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Majlis Podcast: What Happens When China’s Kazakhs Flee To Kazakhstan?


Murager Alimuly (right) and Kaster Musahanuly are seen in the defendants' cage at their trial on January 6 in Zaysan.

At a January 21 trial in Kazakhstan’s eastern town of Zaysan, a court found Kaster Musahanuly and Murager Alimuly guilty of illegally crossing into Kazakhstan from China.

They were sentenced to one year in prison, though the court took time already served in detention into account, so the two former residents of China’s western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region will be freed from custody in less than six months.

More importantly, they will not be sent back to China, where more than 1 million Muslims -- Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, and others -- are confined in so-called “reeducation camps,” but it is unclear what will happen after they are out of prison.

SPECIAL PROJECT: Locked Up In China: The Plight Of Xinjiang's Muslims

On this week's Majlis podcast, RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderates a discussion on what has been happening to ethnic Kazakhs from Xinjiang when they illegally cross the border and reach Kazakhstan.

From Kazakhstan, Serikzhan Bilash, a Kazakh from Xinjiang who obtained Kazakh citizenship and founded the Kazakhstan-based Atajurt movement that has shed so much light on what is happening in Xinjiang, participates in the discussion.

Daniyar Kossenov, a co-founder of the Kazakh rights group Qaharman, takes part. And we are also joined from Kazakhstan by Aigerim Toleukhan, an old Majlis friend who now works for RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service, known locally as Azattyq. And I pitch in a remark of two.

Podcast: What Happens When China’s Kazakhs Flee To Kazakhstan?
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Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes or on Google Podcasts.

About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Bruce Pannier
Bruce Pannier

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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