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Ethnic Kazakh Writer In China Nominated For Prize In Kazakhstan

Shabdanuly six-volume novel "Kylmys"
Shabdanuly six-volume novel "Kylmys"
ALMATY -- Kazakhstan's Institute for Cultural Politics and Culture Studies has nominated Qazhyghumar Shabdanuly, an ethnic Kazakh writer in China's Xinjiang Province, for a Kazakh state literature award, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Institute Director Yerlan Sairov told journalists in Almaty today that Shabdanuly deserves the award for his six-volume novel "Qylmys" (Crime).

"The novel can be described as a literary work on the national scale...It is a book about the colonization of the Kazakh territories, which gives a clear picture of what Kazakhs went through under the imperial pressure of China and the Soviet Union," Sairov said.

Shabdanuly, 85, has been officially designated a criminal in China. He spent 40 years in Chinese jails for his activism and for writing the first volume of the book. He is currently under house arrest in Xinjiang.

His novel chronicles the fate of an ethnic minority in western China and the difficult life of a political prisoner. A handwritten copy of the book was secretly smuggled to Kazakhstan and 2,000 copies printed by the Atazhurt publishing house in Almaty in November.

There are at least 2 million ethnic Kazakhs living in Xinjiang.