The Uyghur dissident intellectual has been fighting for years with the Beijing authorities. The battle with “tweets” with the Chinese embassy in Ankara. Family members interned to force him to silence. A brother and grandson imprisoned in a concentration camp in Xinjiang. Another brother reduced to paralysis for the torture he suffered in captivity.
Ankara (AsiaNews) – “In Xinjiang, Beijing behaves like a fascist state. It’s an anti-human regime. ” This is what Abdulreşit Celil Karluk, Uyghur academician of the Haci Bayram Veli University of Ankara tells AsiaNews. The sociologist, an expert on ethnic issues in China, has not had direct contact with loved ones since 2017. He accuses the Chinese authorities of persecuting his family for his complaints against the repression of the Uyghurs. A brother was left paralyzed from torture in an internment camp; another brother and nephew are in prison for terrorism. According to the United Nations and many governments in the West, in Xinjiang, which the local Turkish-speaking population of Islamic faith calls “Eastern Turkestan”, Beijing holds over a million people arbitrarily – an accusation that the Chinese leadership rejects. Below we publish Karluk’s testimony.
“As a human being, I must denounce the crimes of this 21st century fascism. The Chinese authorities persecute my family to shut my mouth, but I never gave up. I cannot remain silent in the face of the atrocities committed by the regime in eastern Turkestan [Xinjiang] ”. It is the testimony of Abdürreşit Celil Karluk, Uyghur sociologist of the Haci Bayram Veli University of Ankara, who has not had direct news of his family since 2017.
From that moment, he began to tell the story of his family in public: an insight into the condition of his people, in particular the forced internment of over one million Uyghurs in concentration camps, denounced by the United Nations, by many governments in the West and by human rights lawyers – but denied by Beijing.
“I was born in Kashgar – Karluk tells AsiaNews – and in 2013 I left China while teaching at the Sociology department of Minzu University [central university for nationalities] in Beijing. The rise to power of Xi Jinping, a far more nationalist leader than his predecessors and possible rivals in the Chinese Communist Party [CCP], prompted me to repair in Turkey. Now I teach at Haci Bayram Veli University in Ankara and I have acquired Turkish citizenship for special academic merits. “
Until 2017, Karluk has focused on his academic career. “I started to make my voice heard when I no longer received information from my family, and news began to emerge about the imprisonment and torture of millions of Uyghurs in eastern Turkestan.”
The sociologist tells of the hundreds of students in different parts of the world who support him: “Many are helping me. I continue to teach, I hold seminars, I speak with human rights activists to make the oppressive CCP policy known to as many people as possible. I will continue on this path, so that everyone can oppose the ‘anti-human’ regime in Beijing. “
His denunciation of the treatment reserved for family members, such as the torture and persecution suffered by the Uyghur people, has affected Turkish public opinion, also receiving support from the local academic and political world. Karluk has engaged in a real battle on Twitter with the Chinese authorities, who have tried to dismantle his accusations. In the end, however, the Beijing embassy in Ankara released information on the condition of his family, partially confirming his positions.
“I was able to find out that some of my relatives are still under arrest,” notes the Uyghur academician. The embassy said that his younger brother, Abudugepaer Jelili (Abdulgaffar Celil in the Uyghur language), was sentenced to 11 years in prison for terrorist activities.
The last information that Karluk had about him was that he was put in an internment camp, sentenced to 11 years of forced labor. “Chinese diplomats in Ankara claim that Abudugepaer’s wife and two children live in peace in Kashgar. But she too was interned in a camp, and my nieces and nephews were left without family care in an unknown location for some time.”
One of the sociologist’s nephews, Maimaitituerhong Jelili (Mamaturghun Celil), is locked up in a concentration camp to serve a 15-year sentence: he too for terrorism. For Karluk, that aimed at the boy is a “disgusting” accusation. “Maimaitituerhong’s father, my older brother Abulimiti Jelili (Abdulhemit Celil), lives ‘free’ with his wife. In the past, however, he was in one of the internment camps in the Urumqi area.”
According to the embassy, Karluk’s mother, Awahan Maimaiti (Havahan Mehmet), suffers from Alzheimer’s and is cared for by a family member. “The last time I spoke to her – the dissident reports – is by phone in 2017. I then tried several times to contact her, but in vain. I later learned that all calls from abroad to eastern Turkestan were controlled, and that my mother had to ask the authorities for permission to answer my calls.”
As for another of his brothers, Jiapaer Jelili (Cappar Celil), Chinese diplomats say he had a cerebral hemorrhage in 2017, and is currently paralyzed. “However, they did not specify that his state of health is due to the torture and medical experiments he was subjected to in a prison camp. They also denied him medical treatment in the hospital. His wife lives in Kashgar with four children; she too has been imprisoned in the past and separated from her children,” Karluk concludes.