|Ertai Sultanbek’s siblings advocate for his
release. (Photo: ChinaAid)
(Ili Kazakh, Xinjiang—June 12, 2018) Ertai Sultanbek, a famous Kazakh poet and writer from China’s northwestern Xinjiang, has been arrested and sent to a reformation center for writing a poem that praised Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
At a press conference earlier this month in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Serikjan Bilash of the Atajurt Youth Volunteer Group informed media outlets of Sultanbek’s arrest by the police in Xinjiang’s Ili Prefecture. Sultanbek’s brother, Jenisbek Sultanbek, and sister, Nurgul Sultanbek, both attended the press conference in Almaty and revealed that before his arrest, Ertai instructed them to get help from his friend, Dukan Masimhan, in case he was arrested. Masimhan is the Chinese Studies department chair at Eurasian National University reportedly has a good relationship with the Chinese government.
Ertai stated in the message to his siblings that he did nothing wrong with the poem because he dedicated the poem to the friendship between China and Kazakhstan. Jenisbek Sultanbek likewise insisted that Ertai’s arrest was unreasonable and that his brother is not affiliated with any religious group. He also asked Kazakh President Nazarbayev to intervene on Ertai’s behalf.
The Xinjiang government has continuously performed large scale arrests of ethnic minorities over the past few years.
ChinaAid endeavors to expose the abuse conducted by the Chinese government in the case of Ertai Sultanbek in order to promote human rights, the rule of law, and freedom of religion.