Kazakh man jailed in Xinjiang forced to denounce Pompeo on camera, says activist

Published (HKT): 2021.04.06 06:35

An ethnic Kazakh man now being held in an internment camp in China’s Xinjiang region was coerced by authorities into denouncing former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on camera, a human rights activist said.

Serikzhan Bilash, the founder of Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights, cited as his source a Kazakh woman who was demonstrating outside the Chinese consulate in the Kazakhstan city of Almaty on Saturday.

According to Bilash, the woman said her husband had been detained in an internment camp in Xinjiang for 14 months, during which the authorities had made many “strange demands” of him, such as criticizing Pompeo on camera.

In order to get his passport back and be freed from the camp, he had been told he must divorce his wife, the woman said, according to Bilash. She had claimed mainland authorities had threatened her husband would be sentenced to death if his wife didn’t stop protesting in Kazakhstan, Bilash said.

The pair would be given 100,000 yuan (US$15,230) if she stopped, she said, adding: “I don’t even know who Pompeo is!”

Ethnic Kazakhs have also been detained in Xinjiang re-education camps, alongside Uyghurs, according to reports.

Bilash set up the human rights group in 2017, cataloguing witness statements about human rights abuses of ethnic minorities in mainland China. He had collected over 30,000 reports so far, he said.

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