Uyghur Police Commissar Said Detained Since June 2018

uyghur-un-human-rights-council-protest-june-2019-crop.jpg Members of the Uyghur diaspora protest outside of UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on the first day of the Human Rights Council, June 24, 2019.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener

A senior police official in Aksu Prefecture of Akso (Akesu, in Chinese) in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) has been in detention since June 2018, a Uyghur exile source familiar with his case told RFA.

The source said that Ablikim Ghopur, 54, political commissar of Kuqa (Kucha) County Pubic Security Department, has been detained for 14 months.

The reason for Ghopar’s detention was not clear, but a staff member at the Kuqa County Pubic Security Department said he appeared a police warning film.

“He is portrayed as ‘two-faced’ person in the film. I do not know for what specific issues is he being seen as ‘two-faced' person,” the staffer told RFA’s Uyghur service.

Authorities in the XUAR regularly detain those they accuse of being “two-faced officials”—a term applied by the government to ethnic minority cadres who pay lip service to Communist Party rule, but secretly chafe against state policies repressing members of their ethnic group.

Reports suggest that authorities are detaining Uyghurs in re-education camps and jails regardless of their age, prior service to the Communist Party, or the severity of the accusations against them.

Ghopur was awarded for his contribution for success of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and recognized as an exemplary civil servant.

Authorities in the XUAR have held up to 1.5 million Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas since April 2017.

Though Beijing initially denied the existence of internment camps, China this year changed tack and started describing the facilities as “boarding schools” that provide vocational training for Uyghurs, discourage radicalization and help protect the country from terrorism.

Mass incarcerations in the XUAR, as well as other policies seen to violate the rights of Uyghurs and other Muslims, have led to increasing calls by the international community to hold Beijing accountable for its actions in the region.

In July, at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the internment camps in the XUAR “one of the worst human rights crises of our time” and “truly the stain of the century.”

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence also slammed the camps “where [Uyghurs] endure around-the-clock brainwashing” and survivors have described their experience as “a deliberate attempt by Beijing to strangle Uyghur culture and stamp out the Muslim faith.”

U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback recently told RFA in an interview that countries around the world must speak out on the Uyghur camps, or risk emboldening China and other authoritarian regimes.

The U.S. Congress has also joined in efforts to halt the incarcerations, debating legislation that seeks accountability for China’s harsh crackdown on the Uyghurs. The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act would appoint a special State Department coordinator on Xinjiang and require regular reports on the camps, the surveillance network, and the security threats posed by the crackdown. 

Reported by Shohret Hoshur for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Translated by Mamatjan Juma. Written in English by Paul Eckert.

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