Xinjiang [China], May 6 (ANI): Seven teachers have been imprisoned in the third-largest city of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) as a crackdown on the community continues by the Chinese government.
The seven imprisoned are among more than 10 teachers from the No. 8 High School in Ghulja (in Chinese, Yining) arrested in recent years amid the intensification of the Uyghur crisis.
According to media reports, Ghulja's No. 8 High School has about 4,000 students, about half of whom are ethnic Uyghurs and the other half Han Chinese, and 200 staff members, including Uyghur, Kazakh and Chinese teachers.
Radio Free Asia further reported in April that Dilmurat Abdurehim, the school's former principal who went missing nearly a year ago, was being detained in the city, according to municipal education officials and an Uyghur living in exile who provided information on the man's disappearance.
Through calls to local police and school employees, RFA confirmed that at least seven of the 10 were currently in prison.
Minorities like Tajiks, Kazakhs, and Uyghurs inside China's detention camps are constantly subjected to violence and constantly monitored, local media reported.
A school security official told RFA that three Kazakh teachers had been taken to "re-education camps" but later were released and continued to work at the high school.
"There are some Kazakh teachers who were taken to re-education. Qemer, Nurjan and Ewzel were taken to re-education and came back later," he said.
Founded in 1934, the No. 8 High School was one of only two high schools in Ghulja at the time. After 1949, the school was renamed after Ehmetjan Qasimi, president of the Republic of East Turkistan which was established in the northern part of what is now the XUAR by Uyghurs and other Turkic ethnic groups in 1944 with help from the former Soviet Union.
Authorities have targeted teachers and intellectuals in Xinjiang because they are the brains of Uyghur society and the most significant means of passing on Uyghur culture and identity, Abdureshid Niyaz, an independent Uyghur researcher based in Turkey, told RFA in a 2021 report.
More than 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities are believed to have been held in a network of detention camps in Xinjiang since 2017.
Beijing has said that the camps are vocational training centres and has denied widespread and documented allegations that it has violated the human rights of Muslims living in the region.
The Chinese government has publicly refuted any reports of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, however, China has been rebuked globally for the crackdown on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities, and sending members of the community to undergo forced indoctrination. (ANI)