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Uyghur PEN Centre Conference in Crimea 19 July 2012.
 

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  • ‘Our souls are dead’: how I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs

    After 10 years living in France, I returned to China to sign some papers and I was locked up. For the next two years, I was systematically dehumanised, humiliated and brainwashedby Gulbahar Haitiwaji with Rozenn Morgat The man on the phone said he worked for the oil company, “In accounting, actually”. His voice was unfamiliar to me. At first, I couldn’t make sense of what he was calling about. It was November 2016, and I had been on unpaid leave from the company since I left China and moved to France 10 years earlier. There was static on the line; I had a hard time hearing him. “You must come back to Karamay to sign documents concerning your forthcoming retirement, Madame Haitiwaji,” he said. Karamay was the city in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang where I’d worked for the oil company for more than 20 years. “In that case, I’d like to grant power of attorney,” I said. “A friend of mine in Karamay takes care of my administrative affairs. Why should I come back for some paperwork? Why go all that way for such a trifle? Why now?” The man had no answers for me. He simply said he would call me back in two days after looking into the possibility of letting my friend act on my behalf. My husband, Kerim, had left Xinjiang in 2002 to look for work. He tried first in Kazakhstan, but came back disillusioned after a year. Then in Norway. Then France, where he had applied for asylum. Once he was settled there, our two girls and I would join him. Kerim had always known he would leave Xinjiang. The idea had taken root even before we were hired by the oil company. We had met as students in Urumqi, the largest city in Xinjiang province, and, as new […]

     
  • Uyghur PEN Centre Online Revitalisation Project

    AZIZ ISA ELKUN Director of Uyghur PEN Centre Online Revitalisation ProjectBoard member of Uyghur PEN CentreEmail: aziz.isaa@gmail.com Aziz Isa Elkun is a writer, poet and academic. He was born in Shayar County in East Turkistan. He graduated from Urumchi University. He has been living in London since 2001. In London, he studied at Birkbeck University. He has published many poems, stories, and research articles in both Uyghur and and English language (www.azizisa.org). He has co-authored English language articles in Inner Asia and Central Asian Survey (‘Invitation to a Mourning Ceremony’: Perspectives on the Uyghur Internet and Islam by smartphone: reading the Uyghur Islamic revival on WeChat’). From 2013 to 2020, he worked as a Research Assistant on the “Sounding Islam China” and “Uyghur Meshrep in Kazakhstan” (www.meshrep.uk) projects based at SOAS, University of London. In 2012, he published his first book “Journey from Danube river to the Orkhun valley” in Uyghur. He is an active member of the exile Uyghur Community and founder of a Uyghur music group – the London Uyghur Ensemble. From September 2017 to October 2020, he has served as Secretary of the PEN International Uyghur Centre (www.uyghurpen.org). Since January 2021, he is working as a Director for the Uyghur PEN Centre Online Revitalisation Project. Uyghur PEN Centre Online Revitalisation Project As we all know, the current situation of the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China is critical and deteriorating. Uyghur writers, poets, academics and artists who have tried to exercise their basic rights to freedom of expression have become primary targets and victims of China’s Xi Jinping’s genocidal policies in the region. The Uyghur PEN Centre, a subordinate diaspora PEN Centre of the PEN International family, has encountered many hurdles over the past 10 years like many other exile writers, however we are determined to continue our work and give […]

     
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  • Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2020: Take Action for Chimengül Awut

    Name: Chimengül AwutOccupation: Editor, award-winning Uyghur-language poetSituation: Imprisoned without trial in ‘re-education camp’ #ImprisonedWriter #ChimengulAwut Read Ma Thida’S Solidarity Letter To Chimengül Chimengül Awut is an editor and poet from Kashgar, southern Xinjiang. She published her first poem in 1987, at the age of fourteen, and has since developed a substantial body of work. In 2008, Chimengül’s collection of poetry received a prestigious Horse Award for national minority literature. At the time of her detention, Chimengül worked as an editor at the Kashgar Publishing House in Xinjiang. In July 2018, public security officials in Kashgar sent 13 employees of the Kashgar Publishing House, including Chimengül Awut, to Xinjiang’s ‘re-education’ camps. She was allegedly targeted because of her work editing a Uyghur-language novel called Golden Shoes (Altun Kesh) by Halide İsra’il, who also has been detained in Xinjiang’s ‘re-education’ camps. Owing to the extra-legal nature of the ‘re-education’ camps, she was not found guilty of committing a crime through any formal legal process and there is no official date for her release. All contact with the outside world is prohibited by the security services. Her current health and well-being are unknown. It is estimated that up to 1.8 million people like Chimengül could be held in a network of secretive ‘re-education’ camps. PEN International considers Chimengül Awut’s persecution to be a clear breach of her right to freedom of expression and calls for her to be immediately and unconditionally released. Take Action Send an appeal to the Chinese authorities Tell others: share Chimengül’s case and her work Give to our Day of Imprisoned Writer appeal Read Ma Thida’s solidarity letter to Chimengül Send an appeal to the Chinese authorities Ask the authorities to: Provide information on Chimengül Awut’s current status, and allow for independent verification. Release Chimengül Awut and her colleagues immediately and unconditionally. End the practice of […]

     
  • Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2020

    Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2020 On 15 November, the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, PEN International calls for urgent international action to protect writers and journalists across the globe, who increasingly find themselves targeted for their peaceful free expression work. Imprisoned writers rely on PEN to advocate for their freedom and to defy those who want to silence them. From practical support for writers seeking asylum or in exile, to using our platforms to share their words, to putting pressure on the powerful – this work is only possible with your support. Source: PEN Internationalhttps://pen-international.org/protecting-writers-at-risk/day-of-the-imprisoned-writer-2020

     
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  • Free Yalqun Rozi

     
  • China: Free Ilham Tohti

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

     
  • Let’s write for freedom, let the “Wild pigeon” go free!

     
  • Appointment of UHRP Board Chair Nury Turkel to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

     
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