June 18, 2020
Hidayet Ruzi (spelled Niyzi Ruzi as per his Chinese passport), is a young Uyghur man currently living in Austria. He was studying at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt with his wife Ayitila before he had to flee Egypt in 2017. Several thousands of Uyghur students used to study in Egypt before 2017. During 2016, the Chinese authorities started calling the students back to China under various pretexts, and in July 2017, in an all-out attack, the Egyptian police at the request of the Chinese government have rounded up the Uyghur students from restaurants and apartments in Cairo. Several dozens of Uyghur students went missing after the roundup. They are believed to have been repatriated to China. Many families and siblings have been torn apart as a result of the arbitrary detention in Cairo. This roundup also ended the presence of Uyghur students in Egypt which has been an important destination of knowledge for the Uyghur Muslims over the past several decades.
Hidayet told us his story of losing his soulmate. Following is the story from his own narration that has been translated into English by the Uighur Times.
“My name is Niyazi Ruzi. My address: No. 01, Group No. 02, Kent No. 20, Beshtugmen Village, Aksu City.
Ayitila Saidula and I went to Egypt in 2012 to study. Ayitila Saidula is from Beysaq Kent, Upper Atush, Atush City. I got married to Ayitila after arriving in Egypt. We studied at Al-Azhar University until June 2016. In April 2016, local police in Atush City contacted my wife and demanded her return to China. It was the exam period. My wife told the police that she wants to finish her exams before leaving for China. The police agreed and told her that nothing will happen to her if she returns and that they just want to engage in a “friendly conversation” with her. Ayitila returned to China after the exam on June 20, 2016.
While studying in Egypt, we did not get involved in anything rather than studying. The Uyghur students in Egypt never engaged in any activities against the Chinese government. We all used to attend events organized by the Chinese Embassy in Cairo. We all wanted to go back to China after finishing our studies.
My friends who took the same flight to China in July 2016 told me (they came back to Egypt after the summer vacation) that, my wife was held back at the Urumqi airport because her Chinese ID was blacklisted. The promises of the police in Atush were all a lie to trap her. In fact, the Chinese police blacklisted her before her arrival in China and made her unable to leave Atush City. Ayitila was asked to attend political indoctrination classes from the end of 2016 at the Upper Atush Village Police Bureau. I do not exactly know how long she had to attend those classes. My wife told me that she was not released after the first batch of the indoctrination classes ended as she “her ideology did not change.”
Ayitila was pregnant when she left for China in 2016. My second son was born in February 2017. In March 2017, the “Strike Hard” campaign started and the Uyghur people have been taken to concentration camps on a large scale. Ayitila was spared from detention since she just gave birth. However, more tragically, her father Saidula Yushan, a retired teacher from No. 2 Secondary School of Atush City, and a diabetes patient for ten years who was surviving with insulin were taken in place of her. In fact, Saidula Yushan was also receiving treatment at a hospital but had to discharge to take care of my wife who was expecting delivery soon.
The police denied taking Saidula’s insulin after his detention. This shows the cruelty of the Chinese authorities and their intent of exterminating the Uyghurs using any means. How could they detain and even deny medication to an ailing man who worked for the communist party for many years? I also learned that my father in law was only allowed to see a doctor after he lost consciousness.
I had very limited contact with my wife Ayitila. During 2017, my wife told me that she was not taken to the camp since she just gave birth but would be taken after our son turned one year. I lost contact with my wife since 2018. My wife’s health was not well and had a heart condition. She had an operation in 2011 to treat her heart condition but it never helped her condition. I am really worried about her health. Also, I do not know the fate of my six-year-old daughter Ghufran, and two-year-old son Imran whom I’ve never seen.
I have also not been able to contact my father Rouzi Aheniyazi who is nearing 70 and my 40-year-old brother Tuniyazi Rouzi (they both live in No. 01, Group No. 02, Kent No. 20, Beshtugmen Village, Aksu City.) since 2016. Recently I learned that my father and brother are not home for a few years. The people who gave me this information were not able to learn their whereabouts.
Recently, the US Congress passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020. At the end of 2019, Shokrat Zakir claimed that 90% of the concentration camp detainees “graduated.” But I am not able to get any information about my family. I demand the Chinese authorities tell me where my relatives are. I call on the international community to help me rescue my family.”