Xinjiang authorities confiscate works by Kazakh, Turkish, and Kyrgyz writers

Citizen checkpoints such as this one in
Ili register the identities of everyone who
enters. (Photo: ChinaAid)


Updated at 1:25 p.m. on April 4, 2018, to correct a previous misspelling.

(Ili Uyghur Autonomous Region, Xinjiang—March 30, 2018) Xinjiang authorities are waging an ideological war against authors and poets from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey, ordering their works confiscated in order to determine whether or not they contain teachings that oppose the agenda of the Chinese Communist Party.

The confiscations represent an escalation of an ongoing crackdown against minority ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on China’s western border.

The Xinjiang Writers Association recently reported that superior government departments ordered the Kazakh Department of Culture to censor all Kazakh books published since the Cultural Revolution, as well as increasing the censorship of magazines and newspapers in Xinjiang. A former member of the association who fled China told ChinaAid that the government operatives had to carry out this missive secretly, going from door-to-door to search for books by Kazakhstan’s writers and poets. They plan on destroying them altogether.

Among the targeted are pieces by the famed Kazakh writer Mukhtar Shakhanov, whose books were removed from bookstores and destroyed. Shakhanov won Kygyzstan’s National Poet Award and the Turkic National Poet Award among other international awards. His books are now banned in Xinjiang.

Another targeted writer is Chinghiz Aitmatov, who passed away in Nuremberg, Germany, nearly a decade ago. His works have been translated into more than 100 languages and enjoy widespread circulation across the globe. In 1990, Aitmatov was appointed to the Presidential Council of the Soviet Union. After the USSR’s disintegration, he became the Russian Ambassador to Luxembourg. Aitmatov also received an appointment as the Kyrgyz Ambassador to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg and became a representative of NATO and European communities. He originates from Kyrgyzstan, and his books were removed from bookstores in Xinjiang.

Works from Turkey are also reportedly being confiscated.

According to a former member of the Ili Writers Association, “Many people know that they should submit the Quran (for confiscation), but they have no idea that the banned materials also include books and poems by Kazakh writers.”

In addition, a resident of a suburb in Urumqi said that authorities are heavily patrolling the area, requiring security checks in many places. Iron gates surround residential areas, and those who enter and exit have to show their ID. Each person has to undergo two security checks when entering a mall. At the entrance to every village, forces comprised of individuals register all the IDs of those who enter.

ChinaAid exposes human rights abuses, such as the restriction, confiscation, and censorship of reading materials and unnecessary security checks, in order to stand for the victims and against China’s blatant violation of their rights to freedom of belief and rule of law.

ChinaAid Media Team
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