By BosNewsLife Asia Service
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– Uyghur Christian prisoner Alimujiang Yimiti was to appear in front of a Chinese court Tuesday, July 28, on what human rights groups have described as “false charges” of “revealing state secrets or intelligence to overseas organizations,” but his wife and children are not allowed to monitor the hearing, Christians said.
Yimiti has been detained at Kashi Municipal Detention center since January 12, 2008, despite international protests, trial observers said. Chinese Christians said the real reason for his imprisonment is his Christian faith and evangelising among the Uyghur population.
The European Union, the United States and the United Nations have reportedly expressed concerns about the case. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which investigated Alimujiang’s case, described Yimiti’s detention for more than one year as “arbitrary” and urged China to “correct” the situation.
Chinese Christians said Alimujiang’s wife Guli Nuer was notified on July 14 by the court in the city of
Kashgar in the western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region that the trial for her husband would be held on the morning of July 28.
Guli Nuer and their two children traveled to Kashgar in to attend the trial, but authorities informed her that neither she nor Alimujiang’s mother will be allowed to attend the trialat the Intermediate People’s Court of Kashgar, said advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA).
“The only ones permitted to attend the trial are two attorneys who are representing Alimujiang Yimiti, Li Dunyong and Liang Xiaojun,” CAA said.
Guli Nuer was reportedly warned by authorities not to become involved advocating and speaking out about her husband’s case. Officials allegedly told her that Alimjiang will not be released without charges. A former house church pastor and current CAA President Bob Fu told BosNewsLife that “ “Alimujiang is an innocent, law-abiding citizen.” He described the Christian also as a peacemaker between Han Chinese and Uyghurs,” at a time of mounting tensions between the to groups.
“He has even been sending his children intentionally to study Mandarin in school, even though they are Uyghurs, in order encourage them to be peacemakers. The recent violent riots in Xinjiang have shown that there is a great need for stability in the region.”
He said Chinese Christians, including the Uyghur Christians in Xinjiang, have never been involved in violent activities in Xinjiang. “The Chinese government should show they are seeking stability by releasing Alimujiang Yimiti.”
Another Uyghur Christian man, Wusiman Yiming, is also in prison in Xinjiang. He was sentenced to two years of re-education through labor in September 2007 for “revealing state secrets” and “illegal proselytizing.”
CAA quoted unidentified sources as saying that the real reason he was sentenced was because “of his boldness as a Christian and a leader in the Uyghur church.” Christians have said that he has aged “dramatically”in the labor camp and his health is deteriorating due to harsh conditions.
“We call upon the Chinese government to immediately release Alimujiang Yimiti and Wusiman Yiming, and bring justice to their illegal detentions which are in violation of both international law and China’s own criminal law code,” Fu added.
It comes amid mounting concerns about a reported crackdown on evangelical Christians in China. There are some 130 million Christians in the Communist-run nation, according to various estimates.
Chinese officials have denied allegations of human rights abuses.