September 1, 2020
Director Tao Hongjun
Urumqi Municipal Public Security Bureau
No. 30, Nanhudong Lu, Shuimogou Qu
830017 Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
People’s Republic of China
Dear Director Tao:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern over Iminjan Seydin, a book publisher and professor of Chinese history at the Xinjiang Islamic Institute. He was detained in May 2017 by the Xinjiang government, held incommunicado, and sentenced after a secret trial in February 2019 to 15 years imprisonment for “inciting racial ideologies.” The conviction and sentence are apparently in response to his publication of a colleague’s books about Arabic grammar, which contained references to Islam.
On May 4 of this year, after three years of being in incommunicado detention, he appeared in a video by China Daily in which he denounced his daughter, Samira Imin, who is studying and working at a hospital in the United States.
While it is welcome news that Iminjan Seydin may have been released, this kind of video is deeply disturbing as it is clearly propaganda used to intimidate or threaten advocates for the rights of Uyghur and critics of your
government’s brutal repression of that community. At least 45 such videos of clearly coerced confessions and statements have been produced since 2018.
As a global coalition of scientists and scholars, we are heartbroken to see a colleague of ours used in this way, and we write to assure you that this kind of blatant propaganda will only serve to discredit your government. These actions place China’s reputation, as a global scientific leader, in serious jeopardy.
The existence of this video only deepens our concerns for our colleague, as it is clear he is still fully under the control of your government. We urge you to allow Iminjam Seydin to speak freely, without interference or surveillance, with his family and others, and we urge you to clarify whether he still has charges pending against him that could lead to his re-incarceration.
Thank you for your attention to this most important matter, and we look forward to hearing what you are doing to correct this injustice.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Ambassador Cui Tiankai
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW
Washington DC 20008
Phone: 1 202 495 2266
Fax: 1 202 495 2138
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