Tue, Mar 06, 2018 - Page 6 News List

US journalists say China detained families

RETALIATION:Six RFA reporters said their family members began disappearing last spring, allegedly as punishment for their coverage of Xinjiang re-education centers


An Agence France-Presse review of state media reports and government documents verified the existence of at least 30 such centers and nearly 4,000 cases of people being sent to them.

Shortly after RFA began posting its first reports on the centers, information about them began to disappear from Chinese Web sites.

Hoja started a career in local television at the age of 11 and had become a popular television host in Xinjiang.

However, a radio broadcast from RFA changed her life.

“It was so powerful. I’d never heard that kind of voice. It completely changed me,” she said.

She joined RFA in 2001.

When Chinese authorities realized she had fled the country, they began pressuring her parents into making her come back, promising a high-paying job and luxury housing.

During her 17 years at RFA, none of her relatives had been detained — until last spring.

When she heard the news through friends with relatives living in the US, she frantically tried to contact her family members, but no one answered, she said.

She finally reached an aunt, who said: “Don’t call me. Don’t call anybody. Just hang up.”

Despite concerns for their families, the reporters vow to continue their work.

“This is the only voice for my voiceless people,” Hoja said. “Other listeners just give their time to listen to the radio. Uighurs give their lives.”

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