Updated: Jan 14
Would your faith stand strong if you were brainwashed 24 hours a day?
The scandal of China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims has made even mainstream media headlines recently. Yet, Uyghur Christians in the remote north-west corner of China are suffering even worse persecution – and their story remains largely untold.
Release partner China Aid says there are only between 700 and 1,000 Christians in the Uyghur homeland that is Xinjiang province. And they are singled out for much harsher sentencing because they have converted from Islam.
Up to 1 million Uyghurs are reportedly detained in massive detention camps in Xinjiang where prisoners are submitted to 24-hour brainwashing and other torture, says China Aid.
📷Among the Christian Uyghurs behind bars is Alimujiang Yimiti (also known as Alimjan Yimit), a pastor with a Muslim background. His role in the church, it is assumed, is one of the reasons he was given a particularly harsh 15-year sentence in 2008. (Picture: Alimujiang before his arrest in 2008.)
He was convicted of ‘leaking state secrets’ after two phone conversations he had with an American Christian friend were tapped. It’s understood that he shared no sensitive or secret information during those chats.
He has been held in a prison where inmates are made to wear earphones tuned to communist propaganda all day every day, and are forced to memorise and repeat what they hear. Yet, Alimujiang’s faith remains strong, according to Bob Fu, Director of China Aid.
‘[Alimujiang] told his family that he thanks God for sending him to that prison,’ says Bob, ‘so that he can continue to share the gospel and live out the gospel in these dark prisons.’
Recently, his wife Gulinuer and their two sons have been banned from making their usual monthly visits to see Alimujiang in jail – because they are deemed to have become ‘uncooperative’. In other words, they have refused to deny Christ. Gulinuer is now being followed and monitored every day by security officials – but continues to raise her sons as Christians.
We believe that Christ shares in our suffering as we share in His. So we can be confident that as we ask God to be with His people in Xinjiang, and Alimujiang’s family in particular, Jesus understands their plight and intercedes on their behalf. Please continue to stand with us in praying for the release of prisoners of faith across the world – to the God who sets the captives free!