Expat Uighurs Say Families Under Pressure in Xinjiang

Ankara, MINA — Expat Uighurs have voiced concerns over the increasing pressure on their close relatives in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region, which has over 10 million Uighur residents.

In a feature story by Australia’s national broadcaster ABC, Uighurs living abroad say they feel fear as their families remained stranded in China’s growing “political re-education camps”.

Uighur, a Turkic group that makes up arncy reported.ound 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang, has accused China of carrying out repressive policies that restrain their religious, commercial and cultural activities.

Almas Nizamidin, a 27-year-old construction worker who gained Australian citizenship in 2014 after leaving China in 2009, told ABC that his wife and mother are under detention in West China.

Nizamidin said when he came back to his country to find her wife after detention reports, the city he grew up looked like under “occupation.”

“There were lines of tanks on the streets, and a police blockhouse every 100 metres where police officers scan people’s IDs and the contents of their phones,” he said.

Detentions on rise

Abdul-Salam Alim, a 45-year-old Uighur man and teacher at Garden College in Adelaide, told ABC that his wife has five siblings living in the Xinjiang city of Hotan.

Alim said each adult of the five families except for one has been held or imprisoned, “and this leaves 21 children in the care of the only one woman who’s free in the whole family.”

“At home I don’t allow these talks to open up in the house, I just try to change the subject. Because I know if I talk, someone will start [getting emotional],” he said.

According to the ABC, Australia is home to a large number of Uighur community of an estimated 600 families, a population of over 3,000 people who mostly live in Adelaide city of South Australia.

The Chinese government’s political re-education camps target the religion and culture of Uighurs. (T/RS5/RS1)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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