The activist may be put in the wanted list by Kazakh authorities, obviously as the result of Chinese pressures.
by Massimo Introvigne
Last month, a team traveled four thousand kilometers to collect testimonies of ethnic Kazakhs who had escaped Xinjiang and had entered Kazakhstan, and of relatives of others who remain detained in jails and camps in China. Their testimonies were published in Bitter Winter, in a widely read series. The main organizer of the team was Kazakh human rights activist Serikzhan Bilash, who is currently abroad.
The Chinese reaction was quick. A court in Kazakhstan may put Bilash on the wanted list. The probation service appealed to the court with a submission, where it is asked to declare the activist wanted and choose a measure of restraint. A decision will be made on December 14.
Serikzhan Bilash’s lawyer, Shynkuat Baizhanov, said he would be able to comment on the case only after reviewing the materials.
Bilash had been prosecuted in the past for his activism, although one of the cases was recently dropped. Last year, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention censored Kazakhstan for having detained Bilash on March 2019.
Bilash says he is afraid he can be stripped of his Kazakh citizenship, and is persuaded that the prosecution is directly related to Chinese pressures against his activities exposing the situation in the transformation through education camps in Xinjiang, including through the recent series of articles in Bitter Winter.
We at Bitter Winter are proud of having published a series telling the truth on the genocidal activities of the CCP against ethnic Kazakhs, and will continue to fight for Bilash’s right to investigate and speak out about the Xinjiang camps. It is an activity for which he should be applauded rather than harassed by Kazakh authorities.