Uyghur student convicted after posting protest video on WeChat

A Uyghur student, Kamile Wayit, who was arrested in Uyghuristan in December, has been convicted on charges of “advocating extremism” after sharing a video on WeChat featuring the “white paper” protests.

Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash

By Alex Chen

A Uyghur student, Kamile Wayit, who was arrested in Uyghuristan in December, has been convicted on charges of “advocating extremism” after sharing a video on WeChat featuring the “white paper” protests. Wayit, aged 19, was detained in Atush shortly after returning home from her university in Henan province, located in central China. Since her detention, her whereabouts remain unknown. However, in a recent statement to the Economist magazine, a spokesperson from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Wayit had been sentenced on March 25 for the aforementioned crime of “advocating extremism.” The spokesperson did not disclose the length of the sentence, although it can be as long as five years.

Wayit is among the numerous individuals, including several young women, who were arrested following the widespread protests against China’s strict zero-Covid measures in various cities during November and December of the previous year. The catalyst for these protests was a tragic apartment fire that occurred on November 24 in Urumqi, the capital of Uyghuristan. The fire claimed the lives of 10 people, and many attributed the deaths to the residents being unable to evacuate the building due to Covid-related restrictions.

In April, four women who took part in the protests in Beijing were granted bail after being charged with the offense of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a broadly applied accusation used against government critics. This charge also carries a potential sentence of up to five years. Despite their release, it has been reported that these women continue to be under police surveillance.

In contrast, Wayit, who is believed to have not participated in any of the protests, has faced more severe treatment.

According to Maya Wang, the associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, Kamile Wayit’s case stands out because she has been arrested and charged with a severe crime solely due to being a Uyghur and for sharing a video related to the protests. Wang highlights that Wayit’s case exemplifies how in Uyghuristan, the authorities can interpret any actions, even peaceful and lawful ones, by Uyghurs as acts of extremism and terrorism, leading to their arbitrary detention and imprisonment.

Wayit’s older brother, Kewser Wayit, currently residing in the US as an engineer and a vocal advocate for Uyghur rights, previously disclosed that the police contacted their father after Kamile shared a post about the protests on WeChat. Kewser also noted that his presence abroad might have subjected Kamile to increased scrutiny, as is often experienced by Uyghurs residing in China.

Wayit was pursuing a degree in preschool education at the Shangqiu Institute of Technology in Henan. From 2017 to 2019, she resided in Urumqi independently and struggled with depression, primarily due to her father’s detention in a “re-education” camp, as mentioned by her brother. A source close to Wayit revealed that she had planned to undergo eye surgery in Beijing during the summer.

Despite requests for comment, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not provide a response.

Anne Kader

Next Post

Lawmakers' Call Ignored as Blinken Fails to Address Chinese Spy Actions Against U.S.

Mon Jun 19 , 2023
During his recent visit and meetings with Chinese counterparts, including authoritarian leader Xi Jinping, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conspicuously omitted any mention of the critical matter of Chinese espionage activities occurring on US soil
Blinken meets Xi

You May Like