was joined by Democrat Thomas Suozzi and eight other members of Congress, Smith said the internment of Uyghurs in camps in northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region “should be treated by the international community as a crime against humanity.”

“The Chinese government’s creation of a vast system of what can only be called concentration camps cannot be tolerated in the 21st century,” said Smith, co-chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China.

“The brutal, religious based persecution of the Uyghurs in China is alarming,” Congressman Suozzi added in prepared remarks on Wednesday. “Xinjiang province has become nothing short of a police state.”

Among other recommendations, the proposed legislation calls on the U.S. Secretary of State to create a special position at the State Department to coordinate the U.S. response to China’s abuses in Xinjiang and to sanction Chinese officials responsible for the crackdown.


RFA: Investigation: Uyghur Poet Detained for Editing Problematic Book

A prominent Uyghur poet has been arrested and sent to a re-education camp for her involvement in editing a novel that the Chinese government has taken issue with.

RFA’s Uyghur Service received an anonymous tip from a listener that revealed that Chimengul Awut and 13 others who worked at the Kashgar Publishing House have been sent to the camps since last year.

Following an investigation by RFA, it has been confirmed that Chimengul is being held for her involvement in editing Golden Shoes, a 2015 novel by well-known Uyghur writer Halide Isra’il.

RFA contacted police stations in the Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) area. The first, the No. 2 Police Station, denied any knowledge of the situation and hung up when pressed further.

The second, Nezerban Police Station, denied involvement in the arrest but referred RFA to the Dong Hu Police Station, which has jurisdiction over the Kashgar publishing house.

That station then confirmed that that Chimengul had been arrested in July, and referred RFA to the Kashgar judiciary for more details.


RFA: Authorities Detain Senior Editors of Uyghur Publishing House Over ‘Problematic’ Books

Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have arrested the current deputy editor-in-chief and two former head editors of a Uyghur-run publishing house that released books deemed “problematic” because of improper political content, official sources said.

At least 14 staff members of the Kashgar Publishing House in the XUAR’s Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) city have been arrested since last year, a source with ties to the region recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Those arrested included Ablajan Siyit, the publisher’s current deputy editor-in-chief, Osman Zunun, a former editor-in-chief who retired 10 years ago, and Abliz Omer, another former editor-in-chief who retired 20 years earlier, the source said, adding that they were detained on Oct. 15, “in the beginning of the year,” and “last year,” respectively.

The arrests are part of a “sweeping campaign” in the XUAR since the beginning of 2017 to censor literature based on political content, the source said, with sensitive books being categorized as “dangerous” or “problematic,” and anyone deemed responsible for publishing them targeted for detention.


RFA: Uyghur Fencer Makes History at Youth Olympics

A Uyghur athlete has made Kyrgyzstan fencing history at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

Khasan Baudunov, who represents the Central Asian nation, came away from the games with two medals —a feat never accomplished by any other Kyrgyz fencer. He took the bronze in the boys’ epee, and a silver in the mixed team event, as part of one of two teams representing Asia.

Having tasted victory in Argentina, he returned home on October 21 to a hero’s welcome at Manas International Airport. Among the crowd of friends and family welcoming him were officials from Kyrgyzstan’s fencing federation, Olympic committee and state agency for youth, physical culture and sports.

The sword of destiny

Baudunov picked up fencing in 2014. In his Olympic profile, he says he was introduced to the sport by a friend, and when he first handled the epee he was mesmerized by the elegant weapon, and the beauty of the sport itself.

“Khasan played other sports in the past, including martial arts, but those types of sports didn’t really appeal to him,” his mother said in a telephone interview with RFA’s Uyghur Service. “Fencing drew him in like a magnet, so I encouraged him to take it up,” she said.

“Khasan’s coaches called me saying that my son is extremely talented. They said that nobody in Kyrgyzstan can match his skills and he’s always improving. Nobody has ever achieved what he has,” she added.


RFA: Hundreds of Children of Detained Uyghurs Held in ‘Closed School’ in Kashgar Prefecture

As many as 500 children of detained Uyghurs have been placed in a “closed school” in Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) prefecture, in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), according to a source in exile, who said his two younger brothers are among those held.

A young Uyghur man named Jesur left his home in Kashgar’s Yarkand (Shache) county for Turkey in 2014 and shortly afterwards, in July of that year, Chinese authorities fired on residents of the county’s Elishku township who were protesting the detention of a dozen Uyghur women for praying overnight at a local mosque, killing what Uyghur exile groups say was as many as 2,000 people.

A crackdown by police in the county following the incident led to mass jailings of Uyghurs and a lockdown on communication in and out of the area, and Jesur lost contact with his family.

Jesur, now 23, told RFA’s Uyghur Service that he recently received a video in which his eight- and 10-year-old brothers tearfully informed him that several members of their family had been jailed or sent to political “re-education camps,” where authorities have detained Uyghurs accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas since April 2017.