Niyaz Kahar

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Uighur reporter and blogger Niyaz Kahar was serving a sentence of 13 years on charges of separatism that should have ended in July 2022. CPJ was unable to determine whether he had been released or transferred to an internment camp in Xinjiang. Police detained Kahar, founder of the Uighur-language website Golden Tarim, in July 2009.  

Kahar worked as a local reporter before launching Golden Tarim, which featured articles on Uighur history, culture, politics, and social life.

He disappeared during ethnic rioting in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, in July 2009. His family announced in February 2014 that he had been convicted of separatism and was being held in Shikho Prison outside the city of Shikho, in the far north of Xinjiang, according to the U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia.

With the unrest surrounding the riots, CPJ was unable to determine the exact date of his arrest or where he was initially held. His family had questioned police and government authorities after his disappearance but received no information and assumed he had been killed until they were informed of his conviction in 2010, according to that Radio Free Asia report.

The family was told that Kahar was sentenced to 13 years in prison during a closed court session in Urumqi though they did not know the date of the trial. Kahar’s sister Nurgul told Radio Free Asia that during their search for Kahar, the family was told by court officials in Urumqi that he "published illegal news and propagated ideas of ethnic separatism on his website. He was charged with the crime of “splitting the nation."

In September 2015, Radio Free Asia reported that Kahar’s health was failing. His family was allowed only a 15-minute visit with the journalist every four months. "He is losing his courage year by year," the outlet cited his mother as saying. 

According to Xinjiang Victims Database, a crowd-funded database that documents mass incarcerations of ethnic minorities in China, Kahar may be subjected to forced labor in detention.

CPJ’s messages in October 2023 to the Xinjiang governmental service and the Xinjiang region prison administration about Kahar did not receive a response.