• rfa reported that more than 1.8 million Uyghurs and Turkic minorities are believed to be held in a network of detention camps in Xinjiang since 2017.
• In April the rfa established that Dilmurat Abdurehim, the school’s former principal who went missing nearly a year ago, was being detained in the city
Seven High School teachers in a city in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have been imprisoned by Chinese authorities.
Reports by Radio Free Asia (rfa)said the seven imprisoned are among more than 10 teachers from the No. 8 High School in Ghulja, arrested in recent years amid a crackdown on Uyghurs that began in 2017.
In April the rfa established that Dilmurat Abdurehim, the school’s former principal who went missing nearly a year ago, was being detained in the city.
The Radio got the information from an Uyghur living in exile, and who requested anonymity for fear of retribution from the government.
The source further told rfa he found out that at least 10 other teachers from the school had been arrested.
Through calls to local police and school employees, RFA confirmed that at least seven of the 10 were currently in prison.
A police officer said that around 20 to 30 teachers had been taken to 're-education centres' while at least eight were in prison.
“There were 29 teachers who were arrested or detained. Around 20 have been released so far,” he added.
Ghulja’s No. 8 High School has at least 4,000 students, half of whom are ethnic Uyghurs and the others Han Chinese.
The school has 200 staff members who include Uyghur, Kazakh and Chinese teachers.
It has provided 'bilingual education' since 2010, requiring Mandarin to be used as the primary language of instruction, with the Uyghur language and literature taught as subjects.
A school official contacted by rfa acknowledged that some teachers had been detained by authorities but said he could not provide details because it was a “state secret”.
He however said the school’s human resources department would have more information about the imprisoned educators.
A staff member in the school's HR department said she could not provide information about the arrested teachers since she was fairly new to her position.
“If I knew all the names and details, I would tell you, but since I am new, I don’t have those details."
The No. 8 High School was founded in 1934 and was one of only two high schools in Ghulja at the time.
In 1949, the school was renamed after the President of the Republic of East Turkistan Ehmetjan Qasimi.
A 2021 report by Abdureshid Niyaz, an independent Uyghur researcher based in Turkey said authorities have targeted teachers and intellectuals in Xinjiang because they are the brains of Uyghur society and the most significant means of passing on Uyghur culture and identity.
rfa reported that more than 1.8 million Uyghurs and Turkic minorities are believed to be held in a network of detention camps in Xinjiang since 2017.
Beijing however said the camps are vocational training centres and denied widespread and documented allegations that it has violated the human rights of Muslims living in the region.