Reporters Without Borders has condemned the harassment of Albanian-Canadian history professor and journalist Olsi Jazexhi by Chinese authorities, following an article he published in support of Uyghur Muslims that are imprisoned in China,
Jazexhi was invited to Xinjiang on a trip sponsored by the Chinese state, following which he published a piece in Turkish news outlet Sabah Post. In the article, he urged the international Islamic community to support Uyghurs imprisoned in China’s so-called “re-education camps”.
The next day, a Xinjiang official that was interviewed by Beijing portal the Global Times accused Jazexhi of “going against basic professional ethics”. The Chinese ambassador to Turkey then attacked the journalist in another opinion piece.
Jazexhi says he has since been denied work at the University of Durres where he had taught for four years, a move he claims is a result of Chinese influence in the institution.,
“The fact that the Chinese authorities funded Olsi’s trip to Xinjiang does in no way entitle them to dictate what he is allowed to report”, insists Cedric Alviani, the head of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia bureau, who commends “the courage of this citizen-journalist, who didn’t fail his responsibility to truthfully report what he saw despite the possible consequences.”
According to NGO Uyghur Human Rights Project, at least 58 journalists, editors and publishers from Xinjiang have been detained in China including website administrator Gulmira Imin and Václav Havel Prize and Sakharov Prize laureate Ilham Tohti, both sentenced to life in prison for “separatism”.
In the RSF World Press Freedom Index 2019, Albania ranks 82nd out of 180 countries and territories while China ranks 177th.
It is estimated that the Chinese government have detained as many as one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other ethnic Turkish Muslims in secret internment camps. These ‘re-education camps’ have been created to indoctrinate Uyghurs as a part of a “people’s war on terror” and were established under General Secretary Xi Jinping’s administration.