Entry of 5021       

Gulbahar Haitiwaji

Chinese ID: 650103196612022327 (Urumqi)


Age: 35-55    Detention reason: "disturbing public order"    Detention type: house/town arrest
Gender: F    Detention time: before 2017    Health status: has problems
Ethnicity: Uyghur    Profession: unclear    Location: Karamay

List(s): Examples of international / media pressure on Xinjiang authorities, Victims with foreign residence


See raw/original

Testifying party

The testimony has been written by an anonymous shahit.biz volunteer who goes by the initial "H", as based on publicly available information. It has also been supplemented with additional media reports and direct information from the victim's daughter.

Victim's relation to testifier

No stated relation.

About the victim

Gulbahar Haitiwaji is an ethnic Uyghur woman who had been living in France with her husband and two daughters since 2006. She is the only one in the family who has not received French citizenship, but nevertheless holds a 10-year residence permit.

Victim's location

According to her daughter, she is still in Karamay, where she was originally detained.

When victim was detained

On November 25, 2016, Gulbahar received a call from her former employer in Xinjiang, asking her to return to China in order to sign pension documents. She was immediately taken into custody upon her arrival at the office in Karamay, with her passport confiscated and with her being forbidden from leaving the region.

She was officially arrested on January 29, 2017 at the Karamay airport, as she was returning from Urumqi, after which her family in France would no longer be able to contact Gulbahar directly.

A letter from the French Foreign Ministry, which Gulbahar’s family in France received on November 13, 2017, states that Gulbahar was officially arrested on January 29, 2017 and remained in custody until June 5, 2017, when she was released on bail. According to some media sources, she was then put into a “re-education” camp (on June 9, according to one source) for the time of the investigation. It was unclear what kind of investigation was being carried out or how long it would take. It is also very possible that this was not a camp but simply prolonged police custody, perhaps in a different location.

On December 27, 2018, Gulbahar's daughter, Gulhumar, publicly posted that the family had learned that her mother had been sentenced to 7 years in prison.

In March 2019, Gulhumar suddenly started receiving phone calls from her mother, with the latter telling her that she had been released to house arrest and that Gulhumar should delete all of her public posts about the case if she "ever wanted to see her alive again".

Reason given for detention

According to her daughter Gulhumar, Gulbahar was sentenced to prison for “disturbing public order”. However, it is unclear what formal weight this had, given how she was supposedly released to house arrest just months later.

Victim's status

Now believed to be under some sort of residential surveillance. She has high blood pressure and needs to take medication daily.

How did the testifier learn about the victim's status?

It appears that most of the information that Gulhumar and other family members got they got through the victim's mother, who was allowed to visit the victim once a month. However, Gulbahar’s mother stopped contacting the family in France in May 2018, when she was pressured by the Chinese police to stop calling abroad.

The story has also received ample coverage in the press and other public outlets, and much of the information used to write this testimony was taken from there:

https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/les-pieds-sur-terre/la-repression-des-ouighours-comment-vivre-sous-lintimidation-chinoise (published 8 OCT 2018)
https://www.change.org/p/free-my-mother-from-the-concentration-camp-in-china
https://www.boursorama.com/actualite-economique/actualites/comment-ma-mere-a-ete-internee-dans-un-camp-de-reeducation-en-chine-032d16639d3b9684d4909b6c38620439 (published 1 DEC 2018)
https://www.lepoint.fr/monde/comment-ma-mere-a-ete-internee-dans-un-camp-de-reeducation-en-chine-30-11-2018-2275592_24.php (published 30 November 2018)
http://m.rfi.fr/emission/20190528-chine-ouighours-france-surveillance-totalitaire-harcelements-menaces-disparitions (published 28 MAY 2019)

Additional information

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Supplementary materials

daughter's video
sentence announcement (removed)
family photo (1)
family photo (2)
France residence permit
France MFA letter
Chinese passport
RFI report (French)

Entry created: 2018-12-25

Last updated: 2019-06-17

Latest update from testifier: 2019-07-05