FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2019
As Uighur Muslims Demand Video Evidence of Loved Ones, USCIRF Chair Tenzin Dorjee Calls on China to Release Prisoner of Conscience Gulmira Imin
WASHINGTON, DC – Tenzin Dorjee, chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), today called on China to immediately release Gulmira Imin, an imprisoned Uighur Muslim in Xinjiang. In July 2009, Chinese authorities cracked down on anti-government riots in the regional capital, Urumqi. On July 14, 2009, Ms. Imin, a moderator of a Uighur-language website for news and culture, was arrested. On April 1, 2010, Ms. Imin was sentenced to life imprisonment for organizing the riots, which she denies.
Following the Chinese government’s release on Sunday of a video allegedly showing a popular Uighur Muslim poet and musician alive, thousands of Uighur Muslims in the United States and around the world have called upon China to release videos of their loved ones.
“This year will mark 10 years since Gulmira Imin was given a life sentence. USCIRF again condemns the unsubstantiated charges against Ms. Imin and urges the Chinese authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally,” said Chair Dorjee, who advocates on behalf of Ms. Imin through USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project. “I commend the efforts of activists and relatives of those detained to demand evidence of their loved ones’ well-being. Ultimately, the Chinese government must release the millions of Muslims it has arbitrarily and unjustly detained.”
USCIRF has condemned China’s intensified “sinicization” campaign to control, govern, and manipulate all aspects of faith into a socialist mold with “Chinese characteristics.” According to the U.S. Department of State, the Chinese government has detained between 800,000 and two million Uighur Muslims in internment camps.
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.