Unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing the Uyghur people in East Turkestan.
Charge: Inciting separatism and leaking state secrets
Sentence: 15 years
Location: Xinjiang No. 3 Prison, Urumchi
Alimjan Yimit is a Uyghur Christian, who was detained in Kashgar on January 12, 2008. According to China Aid, witnesses saw Alimjan escorted to Nongsanshi hospital in Kashgar Hospital on March 1, 2009, where it is claimed he was “crying out to onlookers that he had been beaten in the detention center.” On August 6, 2009, after a closed trial, the Kashgar Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to a 15-year jail term for providing state secrets to overseas organizations.
According to Alimjan’s lawyer, an appeal was denied by the People’s High Court of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on March 16, 2010. A petition to further appeal the sentencing was denied on December 27, 2010. Throughout Alimjan’s case there are reports that his lawyers have been denied access to visit him in detention. Videos on Alim’s case, his life and appeals for his release can be seen here: 1, 2, 3.
In April 2008, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, comprising a panel of international human rights experts, rendered the opinion that Alimjan Yimit’s detention is arbitrary and in contravention of articles 7, 9, 10, 11 (1), 12, and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
There are a small number of Uyghurs in East Turkestan who are Christians. A website run by the Living Faith Church claims that Christianity first gained a foothold in East Turkestan with the establishment of a Swedish Mission in Kashgar in the late nineteenth century. According to the article, by 1939 the Christian community in Kashgar numbered 500. In the contemporary era, no accurate number of Uyghur Christians exists due to the out-of-necessity clandestine nature of their religious worship. An anecdotal account of one Uyghur Christian’s conversion from Islam to Christianity provides details on the secrecy of Christian worship in East Turkestan and the pressures faced by Uyghur Christians from the Chinese government.
Sign UHRP's petition to release all 8 prisoners in this campaign
Sign the petition to Free Alim.
Uyghur Christians in Muslim Xinjiang (Far West China, 2010)
China’s grim religious freedom problem (Religion News Service, July 30, 2014)
Read the section of UHRP’s report, Sacred Right Defiled: China’s Iron-Fisted Repression of Uyghur Religious Freedom dealing with Uyghur Christians (starting on page 79)
See the China section of the International Religious Freedom Report for 2013 (US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor)
See the China section of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom Annual Report (USCIRF 2014)