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Dissident Kazakh Writer Dies In Western China

Qazhyghumar Shabdan

Qazhyghumar Shabdan

ALMATY -- Prominent Kazakh writer and dissident Qazhyghumar Shabdan died today at the age of 85 while under house arrest in China's Xinjiang Province, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Shabdan spent almost 40 years in Chinese jails for his participation in underground dissident movements. He was best known for defending the rights of western China's ethnic minorities and for his book "Qylmys" (The Crime), which describes the suffering of Xinjiang's ethnic Kazakh population under Chinese rule.

There are some 2 million ethnic Kazakhs living in western China.

Shabdan was released from prison in 2001 and put under house arrest. His movements remained restricted until his death.

Shabdan's son-in-law, Tilek Kenzhebek, told RFE/RL from Almaty that Shabdan will be buried on February 17 in Chuguchak -- known as Tacheng in Chinese -- the northwestern Chinese town on the border with Kazakhstan where he died.

Read more in Kazakh here