Kazakhstan is a key ally of China thanks to its geographical situation within the Silk Road frame. This privileged relation affects negatively Kazakhstan care for its ethnic nationals persecuted by the Chinese regime.
Since 2014 China applies a policy of religious and ethnic persecution against Muslims in the Xinjiang region. Millions of Muslim inhabitants are sent to “reeducation camps”, families are divided and children are sent to orphanages or to Chinese Han families for adoption. Although Uyghurs were the first target of Chinese authorities, thousands of ethnic Kazakhs are also sent to “reeducation camps.”
While Uyghurs are quite abandoned by the Muslim world, the Kazakh minority in Xinjiang hoped to find support and protection in the government of Kazakhstan.
But the situation is different.
Kazakhstan doesn’t want to put in risk its fruitful relations with Beijing. This is why doesn’t protect its ethnic brothers in China. In addition persecutes who tries to keep the Kazakhs’ drama in China alive.
Serikzhan Bilash, head of the unregistered Ata-Jurt movement, has been arrested, Eurasianet reported today.
Bilash was in a hotel room in Almaty for security reasons.
Later in the day, Kazakh authorities said Bilash was being charged with inciting hatred.
Bilash’s role in unveiling the real situation of Muslims in Xinjiang and the existence of the mass “reeducation camps” was instrumental. Ata-Jurt is the only activist group in Kazakhstan that works on the issue of the Kazakh persecution in China.
Kazakhs in China represent the largest Kazakh diaspora in the world.
Thanks to the group’s activity public opinion were informed and pressure over the government to act became strong.
The actions of the group created an unpleasant situation for Almaty’s government and probably provoked the reaction of China.
Bilash has been targeted on numerous occasions. The most recent case was a public letter of known personalities of the country accusing him of inciting hatred toward the Chinese.
After Bilash’s arrest the group’s office in Almaty was also visited by police on March 10, Eurasianet reported.