XINJIANG, China — A Uyghur man convicted during secret trials for his Christian work in China has been released after serving a 15-year sentence.
Alimujiang Yimiti, pastor of a Uyghur house church in Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang province, was freed in March, according to the human rights organization ChinaAid.
Chinese authorities initially accused him in 2007 of using his business to disseminate Christian ideology in Kashgar. In 2008, he was detained for “inciting separatism” and “unlawfully providing state secrets to overseas organizations.”
Two secret trials ensued, one in 2009 and another in 2010. After the first one, the separatism charge was dropped, reports China Aid.
In the years following his conviction, China’s crimes against some people groups in Xinjiang have become widely known. “An estimated 1 to 2 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minorities are kept in concentration camps,” states ChinaAid. “According to witness testimonies in the Uyghur Tribunal in 2021, prisoners were forcefully sterilized, tortured and ‘re-educated.'”
China is No. 16 on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.