Akbar Imin

Charge: Separatism
Sentence: 3-8 years (specific length unknown)
Location: Unknown


Akbar Imin came to Beijing in 2002 to attend Central Nationalities (Minzu) University and graduated in 2006. He then worked in the inaugural phase of the Aizhixing Insitute’s Uyghur Migrant Health Education and Rights Protection program, carrying out health education, running the Center’s Uyghur website, and conducting research on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and prevention policy.

In 2009 Imin went to work for the ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development, the only other organization in Beijing dedicated to Uyghur migrants, where he was in charge of the Uyghur Migrant Population Drug Reduction program. 

Police in Urumchi detained Akbar Imin in Urumchi on January 15 when he was in the city to attend his father’s funeral. He was sentenced with the group of 6 other students of Ilham Tohti for his work on the Uighurbiz website.


The HIV/AIDS epidemic has ravaged the Uyghur people in East Turkestan for decades, with an inadequate response by the government, coupled with brutal suppression of grassroots efforts to halt the spread of disease, as in the case of Akbar Imin.

The Ghulja massacre in February 1998, in addition to leaving scores of innocent Uyghurs like Abdurazzak Shamseden in prison, also marked the government’s brutal rejection of a grassroots initiative to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by intravenous drug users. The massacre occurred in response to the meshrep movement, which mobilized Uyghur communities along religious lines to prevent drug usage, which was largely responsible for the spread of HIV/AIDS. UHRP director, Alim Seytoff wrote on the AIDS epidemic for the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Analyst in 2000. 

As scholar Anna Hayes notes in her 2011 paper, almost 40 percent of HIV infections in China occur in the Uyghur region, and 85 percent of individuals affected there are Uyghurs. She cites activists who view the government’s lack of response to HIV/AIDS as “a deliberate program of genocide.” Certainly, the government crackdown on grassroots HIV activism since the disease first came to the region has contributed to the crisis today.

Get involved:

Sign UHRP’s petition to release all 8 prisoners in this campaign

Read/listen/watch on:

See an Al Jazeera English report on Chinese censorship surrounding HIV/AIDS in inner China. Since Imin’s work in Beijing was focused on providing services and research to benefit Uyghur communities affected by the disease, it involved an even higher degree of sensitivity to the Chinese state.

HIV/AIDS Spreads Among Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang (Radio Free Asia: August 11, 2015)
Capitalism-loving disease: Xinjiang hidden HIV epidemic. (Hopes and Fears: August 3, 2015)
Uyghur Public Health Worker Arrested on State Security Charges (Chinese Human Rights Defenders: March 13, 2014)
China detains Uighur AIDS activist amid crackdown (Reuters: March 10, 2014)
HIV/AIDS in Xinjiang: A Serious “Ill” In An “Autonomous” Region (International Journal of Asia Pacific Studies: 2012)
The Pain of a Nation: The Invisibility of Uyghurs in China Proper (The Equal Rights Review: 2011)
AIDS Activist's Dream 'Died' (Radio Free Asia: June 26, 2008)
HIV/AIDS in Xinjiang: A Growing Regional Challenge (China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly: 2006)
China’s Muslims Awake to Nexus of Needles and AIDS (New York Times, November 12: 2006)
Chinas Muslim Uyghurs See Sharp Rise in AIDS Infections (Radio Free Asia: November 30, 2004)


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