Ethnic Uyghurs have launched a global campaign to press China for video proof that their missing relatives are alive, turning the tables on Beijing’s use of video to counter claims that a renowned Uyghur had died in custody.
The social media campaign was launched February 11 2018, under the hashtag #MeTooUyghur after China released a video of a man who identified himself as Uyghur poet and musician Abdurehim Heyit saying he was alive and well.
“Chinese authorities showed a video as proof Mr. Heyit is still alive. Now, we want to know, there are millions of Uyghurs?” said Murat Harri Uyghur (Halmurat), an activist in Finland, who created the hashtag and launched the movement.
The hashtag prompted posts from around the world, with Uyghurs holding pictures of missing mothers, fathers, sons, daughters or friends.
A UN panel of experts says nearly one million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking minorities are being held in extrajudicial detention in camps in #EastTurkestan, where most of China’s more than 10 million Uyghurs live.
Beijing at first denied the allegation, but later said it has put people into “vocational education centers”.
Many overseas Uighurs have not been able to contact relatives and friends in China for years as phone calls and messaging platforms are under close Chinese surveillance, said Rushan Abbas, a US-based rights activist.