List of diaspora voices

Last updated March 6, 2021

The following is a list of diaspora members of Uyghur, Kazakh, and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang. They range from longtime expatriates and children of immigrants to refugees trapped abroad with missing family. A very incomplete list.

  • Adila Yarmuhammad, a young poet and activist in Australia. (Twitter)
  • Akida Pulat, the daughter of prominent Uyghur folk culture scholar Rahile Dawut, who disappeared in December 2017 in Beijing. Akida lives in Seattle and runs www.freemymom.org, bringing attention to her mother's disappearance. Her interview with Darren Byler here is a moving account that I highly recommend reading all the way through. (Twitter)
  • Arfat "Alfred" Erkin, a student in Los Angeles whose father, a prominent journalist, was sentenced to prison in 2018 and has not been able to contact his son since then. (Twitter)
  • Aydin Anwar, an activist in the US who has interviewed countless overseas Uyghurs, including former prisoners of Guantánamo Bay. (Twitter)
  • Halmurat Harri Uyghur, an activist now living in Finland. Dr. Uyghur's mother and father were both detained and he has lost contact with them. (Twitter)
  • Jevlan Shirmemet, an activist living in Istanbul. He is the son of Suriye Tursunun, a former civil servant who was detained in 2018 and formally imprisoned in 2019, which Shirememet believes is based on her visit to him in Turkey in 2013. (Twitter)
  • Jewher Ilham, daughter of imprisoned Uyghur economist Ilham Tohti. She is currently making a documentary about the Uyghur genocide. (Twitter)
  • Kewser Wayit, a young man in Chicago who has lost contact with his parents. Every day, he posts a short tweet as a diary entry addressed to his father. (Twitter)
  • Mehmet Tohti Atawulla, a graduate student in Turkey whose family has been detained. He writes about himself and his missing family members in this Medium post. The Party-affiliated media outlet Global Times calls him a liar ad a separatist, having interviewed his brother in a factory. It makes no mention of the other family members. (Twitter)
  • Nurdoukht Khudonazarova Taghdumbashi, author of "We have not heard from my Baba-jaan’s relatives in Kashgar for almost two years now" in daikon magazine. (Instagram)
  • Nyrola Elimä is an activist who lives and works in Sweden. Nyrola campaigned for the release of her cousin, Mayila Yakufu, for over two years; she was released in September 2020, only to be re-detained in December. Her story was detailed by CNN in this article. (Twitter)
  • Rahima Mahmut is an activist in the UK and member of the World Uyghur Congress, an organization much vilified by Beijing and denialists. Author of the recent essay, "Interpreting Witness Statements from the Uyghur Genocide" in Society and Space. (Twitter)
  • Samira Imin, daughter of noted publisher and religious scholar Iminjan Seydin, who was detained in 2017 and evidently released some time in 2020. Samira works at a hospital in Boston. (Twitter)
  • Subi Mamat Yuksel, daugther of Mamat Abdullah, a former official who has since been imprisoned after being taken away by authorities in April 2017. (Twitter)
  • Tahir Hamut Izgil is a renowned Uyghur poet living in exile in the United States. In this personal essay, Izgil describes how he and his wife denied their faith to avoid internment and decided to flee to the United States in fall 2017, shortly after the mass crackdown and reeducation campaign began. (Twitter)
  • Ziba Murat, an activist campaigning on behalf of her detained mother, Dr. Gulshan Abbas. Sister of RFA reporter Rushan Abbbas (who the Global Times considers a separatist and a liar). (Twitter)
  • Zulhumar "Humar" Isaac is a journalist living in Sweden. Her story was the subject of a longform article in the New York Times in January 2020. Her parents, Zohra Talip and Isaac Payzulla, were detained in November 2018 but released in March 2019 after media pressure. (Twitter)