My Astonished Brother-in-Law’s 17-Year Prison Sentence

A Uyghur woman who continues to speak out about her family being detained by the Chinese Communist Party has opened up her heart.


Team Lead at Save Uighur

Gulruy Asqar

Born and raised in East Turkestan, she graduated from Xinjiang University in 2000. She holds a master’s degree in education from Freed-Hardeman University in the U.S. She came to the U.S. shortly after the Urumqi massacre in July 2009 and now lives in Virginia.


Alim Sulayman: Dentist at the Uyghur Traditional Medicine Hospital in Shaya country, East Turkestan. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

I have two brothers-in-law who are currently detained by the CCP. One is Alim Sulayman. He is my husband’s younger brother. He moved to Turkey in 2014 to study Turkish language and then returned to a hospital in the Shaya country of East Turkestan, where he worked as a dentist. However, he was detained in June 2016. He was in his early 30s and had a fiancée, but he was abducted just before his wedding.

The reason behind his arrest has been unknown, because my husband couldn’t talk to anybody from his family who lives in Shaya country since June 2016. Then, about a year ago, I was shocked to know that Alim had been sentenced by the court to 17 years in prison.


My Brother-in-Law, a History Professor, Was Also Detained in Camp

Azmat Bahti: Professor of History teaching at the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Teachers’ College in Urumqi, East Turkistan. He was arrested for being a Uyghur. It is believed that he is probably serving a prison sentence.

The second is Azmat Bahti, husband of my second eldest sister. He was a professor of history and taught at the Army University in Urumqi, the capital of East Turkistan, when he was taken from his workplace in May 2021. He was detained once in early 2019 and released before the end of the year. I remained silent because people around me told me, “If he gets re-educated, he may be released soon.” A couple of months ago, I found out that the Chinese authorities were going to start Azmat’s trial. Azmat is really a manly man and will stand up for what he thinks is right, so he should be seriously punished in court.

I had a gut feeling that “things were headed for the worst,” so I contacted various journalists and began actively complaining on social networking sites about the missing families. I believe the Chinese authorities targeted Azmat because he teaches history. This is because China wants to erase the Uyghur country, its history, culture, traditions, religion and everything else.


Frequent Chinese Language Phone Calls

As I continue this activity, I am routinely pressured by the Chinese authorities. Using family members is a common practice of the Chinese authorities, and my family members living in Uyghur told me not to do anything wrong.

Another common means is a Chinese phone call. For example, I receive a call that says,“This is the Chinese Embassy in Houston. I have in my possession important documents of yours. Please call at this number.” I call the designated number and I ask, “Who are you? Are you from the embassy? ” The person on the other end of the phone is not from the embassy. I have had many such calls. I have also almost had unauthorized logins from another cities to my social networking site. It was scary at first, but it happened so often that I got used to it.

What we fear is forced abduction and organ harvesting. I once saw a special passageway at the airport in Urumqi for carrying boxes containing organs. The CCP is so cruel that they have created a database of Uyghur DNA and harvested organs from Uyghurs in concentration camps. All Uyghurs whose loved ones were taken away are clearly aware of this. The detention of Alim and Azmat is a real danger.


If They Do Not Marry Their Daughters, They Will Be Put in Camps

In addition to holding many Uyghurs in camps and prisons, the CCP has uprooted Uyghurs from various cities in East Turkestan and forced them to work in factories throughout mainland China, for example in Shanghai, Anhui and Zhejiang.

We are collecting TikTok videos and disseminating them on SNS. One of them is a video of a Uyghur woman being forced to pick cotton by her employer, a Chinese man. It is truly heartbreaking when a woman is asked by a Chinese person how much she earns per kilo of cotton, and she replies, “$0.15.” They are indeed forced to work as slave laborers.

Uyghur Women Forced to Work for Little Compensation

All of these are from Twitter: March 9, 2021, Save Uighur@SaveUighurUS

Meanwhile, the Han Chinese is migrating to East Turkestan from the interior with the promise of free housing. They can also freely choose their marriage partners, saying, “I want that girl from this village.” The Uyghurs have no choice but to give up their daughters to the Han Chinese men because if they do not marry their own daughters, they will be put in camps. There are many TikTok videos of the Han Chinese and Uighur marriages, but the brides do not look happy at all.


Companies That Profit From Genocide

Late last year, U.S. automaker Tesla has opened a showroom in Urumqi. We got angry and called Tesla to protest, “Elon Musk CEO, you should pull out of this contract.” But there was no response. Japanese companies like Uniqlo may also use Uyghur laborers at very low wages to keep the cost of producing goods low. They profit from genocide. They have lost their sense of corporate social responsibility by prioritizing profit over human dignity and completely ignoring genocide.

If the Japanese government does not sanction such companies, it has no sense of responsibility and is part of genocide. Western countries have declared China’s Uyghur oppression as genocide, but I have not heard that Japan has taken such actions.


The Japanese Government Should Certify Genocide

First, I demand that the Japanese government “certify the genocide”. Then, concrete options will follow. The Japanese government should sanction the Chinese officials who orchestrated the genocide, sanction the companies, take practical measures such as business restrictions and tariffs, and provide clear guidelines for Japanese companies.

Fortunately, the U.S. Congress passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Act and other legislation. Even this is not enough and we expect more actionable and beneficial measures. China always says that the Uyghur issue is an “internal affair,” but the government of one country is committing such a major crime. It is never an internal political issue. It is a humanitarian issue, a problem for all humanity.

My Astonished Brother-in-Law’s 17-Year Prison Sentence
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