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China sentenced senior Uyghur officials to death stunned critics who demanded evidence – Radio Free Asia

China recently sentenced two senior Uyghur officials to death, stunned critics who question the legitimacy of the decision due to a lack of evidence against them and claim the move. shows that even Uyghurs loyal to the Communist Party cannot escape persecution in Xinjiang.

On April 6, the authorities in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) announced that Shirzat Bawudun, former chief justice of the XUAR High Court and deputy secretary of the XUAR Political and Legal Committee, and Sattar Sawut, the former director of education at XUAR, was sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence for “separatism” and “terrorism”.

In addition, they announced that the court sentenced both of them to permanently deprive them of political rights and confiscated all personal property.

While several other prominent Uyghurs have been sentenced to death since authorities in the region launched a campaign to detain people outside the law has seen 1.8 million Uyghurs and minorities. Other Muslims are held in a large network of detention centers that began in early 2017, marking the first time that senior government officials have been sentenced to death.

Although the Supreme Court released the rulings on April 6, it released no further information about when and where the trials took place, how and when the actual judgments were to be conducted. decision.

The verdicts, given when the US government and some Western parliaments have designated the rights violations in XUAR as part of the state-backed genocide policy, have prompted observers ask further questions about the severity of the situation in the region where the legal system is. has long been used as an oppressive tool by the state.

Sophie Richardson, the China Director of New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), told RFA’s Uyghur Agency that there was no such thing as a fair trial in XUAR and urged the public government to fathers evidence against these two officials.

“Let me be clear: Human Rights Watch is absolutely against the use of the death penalty in many cases, because it is fundamentally cruel and unusual,” she said.

“We also know very well that most people in Xinjiang don’t get anything even from afar like a fair trial.”

In particular, she pointed to the absurdity of Sawut’s severe punishment, as he was accused of including “extreme” content in elementary school children’s books that had previously been censored by the agency. approval. He oversaw the publishing of textbooks, all of which were approved by the government.

“The idea that someone should get a life sentence for a textbook published 13 years ago is crazy – there are no other words to describe it,” she said.

“And I think it is imperative that the Chinese government provide all the evidence. I want to know if these two men have a lawyer of their choice, if they have any ability to see the evidence being presented against them or actually disput the allegations. “

‘Segregationism’ and ‘terrorism’

According to limited information shared by the High Court, Bawudun was accused of “having a plan to divide the country in the long term,” “participating in the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and betraying the interests of people. people and country, ”and“ Providing illegal intelligence to people outside the border [of China]. “

The ETIM, previously on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, was scrapped late last year because of “no credible evidence” that the group continued to exist.

Sawut has also been described as a “double-sided” – a term applied by the government to Uyghur cadres, who served the Communist Party’s rule in the XUAR, but secretly opposed the policies of The state oppresses members of their ethnic group – and has hidden itself in holding a position for a long time.

In his previous position prior to his arrest, Sawut oversaw the Education Department’s work in compiling and publishing Uyghur language and literature textbooks for primary and secondary students. He has been accused of insistently including content promoting “ethnic separatism”, “violence”, “terrorism” and “religious extremism” in these books, as well as “Tried to disrupt the country through ‘de-Sinization’. ”

Teng Biao, a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer in the US, told RFA that “crime” “divisionism” is a tool that China has long used to suppress the opposition. In this case, however, the tool is being deployed against officials within the government system itself.

“The Chinese government often uses allegations of” dividing the country “or” subversion of state power “or” inciting divisions “or” inciting subversion of the country “against major dissidents. ants, and increasingly as a way to achieve their political goals, “he said.

Teng also noted that although Bawudun and Sawut were previously supported as part of the state apparatus, they are now at the expense of becoming Uyghurs during a period when China appears to be attempting to eradicate. to abandon that distinct identity through genocide policies.

“On the one hand, they are the political and legal officers in the Communist Party system, but on the other hand, they are Uighurs and they are identified with their own cultural and religious identity.

“These two roles are completely contradictory. They must be very upset. Therefore, I think it is in this context that the Communist Party has used some of their practices, statements and positions as the basis for the crime of ‘divisionism’. “

Sketched portrait by former editor-in-chief of XUAR Education Press and famous Uyghur literary critic Yalqun Rozi. Yette Su / RFA

Attack on the Uyghur language and culture

The Uyghur literature and language textbook over which Sawut oversees, which the Chinese government claims is “terrorist”, “separatist” and “poisoning” against young students, was published in 2003 and used in literature classes until 2016.

US-based Kamaltürk Yalqun, son of the Editor-in-Chief XUAR Education Press and renowned Uyghur literary critic Yalqun Rozi, told RFA if there were really any “problems” in the textbooks. In this department, they will be discovered and processed. in annual reviews of educational materials.

“While other books may be published once or twice after censorship, [authorities] set up special committees for textbooks and censored them several times, at the Education Department, in XUAR [government] levels, ”he said.

“These textbooks have been in use for more than a decade and no major problems have been discovered in them. That they were surprised, in 2016, just as Chen Quanguo became Party Secretary [of the XUAR]The supposed, problematic books don’t really prove that there’s anything wrong with them. If there’s a problem, they’ll appear in the many rounds of censorship that the book goes through every year. “

Yalqun’s father, Rozi was arrested in 2016, an early target of what would become a mass detention campaign targeting members allegedly “double sided” of the intellectual and cultural class. Uyghur, and then sentenced to 15 years in prison for his involvement in publishing these textbooks.

He said that he believed that the Chinese government’s real intention in arresting and condemning the editors of textbooks, including his father, was to eliminate Uyghur language and culture.

Reported by Erkin to the Uyghur Service of the RFA. Translated by Uyghur Service. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.



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