By BosNewsLife Asia Service
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) — Family and activists continued efforts Wednesday, October 22, to obtain the release of two Uyghur devoted Christians in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang, saying one of them may be executed while another believer is facing mistreatment in a labor camp.
Chinese Christians said a court case continues against former Muslim Alimujiang Yimiti, who has been held since January 2008 on charges of "subversion of the national government and endangering national security," a crime punishable by death.
In September 2007 Chinese government officials already revoked Alimujiang Yimitiâ€™s business license, saying he used it to a cover up his real activities including "preaching Christianity among people of Uyghur ethnicity."
Alimujiang, who is married and has two children, converted from Islam to Christianity over 10 years ago, and has been an active Christian in what observers described as a "growing Uyghur church." Chinese Christians were also concerned Wednesday, October 22, about the situation of fellow Uyghur Christian Wusiman Yiming, who is serving a two-year sentence in a labor camp.
Wusiman was reportedly afforded a rare opportunity to meet his wife who noted he had "aged rapidly since his incarceration and continues to suffer poor health due to the labor campâ€™s harsh conditions," said Christian advocacy group China Aid Association, which closely monitors the situation of the Uyghur Christians.
His wife, Nu Er Gu Li, who also traveled over 480 kilometers (300 miles) from Hetian to the Kashi labor camp in March, said earlier that he "suffers from malnutrition and an obvious hand injury." It was never established what caused the injury, but several rights investigators and ex-prisoners have spoken of torture in Chinese labor camps.
Wusiman was detained in September, 2007, by the State Security Bureau of Southern Xinjiang Hetian City, a main law enforcement agency, on charges of "divulging state secrets," BosNewsLife learned. The Christian was reportedly sentenced in November to "two years re-education through labor" by the 'Re-education Labor Committee of Hetian City', his home city. His supporters say he is innocent and that he has been targeted because of his Christian faith.
CAA president and former house church leader Bob Fu told BosNewsLife in a statement that his US-based group "strongly denounces the Chinese authorities in Kashi, Xinjiang for their persecution of these Uyghur Christians."
He said, "Authorities have targeted Christians in Xinjiang because of their beliefs." Fu said the CAA has urged Chinese authorities "to immediately release these two innocent citizens."
There has been growing pressure on Christians in the area, as authorities have stepped up a crackdown on alleged missionary activities. Several companies, including British and American firms, have been closed and foreigners reportedly lost visas for their alleged involvement in Christian conversion activities in this traditionally Muslim region.
Central Communist authorities in Beijing have also encouraged a crackdown on particularly evangelical Christians worshipping outside the government-backed denominations, several church groups and Christians said. China has denied human righs abuses, saying Christians are free to gather within established churches. However many Christians in China worship in what are known as underground 'house churches', often gathering in homes outside the mainstream denominations.
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