Ekpar Asat is a 34-year old Uyghur tech entrepreneur and founder of the largest media debate platform for the Uyghur community in China, called Bagdax. The platform combines news, opinion, literature, music, economy, sports and social media catered to the Uyghur community. Mr. Asat disappeared shortly after returning to Xinjiang, China from the United States, which he visited from February 20, 2016 to March 13, 2016. During that time, he participated in the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP)— the US State Department’s premier professional exchange program. Events leading up to his enforced disappearance suggest that Chinese National Security Agents in Urumqi, Xinjiang abducted him on April 7, 2016.
For almost four years, Rayhan Asat has aempted to learn about her brother’s whereabouts with lile success. In February 2020—almost four years after Ekpar Asat’s abduction—the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. informed US Senator Chris Coons’ office that Mr. Asat has been reportedly sentenced to 15 years in prison for “inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination.” The opacity surrounding Mr. Asat’s enforced disappearance, and the injustice around his reported imprisonment, is deeply alarming.
After the New York Times published an article detailing Mr. Asat’s disappearance in May 2020, credible sources came forward with information that Mr. Asat is likely being held in a prison located in Aksu, Xinjiang province, where prisoners are reportedly subjected to torture, mistreatment, coerced confessions, political indoctrination, prison labour, rape, and other forms of abuse. While the facts surrounding Mr. Asat’s case remain unclarified, it is absolutely clear that Chinese authorities continue to conceal his fate, and have forcibly removed him from the protection of the law. Mr. Asat’s family members were not aware of his reported
“imprisonment” for almost four years following his abduction, and have still not been permied to visit him.
Charges: “inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination” Jail Term: 15 years
No. 63 Fangzhi Avenue Akesu City
Information provided by Human Rights Foundation