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Uyghur News Recap: July 29 – August 5, 2022

FILE - A security person watches from a guard tower around a detention facility in Yarkent County in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, March 21, 2021.
FILE - A security person watches from a guard tower around a detention facility in Yarkent County in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, March 21, 2021.

Wife receives 'painful and uncomfortable' letter from Chinese husband imprisoned in Xinjiang

The wife of a Chinese man outspoken about Uyghur rights questioned a letter she recently received from her husband from inside a Xinjiang prison, reported RFA. Li Aijie, currently living in the U.S., said the letter was "hard to believe" because it said he ate well and ended by thanking the Chinese Communist Party, which she said is uncharacteristic of her husband who was a critic of the Chinese government and behind bars for spying and "incitement to subvert state power."

Photos show construction of new nuclear test in Xinjiang

Nikkei Asia reported evidence in Southeast Xinjiang of new construction from satellite photos believed to be a tunnel for nuclear testing in Lop Nur, a dried up lake. The report also said increased radiation has been detected in the area.

Uyghur schools outside China teach Uyghur children their language, culture

Diaspora Uyghur schools, including one featured by Aljazeera in Istanbul, teach Uyghur students their language and history during out-of-school hours. Some of the children's parents have been detained in China's internment camps. Uyghur rights activists said China had burned Qurans and persecuted Uyghurs in the camps. China said the facilities are reeducation camps to fight poverty and extremism.

Bill introduced to expand sanctions on Uyghur human rights abusers

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, a Republican, and Bob Menendez, a Democrat, introduced a bill this week which would impose secondary sanctions on companies and individuals that do business with or support those who are sanctioned for their involvement in Uyghur human rights abuses in China.

Beijing claims Joe Biden did not mention Uyghurs' plight in call with Xi Jinping

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused the White House of lying during a July 29 press conference. The White House said U.S. President Joe Biden mentioned Uyghur genocide and forced labor in China during a call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, which Zhao described as disinformation.

Companies scrambling to comply with Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

From toys to phones and cleaning supplies, companies across a variety of industries are trying to figure out how to comply with the new Uyghur forced labor law that requires businesses to prove that the goods they import from China's Xinjiang region are free of forced labor, according to Bloomberg Law.

News in brief

A RFA investigation found poet and associate professor Ablet Abdureshid Berqi, who studied at Haifa University in Israel and went back to work at the Xinjiang Education Institute in Urumqi, was arrested in 2017 by the Chinese government. The report said he was imprisoned for "separatism" and being a "threat to social stability" and sentenced to 13 years in prison. A police official mentioned "mistakes he made while teaching at school." A colleague said Berqi would have been a "top target" of Chinese authorities because he was an intellectual and writer. RFA confirmed that he is serving his term in a prison administered by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a state-owned economic and paramilitary organization in Xinjiang.

Quote of note

"We have to teach our children who we are, and that East Turkestan is our homeland so that they never forget where they belong. ... In China, we can no longer speak Uighur without being arrested."

— Habibullah Kuseni, 49-year-old founder of a Uyghur school in Selimpasa, Turkey