Worthy News Chief International Correspondent Stefan J. Bos
BEIJING, CHINA (Worthy News) -- The wife of a detained Christian in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Antonymous Region said Tuesday, March 17, she has not heard from her husband for nearly ten months because authorities do not allow her to meet him.
In a letter, released by advoacy group China Aid Association (CAA), Guli Nuer said her husband Alimujiang Yimiti, seems "far away, although only a wall separates us."
Alimujiang Yimiti, whose name is also spelled as Alimjan Yimit, is an ex-Muslim and currently a house church leader, who was detained January 12, by security forces for preaching Christianity, his family and CAA said. He was allegedly physically abused by police, who also searched his house regularly and seized his personal computer, before detaining him.
Officials already forbid Alimujiang to continue business activities, for allegedly using his work "as a cover to preach Christianity among people of Uyghur ethnicity," Worthy News learned.
His wife's letter came amid news that the case has been forwarded for review to a Communist Party committee in Xinjiang Uyghur Antonymous Region. The committee, which is the final arbitrator on all cases among law enforcement agencies in the area, is expected to make a final decision on Alimujiang's case, but no date has been announced yet.
"It has been almost one year and two months since Alimujiang was taken away," recalled Guli in the letter monitored by Worthy News. "As for how we, his family members, feel, it is hard to describe in words."
"In these 14 months, especially since May 27, 2008, there has been no news about him at all and there has been no communication with him, either," Guli added.
She said however that her husband, has been a believer of Jesus Christ for 14 years which has given him strength. Faith "in Jesus has made great changes in Alimujiang's life and has made him really a good citizen who loves his country and his people."
However, Guli spoke of her frustration that she is not able to meet him personally. "Though only a wall separates us, yet we feel he is so far away from us. As all the efforts of the family members have produced no results ... at least, they should let us meet him and hopefully report that he is doing okay."
Guli wrote, "I can't imagine how he feels when he knows that we have been going here and there all the time, only to see our hopes are dashed again and again, and he doesn't have any news about his family and the outside world."
AA said that lawyers will travel from the capital Beijing to petition authorities to allow his wife to meet with the Uyghur Christian. It cited unidentified sources as saying that he is "highly respected in the prison and is praised by people there."
The group stressed that "insists on his innocence and adheres" to his Christian beliefs."Since Alimujiang's imprisonment, his wife has been taking care of their two young sons and negotiating with government agencies in the hope that the government will handle this case impartially, expediently and in accordance with the law."
Authorities have denied reports of human rights abuses, saying Christians are free to worship within the official, government backed, denominations.
However observers say articles in Xinjiang's constitution contradict China’s national constitution, making it illegal for Uyghurs to attend services at the government-approved Three Self Church in Xinjiang.
The legislation apparently forces them to meet in unregistered house churches. In addition, Uyghur Bibles are not printed in China and very difficult to obtain, Christians say.