Guligeina just wanted to make sure her parents were safe. Now, her friends and family fear she has been detained in a Chinese Government re-education camp and is at risk of torture.
In December 2017, Guligeina left her PhD studies in Malaysia and returned home to Yili, in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. She was worried about her parents who she had been unable to contact since February 2017. She has not been heard from since.
Guligeina knew it would be dangerous, so she made a plan with her friend Sammy — if her social media profile photo changed weekly, that meant she was safe. But her photo only changed during her first week home, then remained the same for many weeks until, one day, it switched to a dark, gloomy photo that looked like a prison cell.
In the last year the Chinese Government has launched an unprecedented crackdown on Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities. People like Guligeina face arbitrary detention in re-education camps, technological surveillance, heavily armed street patrols and security checkpoints. People are often detained if they communicate with relatives overseas.
No one should face arbitrary and indefinite detention simply because they practice a particular religion or belong to an ethnic minority. Everyone should be free to visit family without fear of persecution.