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Uyghur teacher in China's Xinjiang serving 7-year imprisonment for instructing in local language

ANI - Update

Mar 12, 2022

Beijing [China], March 12 (ANI): A Uyghur educator, honoured previously by the government

for outstanding works, is serving seven-year imprisonment in China's Xinjiang region for violating Chinese policy by instructing students in Uyghur language, said a media report citing one of his former students and a police officer.

A chemistry teacher and faculty director at Kashgar Kona Sheher County No. 1 High School, Adil Tursun was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to seven-year imprisonment in 2018, after two years of his detention, Radio Free Asia reported, citing his former student Abduweli Ayup, who is now an Uyghur activist and linguist based in Norway.

Notably, Abduweli documents missing and imprisoned Uyghurs in Xinjiang and discovered Adil's imprisonment on a leaked Chinese government list of some 10,000 "suspected terrorists" published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in April 2021, reported the

media outlet.

Adil, who had earlier been recognized as one of the "nation's outstanding teachers" by the Chinese government, was arrested by authorities for the "crime" of teaching students in Uyghur language as they did not understand the instructions in Chinese, according to Abduweli.

The bilingual education policy introduced by Xinjiang officials required Mandarin to be used as the primary language of instruction in schools while the Uyghur language and literature were to be taught as subjects.

As per the authorities, the policy was implemented to improve standard Mandarin language skills among ethnic minority students to make them more competitive in the workplace. However, Uyghurs saw the measure as forced cultural assimilation aimed at diluting their Turkic heritage, according to the media outlet.

Now, not only the instruction in the Uyghur language but the use of standard Uyghurlanguage textbooks has also been prohibited in nearly all schools, irrespective of the fact that some students cannot understand instructions in Mandarin.

Notably, Adil expressed his dissatisfaction with the Chinese government policy of abolishing the Uyghur language in schools, according to Radio Free Asia.

When RFA called Kona Sheher county police to find out about Adil's sentence, they declined to answer questions but did not deny that the teacher had been jailed.

"After his mistake was investigated, he was arrested. It was a previous mistake of his -- to speak in Uyghur to his students while bilingual education was being implemented," the media outlet quoted a police officer in Kashgar prefecture.

"He was handed over to the national-security branch of the police department and was sentenced to prison two years after his arrest," he added.

In a major crackdown on ethnic minorities, Chinese authorities have arrested numerous Uyghur intellectuals, prominent businessmen, and cultural and religious figures in Xinjian for years.

Nearly 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities are said to be held in a network of detention camps in Xinjiang since 2017 allegedly to prevent religious extremism and terrorist activities, according to the media outlet. (ANI)


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