Washington, US: US return Uyghur entrepreneur disappeared four years ago is confirmed to be in detention camp in north western China’s Xinjiang region.
Mahmutjan Memetjan, 35, was picked up by authorities in 2017, the year authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) launched a vast network of internment camps.
The real estate investor, also known as Mehetjan Alqut, had lived in Yengisheher (in Chinese, Shule) county, in Kashgar (Kashi) prefecture, where he ran the Kashgar Alqut Property Company.
Chinese authorities have targeted and arrested numerous Uyghur businessmen, intellectuals, and cultural and religious figures in Xinjiang for years as part of a campaign to monitor, control, and assimilate members of the minority group purportedly to prevent religious extremism and terrorist activities.
Mahmutjan and other entrepreneurs went on a group business trip to the US on April 8-22, 2016, according to the source.
In May 2017, not quite a year after the delegation returned home, Yengisheher county police detained Mahmutjan and questioned him about his travels to the US, said the source, who declined to be named in order to speak freely.
A police officer in Yengisheher county told RFA that Mahmutjan’s case had been handled by Yu Tiantian, a Han Chinese police officer from the same work unit.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and subjecting them to abuse including forced labour.
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) brutal crackdown on the ethnic community.
The US banned imports of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang in January, and Canada and the United Kingdom followed suit.
Many international brands, including H&M, Nike and Ralph Lauren, have also gone on record to declare their products are not made from Xinjiang cotton.