Entry of 5393       

Hesenjan Qari (艾山江·卡日)

Chinese ID: 653021196912201618 (Atush)

Age: 35-55    Detention reason: unclear    Detention type: concentration camp
Gender: M    Detention time: Jan. 2017 - Mar. 2017    Health status: has problems
Ethnicity: Uyghur    Profession: private business    Location: Kizilsu

List(s): Testimonies mentioning specific camps, Victims with foreign residence, Covered in international media

See raw/original

Testifying party (submitted by third party)

A number of relatives have testified for the victim: his daughter Fatima, his mother-in-law Arzigul (Kazakhstan citizen), his wife Gulshen (Uzbekistan citizen), Gulshen's sister Gulghunche (Kazakhstan citizen), and relatives Adiljan Mamutov and Nesridin Ablimit.

Victim's relation to testifier

[see above]

About the victim

Hesenjan Qari, born in Atush, is a Chinese citizen. He got into business after completing middle school, and would spend many years as a textile trader, coming and going between China and Central Asia.

In 1997, he got married to Gulshen Manapova in Uzbekistan. The couple spent some years in Tashkent and later moved to Shymkent, Kazakhstan. Their six children all hold Kazakhstan passports.

Registered address in China: 090 Great Bazaar Road, Songtake Village (松他克村), Songtake Township, Atush City, Kizilsu Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture.

Chinese passport: G57431746. Kazakhstan green card: 040758336.

Victim's location

In Atush, in the Fifth District Camp. [unclear which camp this is]

When victim was detained

He had his documents confiscated in February 2017 while going back to China to visit relatives, and was taken to a camp in September 2017. In April 2018, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison, with the relatives in Atush receiving a corresponding paper document. However, the relatives reported receiving a call from the police in December 2018, where the authorities told them that they were taking Hesenjan back to camp and asked for the relatives to send over clothes. In early May 2019, his wife Gulshen wrote an appeal letter to an EU delegation in which she stated that she had recently learned that he had been transferred to a C-level camp (the worst kind).

Probable (or official) reason for detention


Victim's status

Still in a camp. According to his wife Gulshen in her appeal letter, his mental health appears to have worsened significantly, based on a phone conversation with his family.

How did the testifier learn about the victim's status?

His wife has been getting news through relatives in the region.

Additional information

The victim's absence has taken a significant toll on his wife and six children, as they have been left without their main source of financial support. Five of these children are underage.

That Hesenjan was first sentenced but then transferred back to camp is rare. However, the testifier claims that she's heard of Uyghurs in Bishkek also mentioning news of Uyghurs (in Atush, perhaps) who were first sentenced but then transferred back to camp, and that this was fairly common.


Gulshen's first-person testimony as given to "The Believer":

Mostly men are taken to the camps. What happens then? The authorities send loyal Chinese families from the coast to live with the women in the homes of the disappeared. A Han Chinese man is sent to Xinjiang and placed in the house where the detained person had lived. Or it could be a couple. Or a family with kids. But sometimes it’s just one man who is sent to live in a house full of women...

They lecture their hosts about the Communist Party. They continue to live among the family even when the detained family member returns. Everyone I know who spent some time in the camp, who was released to their home in China—in every case I know about, they have Chinese families living with them, lecturing them. And the families will report on any misbehavior. If you so much as look at them in a disagreeable way, they might tell the authorities and have you taken away to the camp. My husband’s relatives have such people living with them. As a result, these days their phones are almost always switched off. They’re afraid. I try to reach them to find out about my husband, but they call only when the “visitors” are out of the house.

I grew up speaking Uighur. My family is Uighur. My parents escaped to the Soviet Union in 1969 and settled in Kazakhstan. Back in China they were cattle herders, but in Kazakhstan they became cooks. Later, when I was young, we went to Uzbekistan looking for work. They opened a café there. I’m an Uzbek citizen, actually. I met Aishanjiang and we were married in Tashkent in 1997. He was visiting from China, doing some business there. He worked with textile factories, importing fabric from China into Central Asia. The border was easy at the time: you just crossed it. I came with my husband to Kazakhstan and we opened a shop here. We were just starting our business when he was arrested.

He was going to visit some of our factories in Ürümqi. As soon as he entered China, his passport was taken from him. He was brought to Atush, his birthplace. And from there he wasn’t allowed to leave. At the time, we hadn’t heard anything about the camps. He went into China without any knowledge of them. Such cases of people being taken to camps are rare in Ürümqi, where he did business, so when they told him to come in for questions, he went.

The day he was taken, he had some idea of what was happening. He called me to say he was going to be taken to a camp. I don’t know if I’m going to be back or not, he said. He couldn’t say any more. He couldn’t describe his situation. What are you going to do? I asked. Why are you being sent to a camp? To study, he said. But you’re old, I told him. You’re almost fifty. He said that one of his relatives—almost eighty years old— was already studying in the same camp. Age is irrelevant, he said. That was last October. Since then, he’s vanished. I heard he’s in prison now.

And others—there are many others. My husband’s older brother died in the same camp where my husband was. He was almost sixty years old. The authorities said he had a precondition, an illness of some kind, but he was healthy when I knew him. And my husband’s sister’s son was sentenced to twenty years in prison for making hajj. My sister-in-law’s husband, the imam at Atush, was sentenced to fourteen years. I’ve heard from his wife that he’s in the prison hospital. His condition isn’t good. And there are many other relatives whose fate I don’t know. Probably they’re all in prison but I don’t know. I can’t tell.

Suspected human rights violations

Article 8: We can all ask for the law to help us when we are not treated fairly.
Article 9: Nobody has the right to put us in prison without a good reason, to keep us there or to send us away from our country.
Article 10: If someone is accused of breaking the law they have the right to a fair and public trial.
Article 12: Nobody should try to harm our good name. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters, or bother us or our family without a very good reason.
Article 13: We all have the right to go where we want to in our own country and to travel abroad as we wish.
Article 20: We all have the right to meet our friends and to work together in peace to defend our rights. Nobody can make us join a group if we don’t want to.
Article 22: We all have the right to a home, to have enough money to live on and medical help if we are ill. We should all be allowed to enjoy music, art, craft, sport and to make use of our skills.
Article 25: We all have the right to a good life, with enough food, clothing, housing, and healthcare. Mothers and children, people without work, old and disabled people all have the right to help.

Supplementary materials

Testimony 1
Testimony 2
Testimony 3
Testimony 4
Testimony 5
Testimony 6
Testimony 7
photo with daughter
appeal to EU delegation
photo with son
photo with kids (1)
photo with baby (1)
photo with baby (2)
photo with kids (2)
Kazakhstan residence card
Chinese ID
reply from Kazakh MFA
MFA reply (English translation)

Entry created: 2019-01-01

Last updated: 2019-08-06

Latest update from testifier: 2019-09-07