3 Wednesday, August 14, 2019 05:52

Uighur man held after leaking letters from Xinjiang camp inmates, says family

A Uighur man who leaked letters from inmates at China’s secretive internment camps in Xinjiang has been detained, according to activists and relatives.Abdurahman Memet, 30, a tour guide in Turpan, last year received letters from his parents and brother, written from inside detention centres in the far western region where as many as 1.

5 million Muslims are believed to be detained in political “re-education” and other camps.In July, the letters were translated and published in the Xinjiang Victims Database, a public repository and watchdog site. The rare documents, among the first from inside a camp, spread quickly online. In less than a week, Memet vanished.

China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority Read moreMuherrem Muhammad’ali, Memet’s nephew who lives overseas, said his uncle had sent him the letters as “proof” of the detention of many in their family. He decided to publish them last month in the database.“He believed the letters were proof. In our family, we had 10 people who were detained, so this was evidence,” said Muhammad’ali, who held on to the letters for almost a year before giving them to activists to post online.

“I want to publicise the experiences of my family, to awaken people’s conscience to say no to this regime and rescue Uighur people, and save this culture,” he said. “It’s not just me who has suffered this fate, but millions have seen their households ruined and families wrenched apart. They have been forced to leave their homes.

”Within two days of the documents going online, Memet told Muhammad’ali he had received a call from police demanding to know with whom he had shared the letters. By the end of the month, Muhammad’ali learned through contacts that his uncle had been detained in Turpan. Police in Turpan did not respond to requests from the Guardian for comment.

The letters, addressed to Memet as well as his sister-in-law, appear aimed at comforting family members as well as supporting the government’s version of the camps, which Beijing says are “vocational training centres”. All three praised the generosity of the party and pledged their loyalty.But the letters still contain disturbing details and echo the self-criticisms and confessions that were a feature of similar “re-education” camps in the Cultural Revolution.

‘This isn’t true’: Uighur families angered by China claim relatives freed Read moreMemet’s mother, 60, wrote that the dormitories were in “good condition”, equipped with hot water, bathrooms, and air conditioning, and that inmates were provided food, shelter, clothing and “free” learning materials.She goes on: “I let the party and the government down.

I let the society down… I am grateful to the party and government for giving me the opportunity to change! I will always follow the party, I will always listen to the party, I will be grateful to the party”.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest A translation of a letter from Memet’s mother.

. Photograph: Supplied
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News Code: 300260  |  The Guardian
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