Two-Thirds of Religious Figures Detained in Hometown of Uyghur Who Decried Genocide Designation — Radio Free Asia

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Authorities have detained some two-thirds of non secular leaders in the house township of man claiming to be an imam in a propaganda video condemning the U.S. for designating abuses in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) as genocide, in response to officers.

On Jan. 19—his final full day as high U.S. diplomat—former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned Chinese insurance policies in the XUAR purpose for “the forced assimilation and eventual erasure of a vulnerable ethnic and religious minority group” as he introduced a designation that Uyghur exile teams have advocated because the revelation in 2017 of mass internment camps which have held as many as 1.8 million Uyghurs and different Muslim minorities.

Pompeo mentioned he had decided China is “committing genocide and crimes against humanity” in the XUAR in opposition to Uyghurs and different ethnic teams, and that Beijing and the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “must be held to account.”

The new Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has endorsed the designation, suggesting that President Joe Biden’s administration will pursue a extra forceful method in holding China accountable for its abuses in the area.

Emily Horne, the spokesperson for Biden’s National Security Council, advised the Washington Examiner final week that “President Biden has called the oppression of the Uyghurs a genocide, and he stands against it in the strongest possible terms.”

Chinese officers have mentioned the camps are voluntary facilities for “vocational training” that shield the area in opposition to “religious extremism” and “terrorism,” however reporting by RFA and different media retailers exhibits that detainees are principally held in opposition to their will in cramped and unsanitary circumstances, the place they’re compelled to endure inhumane therapy and political indoctrination.

On Jan. 20, the primary day of the Biden administration, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying slammed Pompeo’s “venomous lies” and referred to as the willpower “nothing more than a piece of wastepaper.”

Since then, a number of movies have been revealed on-line that includes Uyghurs utilizing the Uyghur language and Mandarin Chinese to debate how the CCP had improved their lives in the area, praising the federal government and refuting Pompeo’s designation.

Claims of non secular freedom

In one such video, a person named Habibulla Abdurehim identifies himself as an imam of a mosque in the seat of Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture—an oasis city of round 330,000 those that served as a key station alongside the Silk Road in the Tarim Basin.

Abdurehim dismisses Pompeo’s assertion as slander whereas praising the state of non secular affairs in the XUAR—claiming there may be widespread and simply coverage in Hotan and noting that the federal government had not too long ago renovated the mosque the place he says he works.

His assertion contradicts experiences by RFA’s Uyghur Service and different media retailers that point out non secular officers have been detained and locked away en masse. Other experiences describe the wholesale demolition of non secular websites in the XUAR, together with one by RFA which discovered that 80 % of mosques in Toqquzaq township, in Kashgar (Kashi) prefecture’s Kona Sheher (Shufu) county, have been destroyed in 2016 alone.

Following the publishing of the video, a member of the Uyghur diaspora contacted RFA claiming to know Abdurehim and insiting that he’s not a spiritual determine. The supply, who spoke on situation of anonymity for concern of reprisal, mentioned Abdurehim was previously the social gathering secretary of Yawa township, in Hotan prefecture’s Qaraqash (Moyu) county, and that “nearly all of the religious figures” in the township are presently in “some form of detention.”

In his function as township secretary, which coincided with the start of the internment marketing campaign, Abdurehim personally delivered 4 non secular leaders to a police station, the place they have been presumably questioned, if not detained, the supply mentioned.

Scores detained

RFA contacted the police division in Yawa to verify the main points of the supply’s information. An officer who answered the telephone mentioned he was uncertain whether or not Abdurehim was a spiritual determine or previously the secretary of the township and referred additional questions on his function to greater stage authorities.

However, when requested what number of non secular leaders from Yawa are in jail, the officer replied, “most of them.”

“Given what I know, I think it’s around 60 or 70 percent,” he mentioned.

According to the officer, there are between 70 and 80 non secular figures in Yawa township, which is comprised of 21 villages.

The officer mentioned that fifty to 60 of them are in jail alone, whereas others are being held in internment camps.

RFA additionally spoke with a safety official in Yawa who mentioned that one of the non secular figures, or “akhun,” Abdurehim had dropped at the eye of authorities was a 30-year-old father of two named Habibulla Mijit.

“That young man is also gone now,” the official mentioned, including that Mijit had been handed “a seven-year punishment.”

Restrictions on religion

In current years authorities in the XUAR have been concentrating on outstanding Uyghur non secular students and intellectuals for internment in what observers say is a component of a bid to undermine the cultural traditions of the ethnic group.

Investigations by RFA have proven that religiously inflected practices, together with sporting beards and numerous types of costume—resembling lengthy tunics for ladies—have been closely restricted over the previous a number of years.

In 2015 and 2016, regional authorities even restricted the giving of zakat, or alms—the act of which constitutes one of the 5 pillars of Islam. Restrictions on almsgiving have successfully prevented Uyghurs from having the ability to present monetary and social assist to at least one one other.

Reported by Shohret Hoshur for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Translated by the Uyghur Service. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

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