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General aid for Xinjiang incarceration victims

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Dear friends and supporters,

The mass incarcerations in northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have affected many. While our ability to help those in Xinjiang remains very limited, helping those who have made it out or who were put into difficult circumstances by having loved ones in Xinjiang detained is easy and should be done. The purpose of this fundraiser is very blunt: to provide small financial gifts here and there, unconditionally and without strings attached, to people whom we know and trust and for whom such small gifts could go a long way.

At the time of writing, such aid is essentially aimed at a few individuals in Kazakhstan. Some of them – like Nurlan Kokteubai or Baqytali Nur – are ex-detainees who spent significant time in China’s “training centers” and have not come out the better for it. Many struggle with health issues and psychological trauma, which make difficult to integrate into a society where Kazakhs from China already face a certain number of hardships. Many struggle to find work, something that has been made more difficult by the coronavirus pandemic. Others, like Qaisha Aqan, crossed the border illegally and were allowed to stay, but only to be put into a pseudo-legal situation with limited freedoms, also making it difficult for them to get back on their feet. Yet others, like Bikamal Kaken, found themselves made destitute when the main source of financial support (usually the husband) went to China and got detained, in some cases being handed a long prison sentence.

It is not the goal of this fundraiser to support ALL such people and to make them financially reliant on us. However, requests come in from time to time, often small, and it would be good to have some small funds on hand to help here and there. As a reference point, 50-100USD could cover a person’s (possibly family’s) monthly rent in Kazakhstan, while another 50-100 could cover their food expenses. These are modest amounts in most developed countries, but can make a large difference here. Unfortunately, the Kazakhstan government has done almost nothing for these people – refusing to recognize them as victims, while occasionally harassing them for speaking up about the situation in Xinjiang.

We are starting this at a small scale and with modest sums, but please give something if you can, as it will matter.

Sincerely,

Gene A. Bunin (curator of shahit.biz)
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Organizer

Gene Bunin
Organizer
Medford, MA

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