The United States has expressed deep concern over reports of harassment by Chinese authorities of the family of a Uighur American journalist working for Radio Free Asia in Washington.
Shohret Hoshur left China in 1994 after articles he had written in a local paper about the treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang were deemed “separatist” by Chinese authorities. Now a U.S. citizen living in the United States, Hoshur has received multiple awards for his investigative journalism.
According to Radio Free Asia, the harassment of Shohret Hoshur’s family in China began in 2009, after the broadcast of his report on the death of a Uighur torture victim; however, in the past year, Chinese authorities have intensified their efforts to silence his reporting on sensitive issues.
In 2014, one of Mr. Hoshur’s brothers was sentenced to five years in prison for purportedly violating state security laws. Two other brothers were reportedly detained without charges or a trial date by authorities for allegedly leaking state secrets after discussing the sentencing in a phone call with Hoshur.
According to some reports, China jailed more journalists than any other country in 2014. This was partly due to the increased detention of journalists from ethnic minorities, mostly Tibetans and Uighurs.
At a press briefing, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki noted the United States “consistently raise[s] the treatment of journalists and ethnic and religious minorities with the Chinese Government at all levels.” “We’re deeply concerned by reports that family members of the Radio Free Asia journalist Shohret Hoshur continue to be harassed, including reports that his brothers have been imprisoned, apparently in retribution for his reporting. We urge Chinese authorities to cease harassment of his family and to treat them fairly and with dignity,” said Ms. Psaki. “We continually urge China to respect internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression.”