Uyghur professor missing for 8 months, likely detained in Beijing

Rahile Dawut, a scholar at Xinjiang University, may have been abducted by Chinese authorities in Beijing or on her way there according to reports

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Professor Rahile Dawut, on the cover of a 2017 issue of "Xinjiang Women" (Image from Twitter)

Professor Rahile Dawut, on the cover of a 2017 issue of "Xinjiang Women" (Image from Twitter)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – According to reports a well-known and respected Uyghur professor has gone missing in Beijing.

Professor Rahile Dawut, a scholar at Xinjiang University may have been abducted by Chinese authorities in Beijing or on her way there according to a New York Times article published Aug. 10.

Dawut, a specialist on Uyghur culture and traditions, reportedly left Urumqi, Xinjiang for Beijing last December. She has not been seen since and is presumed to be in a detention center, under supervision of the communist authorities.

According to the report at Liberty Times, after being unable to contact Dawut for months, family members of Dawut remained silent, fearful to speak out. However, being fearful that her life may be in danger, they decided to come forward.

The founder of the Dui Hua Foundation, John Kamm, has inquired with Chinese authorities in Beijing on the whereabouts of the professor, but has received no reply.

PEN America’s Senior Director of Free Expression Programs, Summer Lopez in a press release said “The apparent months-long secret detention of Rahile Dawut is yet another illustration that Chinese governmental policy is geared towards erasing Uyghur identity. Like so many others, Dawut has apparently been targeted simply for being a voice for her culture.”

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination recently held a panel discussion on the detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, also called East Turkestan, where the Committee’s vice chairwoman said that the region has become a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy," as the communist government attempts to erase Uyghur culture and force locals to give up their religious identity.