Uyghur Christian home after long imprisonment

Uyghur Christian home after long imprisonment

Uyghur Christian home after long imprisonment

Though little can be confirmed about the situation, a Christian in China has received some good news.

Alimujiang Yimiti, known by his nickname, Alim, converted from the Uyghur majority faith of Islam to Christianity in 1995. He went on to become a house church pastor to Uyghurs in Kashgar, Xinjiang, and in 2007, he caught the attention of Chinese police in that western region of the country.

Jonathan Dingler of ChinaAid, a human rights organization committed to promoting religious freedom and the rule of law in China, tells AFN police attention intensified over one incident that led to his arrest in January of 2008 for "inciting separatism" and "unlawfully providing state secrets to overseas organizations."

"This is really because Alim was talking to an American friend over the phone about him going to the police station, about them summoning him to the police station," Dingler details. "This charge was basically brought against him because he was having a private conversation and not even talking about anything that would be regarded as a state secret."

ChinaAid reports that two times before his final sentencing in August 2009, the court in Kashgar secretly tried Alim. After the first trial, they decided there was not enough evidence to convict him, and the prosecution dropped his separatism charge and tried him a second time a year later. For both secret trials, Alim's family was prohibited from attending.

He was ultimately sentenced to 15 years in prison in a region where one to two million Uyghurs are in concentration camps. According to witness testimonies in the Uyghur Tribunal in 2021, prisoners were forcefully sterilized, tortured, and "re-educated."

"Unfortunately, there's just not a lot that we know about Alim right now, because in this region, it's such a sensitive area with all of the news and the attention from the world," Dingler explains. "There's just not a lot that we can share, not a lot that we can confirm. But we do know that he has been released from prison and that he's with his family, and he's safe for now."

He adds, though, that it is safe to assume that Alim will be under the watchful eye of Chinese police and that he would likely face prison again if he returns to preaching.