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Representative image (file photo)
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Uyghur athletic trainer detained by Chinese authorities: Report

ANI | Updated: May 29, 2022 14:55 IST

Beijing [China], May 29 (ANI): An Uyghur athletic trainer who worked in northwestern China's Xinjiang region was arrested by Chinese authorities 5 years ago owing to his leading role in the Uyghur society, reported Radio Free Asia.
"He was the national-level referee in sports games. He was highly respected among his peers both in school and in Uyghur society," said Yasinjan, another educator.
Behtiyar Abduweli was amongst one of the 20 educators at the Ili Pedagogical University who have been detained by Chinese forces. The names of the other educators have not been publicly released yet.
"I heard that Behtiyar was also taken. You know, the PE teacher Behtiyar," said an Uyghur source who wished to remain anonymous, reported Radio Free Asia.
Abduweli accompanied by Abdullah Ismail, the Chinese Communist Party secretary of the school's Marxism Institute had organized an event called meshrep, a celebration of Uyghur culture and traditions, including poetry, music, and dance a the university in the 1990s and early 2000s.

However, the celebration of Uyghur customs did not sit well with the Chinese officials who believed that the gatherings at the event were not in accordance with the policy of the Chinese Communist Party. Besides Abduweli, Abdullah Ismail was also detained, reported Radio Free Asia.
Reportedly, in 2017 the Chinese authorities ramped up their repression of Uyghurs, officially declaring the celebration of meshrep an indication of "propaganda platform of ethnic separatism" and "religious extremism."
This resulted in the investigation of the organizers and participants of the Uyghur teachers who attended the gatherings, and Abduweli was the first to be detained, reported Radio Free Asia.
According to Yasinjan, the arrest of Abduweli pertained to the Uyghur teacher's criticism of Chinese authorities for flooding the stadium where the members of the university meshrep played soccer matches in 1997. Abduweli had said that the action would affect the social harmony of the Uyghur community.
Abduweli's criticism was taken as outspokenness by the Chinese officials who defined his action as someone who was "inciting ethnic tensions in the society," and "opposing the Chinese government." Other crimes that Abduweli supposedly as per the Chinese authorities was "encouraging other students who possess ethnic separatist ideas."
Time and again, Chinese authorities have targeted Uyghur intellectuals, businessmen, religious, and cultural figures, imprisoning many of them in a vast network of internment camps. Beijing claims it to be an effort to prevent religious extremism and terrorist activities, reported Radio Free Asia. (ANI)