Ms. Gaukhar Kurmanaliyeva registered a non-profit organization, called Talpyn Zhastar, in Kazakhstan. But her homeland isn’t safe, and she now continues in Europe.
by Marco Respinti
On July 1, Kazakh human rights activist Ms. Gaukhar Kurmanaliyeva stood outside the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, to reclaim liberty for her fellow ethnic Kazakhs unlawfully detained in Xinjiang by the Chinese Communist government. Since January 2016, like the Uyghurs (which are the majority of the local population in that region) and other Turkic groups (Tatars, Kyrgyzs, etc.), ethnic Kazakhs in China are mistreated and arrested by the atheistic and even racist regime of Beijing just because they belong to ethnic minorities and are believers (Muslim).
Notorious for its transformation through education camps, where the CCP sends Muslims and non-Han people, reaching today the number of 3 million, according to some sources, Xinjiang is becoming a hell on Earth. “There are 13-year-old young people and 80-90-year-old grandparents among the detainees,” says Ms. Kurmanaliyeva, who speaks only Kazakh and Russian, and so sends her messages to the world through other activists. “They haven’t any human right or freedom there,” she continues. “The Chinese police have beaten and tortured them cruelly.” The situation is truly staggering: “It’s genocide against Turkic ethnic minorities,” Ms. Kurmanaliyeva comments.
Kazakhs who were luckily released from camps – like Mr. Orynbek Koksebek, Ms. Gulzira Auelkhan, and Mr. Omirbek Begaly ‒ testify of a horrendous situation in interviews to the world media. A famous human rights defender, Mr. Serikjan Bilash, the head of the Atajurt organization for human rights, has exposed the Chinese genocide policy to the world on behalf of at least 10,000 detained Kazakhs, giving evidence and facts, and for this, he was arrested in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on March 10. The Kazakh National Security Committee detained him without any real reason, using an excuse which amounts to authentic fake news: “inciting ethnic hatred.” Even Kazakhstan is no safe haven for Kazakhs who speak the truth on China.
This is why Ms. Kurmanaliyeva decided to stand up, coming to Brussels from far away. She now lives in Europe. Her one-person picket repeating time and again “Freedom!” for unlawfully detained Kazakhs in her Kazakh language is a dire adventure too. She came to Brussels alone on a bus, traveling miles and miles, speaking no French, and staying overnight at a bus station, always alone, on a makeshift bed like a hobo, to a great risk for herself. “I did it,” she recounts, “because I want to say ‘no’ to the genocide that China is carrying on and to ask for the release of all the Kazakhs in concentration camps, starting from Mr. Bilash.”
Ms. Kurmanaliyeva was born in Kazakhstan in 1967. Her relatives in Xinjiang were arrested in recent years. Among them, there is her cousin, Mr. Askar Azatbek, arrested in December 2017 when he was 41 years old in Khorgas (or Korgas), the city on the Kazakh side of the China-Kazakhstan border. He was a former official from the grain bureau of Qabqal Xibe county in Xinjiang’s Ili Kazakh autonomous prefecture and then became a citizen of Kazakhstan.
She and some relatives registered a non-profit organization in Kazakhstan, Talpyn Zhastar (“Go ahead, young people”). Now they hope to continue their job in favor of human rights and religious freedom in Xinjiang acting in Europe She is just asking the European institutions in Brussels to be received. Will it ever happen?