A verdict has been reached in the trial of Gorge Floyd’s killer, and justice has been done. The result has touched the hearts of millions of people around the world, not just in the United States. I think one of the people affected is Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, who tweeted last year “I can’t breathe” in sympathy with. George Floyd. On this momentous occasion, I would like to remind her of the story of another George Floyd, one who is closer to her and relevant to her role.
This other Gorge Floyd is Imammemet Ali, a 26-year-old Uyghur engineer who was killed by Chinese police in October 2009 at Midongchu Prison in Urumqi. As a former fellow prisoner of Ali’s described it, "Imam was a very good boy; he came back from two interrogations safe and sound, he was very weak by the third time, and he couldn’t stand up when the police brought him back. He didn’t eat for a day, and the next day he vomited blood. I called the guards and told them Imammemet would be dead if he didn’t get treatment immediately. The next day he was taken away by the police, and he did not return ever. I do not know what happened.” This is the only message that Patigul Ghulam, Ali’s mother, ever got about her son, and she got it by visiting Ali’s former fellow prisoners. She received no word officially, despite going 11 times to the detention center in Urumqi where Ali was held.
It is true that from the available information, we do not know how Ali was tortured. His neck may not have been kneeled on, but perhaps it was his chest or abdomen. Because vomiting blood is not a result of pinching or slapping. We know that this Uyghur George Floyd was gravely injured, but we do not know what parts of his body received injuries, because there were no bystanders on the scene who dared to cry out “Stop!” to the Chinese Derek Chauvin. When Ghulam, who was heartbroken to hear of her son’s probable death, cried out, there were no reporters, because there is no CNN or Washington Post in Urumqi, or even in all of China, to listen to her story.
It has been almost 12 years since this Uyghur George Floyd was taken from detention after vomiting blood, but still there is no official information on his whereabouts. We know only that he was removed by police. His mother, who demanded at least the confirmation of her son’s death and the return of his body, received no response. In 2014, she was herself detained for two years on charges of leaking state secrets, and in 2017, when the “vocational training centers” were built, she was sent to one of the camps to learn how to better keep state secrets.
We know that the killer of the Uyghur Gorge Floyd was a Chinese policeman, but the request to find out who he was and prosecute him to demonstrate China’s racial justice policy has not been heeded. On the contrary, his de facto attorney Professor Ilham Tohti, who filed a complaint with the Chinese People’s Congress about Ali’s case, was detained and sentenced to life in prison on a charge of separatism.
The Uyghur George Floyd, Imammemet Ali, had no pre-existing conditions and was a healthy young engineer who had graduated in 2008 from the South China University of Technology, had just begun a new job in Urumqi.
He was killed /disappeared for his involvement in the July 5, 2009 protests in Urumqi. Prior to his detention, he had “confessed” to his mother, who had “interrogated” him. He had said, "Mom, I had no intention of taking part in the protest. I went to see it. It was the first demonstration I ever saw in my life. The people in front shouted, ‘If you’re a man, don’t just watch, join us now.’ I’m ashamed to go back. Actually, I know that demonstrating does not work in this country[ .”
When will there be a trial for the killer of the Uyghur George Floyd, Imammemet Ali? When will information on his fate be provided? When will his mother and de facto attorney Ilham Tohti be released?
I know that Hua Chunying will not answer these questions, because Imammemet Ali is not the only one killed by police in East Turkistan(XUAR). On that one occasion alone , July5,2009 at least 23 detainees disappeared , leaving no bodies to examine. no videos to show what happened to them , no verdicts returned to confer justice.
If the apparent sense of humanity that Hua Chunying displayed in her tweet about the George Floyd case were sincere, we could expect just one tweet saying whether Imammemet Ali is alive or dead.
Leader of the Uyghur National Movement