On April 9, Chinese officials broadcast a video featuring Tursun’s confession during a press conference in Beijing, “I will try my best to change myself and receive the leniency of the party and the government” said Tursun. He also called on his son, Arfat Erkin, who is now living abroad and campaigning for Tursun’s freedom, to return to China.
Tursun is serving a 20-year sentence in Xinjiang on charges of “inciting ethnic hatred, ethnic discrimination and covering up crimes” according to Beijing authorities. Tursun was previously a television host and producer with the state-owned Ili Television Station in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture.
On April 10, Erkin said via Twitter he was “relieved” to learn that his father is still alive, but at the same time, he was “saddened” as his father is almost unrecognisable in the video. The Uyghur student and rights activist said his mother, once detained in 2017, was forced to “speak against me” on a similar propaganda video two years ago.
The IFJ said: “Showing videos featuring Uyghurs making forced confessions has become a part of Beijing's propaganda tactics to defend its Xinjiang policy. The IFJ condemned Beijing’s continuous attempts to discredit Uyghurs in Xinjiang and abroad, including journalists, and it called for the immediate release of Tursun.”