Tahir Imin: “I still remember the Uyghur ballot from 2012.”

by Anne Kader

Candidates of the 2012 Uyghur Ballot (Source: Wayback Machine)




Translated from Uyghur Times Uyghur Edition




Tahir Imin: I remember the 2012 Uyghur public opinion poll – the first ever conducted in Urumqi, in collaboration with “Baghdash Network” and “Öz Türk” company. 


This ballot was the first independent one in the Uyghur community, organized and participated by Uyghurs. The election did not involve the government, and its discretionary nature made it hard to evaluate. The poll started at the end of 2012, and the results came out at the beginning of 2013.


Although I requested not to participate as the organizer and supporter of the event, the intellectuals and network of the Uyghur Science Forum strongly urged me to do so. They said: “If you participate, only real candidates will participate. If you don’t, the poll’s credibility will be affected.” I participated with great candidates, alas, with very little confidence. 



Candidates of the 2012 Uyghur Ballot (Source: Wayback Machine)



“Although I didn’t have many students or public followers, my work as the CEO of Shenzhen Öz Türk International Trade Co. Ltd. and as an Uyghur intellectual enabled me to achieve a lot. I set up a Turkic female graduate scholarship, a Uyghur hat festival, and a Uyghur science forum”, Tahir Imin says.


“As a translator of the Nawai International Seminar and films such as ‘Achchik Haiyan’, and the author of the English-Uyghur dictionaries, I was ranked second among young Uyghurs with my work and achievements. Thousands of friends supported us and wrote good references, and one can see that Uyghurs progressed in many fields during that period”, Tahir Imin continues.


Bagdash Network wrote: More than 20,000 people from all over the world participated in the poll. The event page received more than 50,000 views. 95% of the visitors were friends from China, and 85% of Internet users were from ‘Xinjiang’. The highest number of participants from ‘Xinjiang’, was from Urumqi – 19.12%, and 10% was from overseas. 


In addition to Uyghurs from Europe and the United States, there were also people from Burma and Sudan. Are you surprised? Click on the image below to discover more information. 


Link to the archived website:


The clandestine poll is a strong reflection of the era. Most of the candidates are now missing. Several of my close friends and colleagues are in prison.

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