Alleged attempt to intimidate Uyghur diaspora from China. The Uighur diaspora living in the USA is skeptical of successive videos published in the Chinese state media. In the videos, he says that Uyghurs’ family members living in Xinjiang deny their detention, while it is anti-Chinese propaganda.
Uighurs in America state that family members, who have disappeared for years, reach out through Chinese social media platforms to avoid organizing against the oppression and persecution in the Xinjiang region.
One of those skeptical about videos is Samira Imin, who lives in the USA. Imin watched the video of his father, Iminjan Seydi, who was detained in a concentration camp in China for more than two years, published on the Chinese state newspaper China Daily’s Twitter page. Stating that he also met with his father on WeChat, Imin said that he denied that his father was in custody and said that these allegations were fabricated by anti-Chinese forces.
“In my first speech almost three years later, Imin asked me to delete my posts on social media platforms like Twitter,” said Imin, a 27-year-old health worker in Boston. The activist Imin, who tries to draw attention to the Uighurs drama in Xinjiang via social media, is sure that his father made this request under the pressure of the Chinese government.
“I cannot accept the Chinese government’s attempt to take control of my actions and thoughts using my father,” Imin said, “I want my father to be free from all kinds of state pursuit and pressure.”
‘Encouragement to extremism’
Before he was arrested in 2017, Seydin was a professor of Chinese history at the Xinjiang Islamic Institute in Urumqi, the capital of the region. Seydin is also the owner of Imin Publishing House, which has published almost 50 books on language, education, technology and psychology since its establishment in 2012.
Saying that he did not know where his father was for months, Imin learned from his acquaintances in Beijing in 2019 that he was held in a “retraining camp” and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for “inciting extremism” in a secret court.
After reaching this information, Imin started using the power of social media to raise awareness about the situation of Uyghurs in Xinjiang and to release her father, who was arrested for publishing an Arabic grammar book.
Imin is not the only Uighur to see family members he lost track of in the Chinese media years later.
Kuzzat Altay, 36, the president of the Uyghur American Association in Virginia, USA, saw his 68-year-old father, Memet Kadir, for the first time in two January, in the Chinese public broadcast Global Times.
“I didn’t even know if he was alive for about two years. All of a sudden, I saw my father on Chinese state television when I said that I should stop Uyghur activism otherwise he would refuse me from adoption. ”Altay thinks that his father is half paralyzed and what he said is memorized.
‘My father did not need education’
In his interview with VOA, Altay said, “My father was a healthy and retired businessman. As China claimed, it did not need training to acquire new skills. He did not need work, even was in a position to create employment. But he was detained again. ”
Human rights organizations say that since the end of 2016, China has launched a systematic campaign to control the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities living in Xinjiang and arbitrary arrests. The United Nations (UN) has recently asked the Chinese government for “free access” to the area, where millions of people are detained.
The Chinese government, which denies these claims, says it operates “transformation centers through education” in Xinjiang. Chinese officials argue that the camps are “vocational training facilities” set up for those who are “exposed to extremism and terrorism.” Authorities argue that, in some camps, the necessary training has been given to enter new jobs.
Francisco Bencosme, Director of Amnesty International’s Defense for Asia Pacific Rights, says that the increasing number of videos from Xinjiang is the last of Beijing’s moves to harass the Uyghur diaspora, which raises its voice for their relatives in Xinjiang.
“These videos are part of the systematic pressure and coercion China exerts on family members to silence activists,” says Bencosme.