|A minority woman talks about her husband’s
poor treatment at the hands of the Xinjiang
government in this undated photo.
(Ili Kazakh, Xinjiang—May 23, 2018) The Office of Stability Maintenance placed several sanctions upon the people of Ili Kazakh and Xinjiang forcing fasts to be broken. This is occurring during a wider crackdown in the region that is separating families.
On May 17, the first day of Ramadan, the Office of Stability Maintenance issued a notification that ordered the government sympathizers of Han descent, the majority descent of China, to force the Muslim population of Ili Kazakh to stop fasting. This is an issue because according to Islamic doctrine, during Ramadan, all must participate in a fast except the sick, the old, the children, and the women who are breastfeeding. Traditionally, Muslims may resume their eating after sunset.
To implement this act, the local government distributed a detailed timeline of Ramadan to the Han officers in order for them to inspect exactly when the Muslims fasted. This timeline also helped the Han officers know exactly when the sunrise and the sunset occurred in each specific area of the region. This allowed them to know exactly when to force the Muslims to break their fasting. One anonymous Muslim from the community stated that during Ramadan, every Muslim household within Ili Kazakh was assigned a Han officer to monitor them. The Han’s job during Ramadan was to make sure that the Muslim’s were not fasting and to also educate their assigned household about patriotism and atheism.
ChinaAid discovered from multiple Muslim sources in Ili Kazakh and Changji that the government also forces the local restaurants to keep operating during Ramadan and the students to eat during school. The government stated that those who defied them would be punished and may even be sent to a reformation center. Reformation centers are home to people who are captured and tortured simply due to their race or beliefs.
Sanctions, such as this one placed on Muslims, are occurring amidst a widespread wave of persecution that is also separating entire families.
Yerjiang Nurmuhan, a citizen of Kazakhstan who was on good terms with the Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan, believed that the government would protect his family members in his hometown. Nurmuhan was devastated to learn that the government forbade his wife and daughters to travel abroad. Nurmuhan stated during a video: “Last year, the government of Xinjiang required them to go back and took away their passports once they landed. It’s been a year. In the past year, I couldn’t meet them or reach them.” Nurmuhan is in the process of pleading to Mr. Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, and the United Nations for assistance regarding the reunion of his family. Nurmuhan’s younger brother is also trying to help by facilitating communication between China and Kazakhstan through his video production company. The company created several Kazakh influenced channels on the Xinjiang TV station and also invited singers from Kazakhstan to perform in Xinjiang.
Yerjiang Nurmuhan and his wife and daughters are not the only incidents of forced family separation.
Dairbek Gulmira is a 20-year-old Kazakh woman. She and her parents immigrated to Kazakhstan from China and lived in the Wulijiali county of East Kazakhstan. A year ago, her parents travelled to China and she has not heard from them since. Gulmira was absolutely devastated and said that she was not even sure if they were alive. Gulmira pleaded desperately to officials in Kazakhstan, “I attend university in east Kazakhstan. In December 2016, my parents went to China to visit family relatives, but they never came back. I can’t reach them, and I don’t know if they are still alive. I miss my parents very much, and I am extremely worried. I hope the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan can help them go home.”
Darkbek Gulmira’s parents paid her college tuition, and because they are detained in China, Gulmira can no longer support herself or continue her education.
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Muslims and divided families within Ili Kazakh and Xinjiang, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.