Sunday, May 25, 2008

sport isn't worth that much - Yimiti's olympic struggle

guilty of belief
In two days' time there will be a trial, where the accused will be found guilty and given six years' imprisonment.

That, at least, is the information which I found in my inbox from a trusted source recently. The trial is to take place in the People's Republic of China, and the accused is called Alimujiang Yimiti. Ethnically, he is an Uyghur from the region of Xinjiang, which borders Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

Mr Yimiti is an employee of Xinjiang Jiaerhao Foodstuff Company, which is known in the UK as Jirehouse. He was arrested in a swoop by Kashi Municipal Bureau for Ethnic Religious Affairs in September 2007, and charged with "illegal religious infiltration activities". He has also been accused of "endangering national security, namely instigating separatism and stealing, penetrating, purchasing and illegaly providing state secrets or intelligence for overseas organisations and individuals".

The latter crime carries the death sentence - presumably the family are meant to breathe a sigh of relief when the 6-year tarriff was announced. Like many around the world, I await with interest evidence regarding the charge of endangering national security; while the "illegal religious infiltration activities" appears to refer to Mr Yimiti's conversion from Islam to Christianity.

Although China is officially atheist, the situation seems to be that it tolerates some religions - but not others; and some ethnicities - but not others. It appears that Christians in Xinjiang who are of the Han ethnicity - which comprises almost 92% of Chinese - are released relatively quickly, as opposed to Uyghur Christians; whereas the ethnicities website of The National Office for teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language does not recognise the presence of Christians at any time in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region; Christians are neither recognised as being in Xinjiang in the statement on the website of the Chinese Embassy in the US dealing with US charges on religious freedom.

It's not for me to cast aspersions on the Chinese justice system, I merely hope that the justices take into account concerns of the international community that Christians are being heavily leant on at the moment in the run-up to this year's Olympic Games, in the fear that Chinese people may succumb to proselytisation. I don't know what they're concerned about - after a typical Friday night out in Glasgow, I would be accosted by various evangelists, Mormons and Hari-Krishnas: I'd have a few words with them, politely refuse their books, and go home.

I hope that this trial ends well for Mr Yimiti so that the many people throughout the world who wish to enjoy the Olympics can rest assured that their countries can send athletes of whatever religious or political persuasion to the Games to be judged by their performance and not by their thoughts.

If anybody who is unsettled by Mr Yimiti's story wishes to respectfully contact Chinese representatives after having investigated further, I supply the following information based on feedback I have received on this blog's readership.


Her Excellency Ms Fu Ying
Embassy to the People's Republic of China to the UK
49-51 Portland Place
London W1N 1JL


His Excellency Mr Zhou Wenzhong
2300 Conecticut Avenue
Washington DC 20008



His Excellency Mr Lu Shumin
The Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Canada (Ottawa)
515 St. Patrick Street,
Ont. K1N 5H3



His Excellency Mr Zhang Junsai
The Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Australia
15 Coronation Drive
ACT 2600


New Zealand:

His Excellency Mr Zhang Yuanyuan
No. 2-6 Glenmore Street
New Zealand



His Excellency Mr Chen Yonglong
222 Ben Yehuda Street
Tel Aviv
PO Box 6067
Tel Aviv 61060


If you speak Chinese and wish to register your concern, you could contact Committee Chief Director and CCP Secretary Wang Chun Fu of Kashi Region Nationality and Religious Affairs on:

+86 998-2823681

also Kashi People's Municipal Court, on +86 998-2822604.

Whatever language you speak, I'm sure that you are, in this Olympic year, free to write to:

Minister of Justice
Ms Wu Aiying
Ministry of Justice
10 Nan Da Jie
Beijing City 100020
People's Republic of China


Prime Minister Wen jiabao
PO Box 1741
The State Council
Beijing 100017
People's Republic of China


As a non-sporty person whose sports intake consists of watching the Olympics every four years, I hope this can be resolved before the Games start, so that I can feel able to watch the proceedings, and catch a glimpse of modern China.

Related posts:

as the Olympics begin
at the close of the Olympics

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the information. I will contact them and plead on his behalf as well. CWG, in TN, USA


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