China Aid Association
(XINJIANG – June 12, 2009) The Urumqi authorities in Xinjiang arrested and detained university students belonging to a Muslim Fellowship and fined them each, 5,000 Yuan. Two of the students are still being detained, and authorities have threatened them with more severe punishment.
At 11 a.m. on May 10, 2009, seven university students belonging to a Muslim Fellowship group were gathering at Xinjiang University, when two police officers from the local Domestic Security Protection Squad, and more than 10 other individuals in plainclothes, suddenly broke into the meeting site and arrested all of the students. The Domestic Security Protection Squad officers did not present identification or legal documents authorizing the arrest. Authorities handcuffed the students and escorted them to an office. After interrogating the students, officials sent them to a detention center where each received 15 days of detention and a 5,000 Yuan fine for “holding an illegal gathering.” At the time of this press release, two students are still being detained: Yuesefujiang, a 27-year-old graduate student from Department of Economic Management of Xinjiang University, and Maimaitijiang, a 24-year-old junior.
When ChinaAid was contacted about this case, the persecuted Muslim students initially claimed to be Christians, fearing that otherwise, their case would not be made public. However, after thorough investigation, it was found that the students were Muslims. ChinaAid president, Bob Fu, stated, “As a Christian organization, we are working for religious freedom for all. As long as these Muslims are not committing criminal activities, they are not subject to persecution simply because of their religious activities.”
The Muslim Fellowship students follow the teachings of Wahhabism, a fundamentalist denomination of Islam which originated from an Islamic missionary in Saudi Arabia. According to ChinaAid contacts, some of these students have heard the Gospel for many years but have never accepted it, yet they will sometimes claim to be Christians to protect themselves and to advance their religion.
ChinaAid calls on Xinjiang authorities to release Yuesefujiang and Maimaitijiang. ChinaAid also urges authorities in Xinjiang to respect Chinese citizens’ religious freedoms and to handle with caution cases involving Chinese citizens who are of ethnic minorities and are accused of “attending an illegal gathering.”
Contact the Chinese Ambassador and request the immediate release of Yuesefujiang and Maimaitijiang. Urge the Chinese government to respect the Muslim students’ religious freedom as stated in China’s Constitution and in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2000
Fax: (202) 588-9760