Among the detained in China’s north-western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) are Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim groups whose religious and cultural practices are central to their identity. The Chinese government appears to be trying to wipe out religious beliefs and aspects of cultural identity to enforce political loyalty.
Friends and relatives of those detained are cut off from information and don’t know where their loved ones are. Now, they don’t even feel safe outside China.
Uyghurs living overseas – including in Canada – are being harassed and intimidated by Chinese authorities. Around 400 people have told us their stories, recounting intrusive surveillance, intimidating phone calls and even death threats. Their family members in China are targeted to suppress their activism abroad.
In 2015, Thailand returned more than 100 Uyghurs who had sought refuge in the country. Egypt deported 16 students at the request of Chinese authorities in 2017. Many fear they ended up in Xinjiang’s shadowy internment camps.
Pictured above: Guligeina Tashimaimaiti (in photo) has not been heard from since 26 December 2017, when she returned from Malaysia to her hometown in Yili, Xinjiang. Her family fear that she has been detained at a "re-education" camp and is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.