CCP Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have sentenced the wife of a jailed Uyghur taxi driver and mother of two to at least three years in prison for weeping in front of a foreigner, saying she had disclosed “state secrets,” according to sources in the region.
CCP throws man in jail then locks up his wife for crying
In April 2020, RFA’s Uyghur Service reported on the case of Shireli Memtili, a taxi driver in Ghulja (in Chinese, Yining) city’s Hanbing township who was detained in November 2018 and sentenced to 200 months in jail in May 2019 for driving the religious figure—likely a non-state-sanctioned imam—and receiving “illegal religious education” from him.
Sources told RFA at the time that Memtili’s mother Aygul Turahan was sentenced in early 2019 to a decade in prison after she was detained for moving her household registration, or hukou, from Ili Kazakh (Yili Hasake) Autonomous Prefecture’s Tekes (Tekesi) county to Ghulja’s Hanbing neighborhood nine years earlier.
However, RFA recently learned from a source claiming inside knowledge of the situation in Ghulja that Memtili’s wife, Munira, who was left alone at home with her two children, was taken to a police station on a June night last year with a black hood over her head and later charged with “revealing state secrets.”
According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisal, the day before her disappearance, Munira went to the Ghulja city Public Security Bureau, where she requested permission to videochat with her husband, who is serving his sentence in Shiho (Wusu) city, in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture’s Tarbaghatay (Tacheng) prefecture. The police reportedly denied her request.
The Chinese government are committing genocide in the Xinjiang region
As she returned home from the city to Hanbing, a businesswoman from Kyrgyzstan was sitting next to her on the bus, the source said. The two began speaking, and when the businesswoman asked about her husband, Munira could not hold back her tears.
The bus driver reportedly warned Munira not to “upset the mood of the foreign guests.” The source said Munira was taken into custody by CCP police on the basis of the bus driver’s report and was later convicted of leaking state secrets for “masterfully” informing foreigners that her husband was being held in captivity.
Authorities in the XUAR are believed to have held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in a vast network of internment camps since early 2017 as part of a policy of mass extralegal incarceration in the region.
While Beijing initially denied the existence of the camps, China last year changed tack and began describing the facilities as “boarding schools” that provide vocational training for Uyghurs, discourage radicalization, and help protect the country from terrorism.