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Uyghur Singer Rashida Dawut Sentenced to Prison Term by Xinjiang Authorities

Rashida Dawut in an undated photo~RFA

A Uyghur singer celebrated for her love ballads has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term for “separatism” following a secret trial in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), according to multiple sources.

Rashida Dawut, a long-time member of the Xinjiang Muqam Troupe in the XUAR capital Urumqi who produced popular solo albums in the 1990s, was sentenced to 15 years in jail for “separatism” by the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court in late 2019, a source claiming to have close knowledge of the situation recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said that a number of people involved in the arts and literature in the XUAR had been informed of Dawut’s imprisonment, and several of them confirmed to RFA that she was sentenced, although they were unable to say for how long.

“I know that Rashida Dawut was sentenced, but I don’t know [the length],” a former member of the XUAR Song and Dance Troupe told RFA in a phone call, before hanging up.

An employee of the Bingtuan Opera Troupe—a name used to refer to the quasi-military Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC)—told RFA authorities had recently notified them that Dawut was sent to prison.

“I can’t answer that because I don’t know,” the employee said, when asked how many years Dawut had been sentenced to.

The employee said that a woman named Mahinur, who directs the opera’s dance group, was also present in the meeting where Dawut’s imprisonment was announced. Calls to Mahinur’s home went unanswered.

RFA spoke with both the Urumqi Women’s Association and the XUAR Women’s Association and was told by an official at the former that “no one at the office gave us any clear notice about that,” when asked the length of Dawut’s sentence. A staffer at the regional office denied knowledge of the case.

Court sources

RFA also spoke with employees of the municipal court system in Urumqi, including an employee with the Tianshan District People’s Court, who confirmed that the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court was responsible for Dawut’s verdict, but was unable to provide details of the sentence.

“I don’t know the answer to that—they didn’t tell us,” the staffer said.

“We don’t handle cases like this one. This was a different kind of case,” he said, suggesting that it was political, rather than criminal.

But a staffer at the criminal division of the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court told RFA he knew of Dawut’s verdict, and heard she was sentenced to 15 years.

“That was a case from last year … We haven’t gotten any sort of formal notification of the verdict here,” he said.

“I heard [she received] 15 years … [The trial] took place before the new year.”

Other sources suggested to RFA that Dawut, who has family living in the U.S. state of Virginia, had spent time between 2018 and 2019 detained at one of the XUAR’s vast network of internment camps, where authorities are believed to have held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslims since April 2017, although RFA was unable to independently verify the claim.

Bits of information’

In an interview with RFA, U.S.-based Uyghur historian Qahar Barat said that even basic confirmations of incarcerations in the XUAR are valuable to the wider community because of what he said are “inherent problems” with information and transparency in Chinese governance.

“We tend to see government offices as the most prestigious of their kind,” he said.

“Thus, any organization that goes by the name of a government organ must be responsible for, answer for, and inform the public, the world, and other governments about the good and bad things that take place within the scope of their work. This is an absolute responsibility.”

Barat said that because Beijing doesn’t provide local governments with the right to do so, the onus is on others to “discover the truth wherever we can.”

“Because the government has shirked its roles and its responsibility to answer [for the things it does], these bits of information are the most credible things we have,” he said, adding, “There’s nothing else we can do.”

Beijing initially denied the existence of internment camps in the XUAR, but last year changed tack and began describing the facilities as “boarding schools” that provide vocational training for Uyghurs, discourage radicalization, and help protect the country from terrorism.

Reporting by RFA’s Uyghur Service and other media outlets, however, indicates that those in the camps are detained against their will and subjected to political indoctrination, routinely face rough treatment at the hands of their overseers, and endure poor diets and unhygienic conditions in the often overcrowded facilities.

Reported by Shohret Hoshur for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Translated by Elise Anderson. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. https://www.rfa.org

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Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus: 
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes ,organizations or individual.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources  then it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on social media messages that the lockdown will last for more than 3 months. Check any related information only on Government Web Portals and social media platforms of various Government Agencies.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.












The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they are developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

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