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.
According to her daughter, she returned to France in late August 2019.
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".
Probable (or official) reason 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.
Given documents and allowed to return to France. 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.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)
Suspected human rights violations
Article 9: Nobody has the right to put us in prison without a good reason, to keep us there or to send us away from our country.
Article 10: If someone is accused of breaking the law they have the right to a fair and public trial.
Article 11: Nobody should be blamed for doing something until it has been proved that they did it. If people say we did something bad, we have the right to show this was not true. Nobody should punish us for something that we did not do, or for doing something which was not against the law when we did it.
Article 12: Nobody should try to harm our good name. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters, or bother us or our family without a very good reason.
Article 13: We all have the right to go where we want to in our own country and to travel abroad as we wish.
Article 22: We all have the right to a home, to have enough money to live on and medical help if we are ill. We should all be allowed to enjoy music, art, craft, sport and to make use of our skills.
Entry created: 2018-12-25
Last updated: 2019-08-25
Latest update from testifier: 2019-08-25