Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are holding a prominent Uyghur journalist and poet in a political “re-education camp,” according to his son, who said the arrest is being used as leverage against him because he is living in exile in the U.S.
Bahram Qurban, the son of former editor-in-chief of the official Xinjiang Cultural Journal Qurban Mamut, told RFA’s Uyghur Service that his parents visited him for a month in the U.S. beginning in February 2017, marking the first time the three had seen each other in more than nine years.
After the couple returned home to the XUAR, 68-year-old Mamut went missing, and Qurban said that he later learned that his father had been taken to one of a network of re-education camps in the region, where Uyghurs accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas have since April 2017 been detained without legal process.
“I inquired about him and learned that he had been arrested,” he said.
“He never committed any crime, but the authorities regularly arrest people who have relatives living abroad [to gain leverage over them]. I believe that is why he was arrested. While it isn’t my fault, I feel that I am the reason for his arrest.”