By BosNewsLife Asia Service
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewslife)-- The wife of jailed Christian house church leader Uyghur Alimujiang Yimiti has been told that she can no longer visit her husband every month in a Chinese prison, rights activists reported Friday, January 25.
Instead, Gulinuer will only be allowed to see him once every three months, said advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
"On Wednesday this week Gulinuer went to visit her husband at Xinjiang No. 3 Prison, but was refused entry," CSW explained in a statement. "Their last meeting in November 2012 lasted just 15 minutes. Since then she has spoken to her husband once by phone, on New Year’s Day."
Alimujiang Yimiti, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, is serving a 15 years sentence in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on what his supporters call "false" charges of providing "state secrets" to outsiders.
He was detained in January 2008 and sentenced over two years later in March 2010 despite international concerns about the fairness of the trial and the treatment he received. He was also told to face five years’ deprivation
of political rights, trial observers said.
His former lawyer, Li Dunyong, was quoted as saying that he believes his client was detained for speaking to foreign Christians.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said in a statement that “the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Alimujiang Yimiti is arbitrary, being in contravention of […] the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.
China has denied wrongdoing.
CSW Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said his group is "extremely concerned about the reduction in the number of family visits allowed for Alimujiang Yimiti."
He said the "sudden decision with no legal basis...is very distressing for Yimiti’s wife and sons."
CSW, he added, has urged Chinese authorities to reverse this decision "immediately and to drop the arbitrary charges against Alimujiang Yimiti, securing his unconditional release”.
The Christian has long been the target pprosecution for his Christian activities, Christians said.
Previously in 2007, the Kashgar Municipal Bureau for Ethnic and Religious Affairs in Xinjiang reportedly ruled that Yimiti had “engaged in illegal religious infiltration activities in Kashi area in the name of work."
He, "preached Christianity, distributed religious propaganda materials and converted people to Christianity among ethnic Uighurs,” the authority said.
Two appeals filed by Yimiti’s lawyers in January 2010 and March 2011 were rejected, according to CSW which closely monitored the vase.
"Gulinuer believes the prison authorities’ decision this week could be connected to her husband’s current appeal.
Lawyer Li believes the restrictions are illegal and “made up”, since the normal allowance for visits is one per month," CSW said.
However, Yimiti’s wife reportedky remains hopeful that the appeal will succeed.
There has been concern among authorities about the spread of Christianity in Communist-ruled China, including among Muslims.
Communist officials have in the past been quoted as saying that there may be as many as 130 million Christians in China, one of the world's fastest growing Christian communities.
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