Arrested in April 2016, 15 years sentence for unknown charges
Omerjan Hasan (Chinese: Wumei’erjiang Aishan, Uyghur: Omerjan Hasan Bozqir) is a well-known Uyghur writer, journalist and webmaster. He was formerly employed as a translator and vice director of the Forestry section of the Aksu Prefecture Forestry Department. He was arrested in around April 2016 according to the Washington-based Radio Free Asia Cantonese and Uyghur Services which first reported his arrest in July 2016.[i]
In September 2016, friends of Omerjan Hasan contacted the WUC to say that they were very concerned about his current situation, and that since his arrest in April 2016, his family and friends had not been informed of his whereabouts, and there was still no announcement of official charges against him.
According to the Radio Free Asia Cantonese news report and interview on 1st June 2016, an official announcement was published on the Aksu Prefectural Communist Party Disciplinary Committee website. The announcement stated that Omerjan Hasan had been expelled from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) because he had published articles which promoted an incorrect impression of the history of Xinjiang, endangering national and ethnic unity, and damaging the image of the CCP. Soon after this news was published on the Aksu government website, it spread to international news media, and the announcement was quickly removed. Subsequently the Radio Free Asia Uyghur Service conducted a telephone interview in Aksu covering Omerjan Hasan’s arrest.
Omerjan Hasan wrote and published many books and articles which aimed to promote equal civil and political rights for Uyghurs in China. He was well known to the Uyghur community by his pen name “Omerjan Hasan Bozqir”. He also had a good reputation in the wider Chinese-speaking sphere for his Chinese language articles. He was owner and webmaster of a Uyghur language website and discussion forum named “bozqir” (http://bbs.bozqir.com.cn/forum.php). His website was blocked soon after his arrest.[ii] He was arbitrarily arrested around April 2016 by the Aksu Police force, accused of publishing incorrect articles about the history of Xinjiang, and damaging national unity.
Additional Information: Omerjan Hasan Bozqir was born on February 1965 in Bay County of Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. He studied Chinese language at Kashgar Teachers’ College from 1983 to 1985. From 1985 to 1989 he studied journalism at Xinjiang University in Urumqi. From 1989 to 2003, he worked for Aksu Prefectural Radio-Television Department and Aksu TV station as a translator, editor, and manager of the TV production translation section. He worked for the Xinjiang branch of “China Nationality Unity” magazine as assistant editor from 2003 to 2004. From October 2004 to December 2005, he worked as translator for Aksu Prefectural Government Administration. From January 2006 he worked as a translator and vice director for the Forestry section of Aksu Prefecture Forestry Department. He is the owner and webmaster of a Uyghur language website “Bozqir” (http://bozqir.com.cn). He was formally arrested around April 2016 by the Aksu Police and his current whereabouts are unknown.
In late 2018, an officer at the Aksu Public Security Bureau who answered the phone immediately hung up after hearing Hasan’s name and Committee to Protect Journalists request for comment. His whereabouts are still unknown.
[i] Radio Free Asia (2016, June 1). Two Uyghur Officials Punished (Original: 斋戒月前两维官受罚 世维会料北京施下马威), Radio Free Asia Cantonese Service. Retrieved from: http://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/uyghurs-06012016103537.html. See also: http://www.rfa.org/uyghur/xewerler/kishilik-hoquq/uyghur-torbet-sahibliri-07122016154233.html
[ii] A web archive of Omerjan Hasan Bozqir’s website can be found here: https://web.archive.org/web/20160408055655/http://bbs.bozqir.com.cn/forum.php/
Committee to Protect Journalists: Omerjan Hasan, 2016. Available at: https://cpj.org/data/people/omerjan-hasan/index.php
The Pen International Case List 2017. Available at: https://pen-international.org/app/uploads/PEN-CaseList_2017-FULL-v2-1UP.pdf
[Last updated: October 2019]