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PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA:
GRAVE FEARS FOR MISSING UIGHUR PHD STUDENT

Update info:
29 Jun 2018
Country:
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Subject:
Guligeina Tashimaimaiti
Gender m/f: f
Period:
2 Aug 2018
Distribution date:
29 Jun 2018
UA No:
122/2018

Guligeina Tashimaimaiti has not been heard from since 26 December 2017, when she returned from Malaysia to her hometown in Yili, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Her family fear that she has been detained at a re-education camp and is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Guligeina Tashimaimaiti, a PhD student at the University of Technology, Malaysia, was last seen by her friend Sammy (name changed to protect identity) at Malaysia’s Senai International Airport on 26 December 2017. They had both agreed that Guligeina Tashimaimaiti would change her photo on WeChat, a popular Chinese social media platform, every week as a sign that she was safe.

Guligeina Tashimaimaiti changed her profile photo one week after her return home to Yili, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). However, the profile photo remained the same for a couple of weeks, until one day her background photo suddenly changed to a dark, black and white, gloomy photo of something that looked like a prison cell.

Given the ongoing and unprecedented crackdown in the XUAR against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities, both Sammy and Guligeina Tashimaimaiti’s older sister Gulzire fear that she might have been detained in a re-education camp. Despite being warned by friends and family not to return to the region, Guligeina Tashimaimaiti was worried about her parents, whom she had not been able to contact since her last visit to Yili in February 2017.

Guligeina Tashimaimaiti was due to start her PhD studies in February 2018. After not hearing from her in several months, Gulzire and Sammy decided to approach the university in Malaysia and the media to raise the profile of the case.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Under the leadership of the XUAR Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, numerous detention facilities have been set up within the region. Referred to as “counter extremism centres”, “political study centres” or “education and transformation centres”, these are facilities in which people are arbitrarily detained for unspecified periods and forced to study Chinese laws and policies. People are often sent to these detention facilities if they are known religious practitioners, have relations with “foreign contacts” or have themselves been caught up in social stability campaigns or have relatives who were involved in the same.

Media reports and information obtained by Amnesty International indicate that people in the XUAR are at great risk of arbitrary detention if they communicate with their relatives who live overseas. Authorities have detained people who receive phone calls from outside of China. Authorities have also tried to ensure that nobody uses encrypted messaging apps, forcing people to rely instead on domestic apps that have no encryption or other privacy safeguards.

While Uighurs and other predominately Muslim ethnic minorities in the XUAR have long suffered violations of their rights to freedom of religion and association and other human rights, over the past year or more authorities there have begun targeting them more comprehensively in an unprecedented crackdown. Techniques of repression include the widespread use of arbitrary detention, technological surveillance, heavily armed street patrols, security checkpoints and an array of intrusive policies violating human rights.

There have been numerous reports that Chinese authorities in the XUAR have effectively sidestepped the procedural protections afforded to criminal defendants under Chinese law, many Uighur detainees have been denied legal counsel.

In addition to information gathered by Amnesty International, media reports from Radio Free Asia, Buzzfeed, the Globe and Mail, the Associated Press and others indicate that authorities throughout the region began detaining Uighurs en masse in the spring of 2017, either sending them to administrative detention facilities or sentencing them to long prison terms. This crackdown has been applied not only to Uighurs, but also to other predominantly Muslim ethnicities, such as Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz.

UA: 122/18 Index: ASA 17/8644/2018 Issue Date: 21 June 2018

Take action

Please write immediately in Chinese, English or your own language urging authorities to:

  • Release Guligeina Tashimaimaiti and drop any charges against her unless there is sufficient credible and admissible evidence that she has committed an internationally recognized offence and is granted a fair trial in line with international standards;
  • Ensure that Guligeina Tashimaimaiti has regular, unrestricted access to a lawyer of her choice and her family and is not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment;
  • Ensure that everybody in the XUAR is able to communicate with family members and others, including with family members living in other countries, without interference unless justified in line with international human rights law.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 2 AUGUST 2018 TO:
Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
Chen Quanguo
479 Zhongshan Lu
Wulumuqi Shi, Xinjiang
People’s Republic of China
Salutation: Dear Secretary

Minister of Public Security
Zhao Kezhi
14 Dongchang’anjie
Dongchengqu
Beijing Shi 100741
People’s Republic of China
Tel: +86 10 6626 2114 (Chinese only)
Salutation: Dear Minister

And copies to:
President
Xi Jinping
Zhongnanhai
Xichangan’jie
Xichengqu, Beijing Shi 100017
People’s Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 6238 1025

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.