FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2019
USCIRF Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee Calls for Release of Religious Prisoner of Conscience Gulmira Imin
WASHINGTON, DC – United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee today called on Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Gulmira Imin, a Uighur Muslim detained in 2009. Ms. Imin was a web administrator for the Uighur-language website Salkin.
“The extreme and unjust sentence imposed on Gulmira Imin foreshadowed the mass internment and other forms of persecution we see today against Uighur Muslims in China,” said Dorjee, who adopted Gulmira Imin in 2018 as part of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project. “The Chinese government used Ms. Imin as a scapegoat for unrest in Xinjiang rather than reflecting upon the role its repressive policies might have had in fueling discontent. We urge China to release Ms. Imin and the other Uighur Muslims that it has detained because of their religious or cultural identity.”
On July 14, 2009, following Uighur riots in Urumqi in response to the deaths of migrant Uighur workers in Guangdong Province, Ms. Imin was arrested and then was disappeared. The Chinese authorities claimed that she was an organizer of the protests and that she leaked state secrets to her husband in Norway — a charge she denied. On April 1, 2010, the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Ms. Imin to life in prison under Articles 103, 111 and 296 of China’s Criminal Law on charges of “splittism, leaking state secrets and organizing an illegal demonstration.” This sentencing was made public on August 8, 2010, four months after it was handed down.
USCIRF documented China’s abuses against Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and others in its 2019 Annual Report. USCIRF recommends that the U.S. government enact targeted sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for these abuses, especially Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or Kellie Boyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-703-898-6554.