On an interned intellectual in Xinjiang, by Tang Danhong – trans. Anne Henochowicz
This essay, by Chinese-born, Israel-based author and documentary artist Tang Danhong, is a reflection on her relationship with the Uyghur scholar and poet Dr Ablet Abdurishit Berqi, called “Tarim” in the essay, whose name was later published on public lists of intellectuals interned in Xinjiang. Tang befriended Dr Berqi during his postdoctoral fellowship at Haifa University, Israel. The Uyghurs are a majority-Muslim ethnic group in China’s far northwestern province of Xinjiang and the primary target of China’s ongoing campaign of cultural genocide in the region; since 2017, China has put over a million Uyghurs and other Muslims into “re-education” camps, where their language, faith and heritage are forcibly suppressed. Tang confronts this unfolding horror as she searches for news of Dr. Berqi, a secular Muslim and political moderate who tried to work within China’s party-state system to improve the lives of his people. This is the first time the full translation is appearing in English, and the text is punctuated by excerpts of translated poetry by Dr Berqi. – Anne Henochowicz
I retweeted Erkin: “The president of XX University has confirmed that a research fellow in the College of Humanities, Dr. Z.B., has been arrested; his colleague, Professor G.O., a fellow in pre-modern Uyghur literature, has also been arrested, because he once attended a conference in Turkey. Their whereabouts are unknown.” The tweet included photos of the two scholars. They looked to be in their forties and both had a cultivated poise, the obvious bearing of respected intellectuals.