Response to the Chinese Global Times & CGTN

Aziz Isa Elkun
Research affiliate, SOAS, University of London  |

After my recent interview with CNN about the destruction of my father’s tomb, Chinese Global Times and China Global Television Network specifically responded spreading fault information about the destruction of my father’s tomb by forcing my 78 years old mother to give an interview. The GT and CGTN claim that they respect Uyghur and other Muslim nationalities graveyards and burial traditions in East Turkistan (Xinjiang), but the claims made about me in the article are not correct.

They said: “Aziz Isa Elkun claimed he could not find his father’s grave, which was located in Xayar county in Aksu Prefecture, from a satellite image on Google. However, instead of checking with his family in Xinjiang, the Uygur poet opted to tell the media of his discovery.”

Let me clarify this:

My father worked for 40 years as a medical doctor for Shayar County, Toyboldi town hospital. He died on 4th November 2017. I heard about his death four days later through a friend. Soon before the end of 2017, all my telephone communication with my mother was cut off. I had no news about my mother and other relatives from our village for more than two years, when I learned from friends living outside the region that my mother was alive and that my sister had been detained in an interment camp for more than a year and a half. I still have no news of my other relatives. Thanks to this Global Times TV Network report I have now heard my mother’s voice for the first time since February 2017.

On 15th April 2019, I discovered from Google Earth Pro map that the graveyard and tomb of my beloved father were all destroyed. When I visited my family in 2012, we pre-built my parents’ tombs (see photos below), so I know exactly where they are located. My father stayed in his tomb for only 623 days. I only understood the destruction after comparing Google Earth Pro map’s capture timeline in last the 15 years.

Please check on Google map: Near Xayar, Aksu, Xinjiang, China

I call on the Chinese government to respect international law and their own constitution. China is now committing a crime against the Uyghur people, and a crime against humanity which amounts to cultural genocide against the Uyghur people.

Firstly, I urge the government to explain why they destroyed my father’s tomb and where are his remains now?

Secondly, China’s government must allow me to speak to my widowed and elderly mother. She came to visit me and her grand children to London in 2011, but the Chinese government confiscated her passport after her return. I ask the Chinese government return my mother’s passport and let her be united with her son, to give her a chance to live in peace in her late years.

Thirdly, I urge them to release over two million innocent Uyghur Chinese citizens from internment camps, and an end to all forms of persecution of the Uyghur people.


My father Isa Abdulla’s pre-built tomb (second from left) in Yéngichimen village, Toyboldi Town, Shayar County, East Turkistan (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China). It was built in 2012. Photographed by Aziz Isa Elkun in August 2012.

My father Isa Abdulla. Photo taken in summer 2006. Place: Isa Abdulla’s house, Yéngichimen village, Toyboldi Town, Shayar County, East Turkistan (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China).

 Hepizikhan Nizamidin, mother of Aziz Isa Elkun, visiting her grandmother’s tomb on Ramadan Festival day in Yéngichimen village, Toyboldi Town, Shayar County, East Turkistan (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China) in August 2012. Photographed by Aziz Isa Elkun on 19 August 2012. 

 Aziz Isa Elkun visiting his grandmother’s tomb in Yéngichimen village, Toyboldi Town, Shayar County, East Turkistan (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China) on 31st January 2017. 


14 January 2020, London.


Read more about Aziz Isa Elkun’s family story:

Media sorces:

CNN: More than 100 Uyghur graveyards demolished by Chinese authorities, satellite images show

AFP: Even in death, Uighurs feel long reach of Chinese state

China’s Global Times: Xinjiang refutes CNN report on ‘destruction of Uygur tombs’

China Global Television Network: By following CNN, we find how they make fake news about Xinjiang

Bitter Winter: Demolishing Graveyards in Xinjiang: Even Dead Uyghurs Are Now Persecuted

ABC: Safe and sound? China launches propaganda blitz to discredit Uyghur #StillNoInfo campaign

惨!死无葬身之地 中共连维吾尔墓地都要强拆(《万维追击》 20200102-04 S2EXJ)


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