Database Entry: Xinjiang Authorities Arrest Prominent Uyghurs in Public to Instill Fear

Xinjiang Authorities Arrest Prominent Uyghurs in Public to Instill Fear

November 14, 2019
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“The public arrests of prominent Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities is part of a bid by authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) to instill fear in the local population, according to Uyghur sources in exile.”

“Perhaps the most terrifying arrests are those of prominent intellectuals, businessmen, and religious figures, which often take place in public forums, such as their place of work or worship, and appear aimed at sending a message to the rest of the community to stay in line.

One such arrest was recently detailed to RFA by the secretary of the ruling Communist Party in a township in the XUAR’s Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture, who spoke to condition of anonymity, for fear of reprisal.

The secretary, who was attending a ceremony at a government building in Hotan’s Grand Bazaar, said that Tursun Tohtahun, the 30-year-old imam of the area’s Bostan Mosque, was arrested along with at least 10 other people, as hundreds of people looked on.

According to the secretary, police stood in front of the crowd and called out the names of the men to be detained, before they were handcuffed, hooded, and led away to waiting vans. No explanation was given for their arrest, he said, and bystanders did not speak out against the authorities.”