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Defending free expression

 
  • Uyghur writer Omerjan Hasan has been arrested and his fate is unknown

    Omerjan Hasan (ethnicity Uyghur, male, 51 years, Chinese citizen; name in Chinese: Wumei’erjiang Aishan – 吾买尔江.艾山, in Uyghur:Omerjan Hasan Bozqir) a well-known Uyghur writer, journalist and webmaster. He was formerly employed as a translator and vice director of the Forestry section of the Aksu Prefecture Forestry Department. He was arrested in around April 2016 according to the Washington-based Radio Free Asia Cantonese and Uyghur Services which first reported his arrest in July 2016. (1) In September 2016, friends of Omerjan Hasan contacted the WUC to say that they were very concerned about his current situation, and that since his arrest in April 2016, his family and friends had not been informed of his whereabouts, and there was still no announcement of official charges against him.  According to the Radio Free Asia Cantonese news report and interview on 1st June 2016, an official announcement was published on the Aksu Prefectural Communist Party Disciplinary Committee website. The announcement stated that Omerjan Hasan had been expelled from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) because he had published articles which promoted an incorrect impression of the history of Xinjiang, endangering national and ethnic unity, and damaging the image of the CCP. Soon after this news was published on the Aksu government website, it spread to international news media, and the announcement was quickly removed. Subsequently the Radio Free Asia Uyghur Service conducted a telephone interview in Aksu covering Omerjan Hasan’s arrest. (2) Omerjan Hasan wrote and published many books and articles which aimed to promote equal civil and political rights for Uyghurs in China. He was well known to the Uyghur community by his pen name “Omerjan Hasan Bozqir”. He also had a good reputation in the wider Chinese-speaking sphere for his Chinese language articles. He was owner and webmaster of a Uyghur language website and discussion forum […]