Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have arrested a prominent Uyghur scholar in a case believed linked to the publication of a book deemed “problematic” following its translation and release five years ago, Uyghur sources say.
Gheyret Abdurahman, the 52-year-old deputy head of the Linguistics Department at the Academy of Social Sciences of Xinjiang, was arrested in March and joins four other Academy members now in police custody, sources told RFA’s Uyghur Service.
Speaking to RFA, a staff member of the Academy confirmed Gheyret’s arrest, but declined to discuss details of the case, while a senior member of the Academy said that Gheyret was among a larger group taken into custody at the institute.
Other Academy members now held by police include Koresh Tahir, Shawket Ilahun, Abduqeyim, and Abdurazaq Sahin, with the dates of their arrests still unconfirmed, sources told RFA in earlier reports.
Gheyret’s arrest was linked to his translation of a novel, The Red Sorghum Clan, by Chinese Nobel Literature laureate Mo Yan, a source in the region told RFA, speaking on condition of anonymity. The translation was published in 2013 by the Kashgar Publishing House, over 600 of whose titles are now considered politically sensitive by Chinese authorities.