Alimjan Yimiti Physically Unwell
Alimjan Yimiti, a Uyghur Christian imprisoned in China, is reportedly ill, though his exact medical condition is unknown. The former house church leader was sentenced in 2009 to 15 years in prison for allegedly “instigating separatism and revealing state secrets.” Those close to the case maintain that he was imprisoned because of his Christian faith and witness among the Uyghur people. They assert that there was never any proof of wrongdoing, and that Yimiti, an agricultural worker, would not have had access to state secrets. Minority Christians in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, where the Uyghur people reside, continue to face ongoing persecution in contrast to some easing for Christians in other parts of China. A Turkic tribe divided into many clans, the vast majority of Uyghurs are Muslim, and each clan strives to preserve its Islamic identity. According to a July 29, 2012 Open Doors (OD) report, prepared by the program coordinator for minorities, says that Christians from ethnic minority groups in China are caught between a rock and a hard place. “There is persecution from one’s environment,” he explained, “especially family members, but the government plays a part, too. What may happen is that minority leaders complain to [the majority] Han officials, and because they do not want any civil unrest, they may act against the convert.” “Christians have to meet in small groups and in secret,” shares the OD program coordinator. “The government wants to uncover anything that is being done in secret. For instance, they call on people to let them know when they see people pulling their window shades during the day. These measures target opposition groups, but also house churches. The government wants to prevent any activity that may cause social unrest.” Prison life has held many challenges for Alimjan, though he reportedly generally does well considering the conditions. He is allowed to see only one visitor for 20 minutes per month, as is customary in Chinese prisons. Usually his wife, Gulnur, or his mother visits him. Gulnur and the children have also faced numerous difficulties during Alimjan’s time in prison. Family members blamed Gulnur for Alimjan’s imprisonment, and she suffered from depression for a time, but fortunately it has lifted. As the family’s sole breadwinner now, she runs a small business. Recent problems with a business partner have caused her a lot of additional stress. Please continue to pray for Alimjan and Gulnur. Father, as Alimjan suffers in prison, innocent of the crimes for which he is accused, we pray Your hand of healing and protection to rest upon him. Grant him opportunities to share the gospel with other inmates and to minister the Word to other believers that this time might not be in vain. Strengthen his wife, Gulnur, as she provides for her family, and grant her wisdom in these current conflicts with a business partner. Wash over them both with Your peace that is greater than all of their troubles. In the name of Jesus, in whom we place all our trust, Amen.