Responsive Image

Tursunjan Hesen

Detained in July 2009 for “revealing state secrets and endangering state security”; sentence against him – if any – unknown.

According to Radio Free Asia, authorities in Dadamtu township, Ghulja (Yining), Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, detained Tursunjan Hesen (Hasan Tursunjan) on 2 July 2009 and reportedly accused him of revealing state secrets and endangering state security, after he had given interviews to overseas media about a case involving his daughter, Arzigul Tursun.

In 2008, local authorities in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture had announced plans to force Arzigul, who was six months pregnant with her third child, to undergo an abortion after she was unable to pay a 45,000 yuan (US $6,591) fine for exceeding the number of children permitted under the region’s population planning regulation.  Arzigul escaped from the local hospital to which she had been forcibly taken for the abortion, but the authorities tracked her down and took her to a larger hospital.

Following intense international advocacy on her behalf, including from two U.S. Congressmen (Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey) and the U.S. Ambassador to China (Clark Randt), the authorities released her from the hospital in November 2008 without executing the abortion, but continued to subject her and her family to harassment and surveillance.

Prior to his detention on 2 July 2009, Tursunjan (age at detention: 67) had reported that police had interrogated him repeatedly about Arzigul’s case, asking who had informed international media about the case. They also interrogated him about an unrelated land dispute in the region.

He is believed to be held at the Ghulja PSB detention center and reportedly was scheduled to stand trial in November 2009.

It is unknown whether Tursunjan Hesen has been tried and sentenced


Radio Free Asia (RFA), Uyghur Grandfather Detained, 30 Oct. 2009; available at:

Radio Free Asia (RFA), New Son for Uyghur Woman, 13 Feb. 2009, available at:

Radio Free Asia (RFA), Uyghur Woman Released, Without Forced Abortion, 18 Nov. 2008, available at:

Radio Free Asia (RFA), Uyghur Woman Found, Facing Abortion, Nov. 17, 2008, available at:

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), Annual Report 2009, 10 Oct. 2009, available at:, pp. 262-263

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Entry for “Tursunjan Hesen” in Political Prisoner Database (CECC Record Number: 2009-00444), available at:

[last updated: October 2019]