Ziya Samedi

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Ziya Samedi (Russian: Зия Самеди) (1914 – 20 November 2000) was a Uyghur nationalist writer who held various Chinese government posts and then emigrated to Kazakhstan.



Ziya was born in Yarkant County, Xinjiang Province, China. After having gone to Soviet elementary and middle schools, he moved back to China, settling down in Yining City in 1930. There he founded many primary schools to promote Uyghur education, and wrote his novel The Bloody Mountain, which attacked the Nationalist government's ethnic policy. He also rewrote Gherip Senem, a Uyghur epic poem into a play that has since been played on stage.

Samedi was arrested in 1937 by Xinjiang's governor, Sheng Shicai. A court sentenced him to seven years in jail.

In 1944 he was released, and joined the army of the secessionist Second East Turkestan Republic. He was promoted to a Colonel, and was made in charge of military reconnaissance until that Soviet satellite regime collapsed in 1949.

From 1950-1958 Samedi held a number of important positions in the new Chinese government ruled by the Communist Party, among them regional director of education, director of culture as well as the chairman of writer's association.

In 1958, however, the Chinese government convicted him of crimes relating to sedition and ethnic separatism, sentencing him to two years of re-education through labor.

Soviet Union[edit]

After his re-education sentence was complete, Samedi fled to the Soviet Union. From 1961, he and his family published Uyghur separatist propaganda from the Kazakh SSR, including historical novels, among them Yillar Siri (Secret of the Years), Ehmet Ependi (Mr. Ehmet), Mayimhan, and Gheni the Brave.

In the 1980s, Samedi was honored with the Kazakhstan People's Writer Award for his contribution to Uyghur literature. His books are still available in Kazakhstan.


  • The Bloody Mountain
  • Yillar Siri (Secret of the Years)
  • Ehmet Ependi (Mr. Ehmet)
  • Mayimhan
  • Gheni the Brave