19 of my missing family members are the living proof of China’s genocide against Uyghurs!

Abdurehim Gheni Uyghur

My name is Abdurehim Gheni. I live in Netherlands with my wife and three children. Since May 23, 2017, I have had no contacts whatsoever with 19 of my family members living in East Turkestan. I don’t know if they are alive, in “concentration camps” or in prison.

I have been demonstrating alone in Dam Square in Amsterdam since June 23, 2018 to raise awareness of the plight of the Uyghurs, including my family. I have also peacefully demonstrated in front of the Dutch parliament, in front of the Chinese embassy in Hague, in front of the Eiffel Tower in France and in front of the UN building in Geneva, but I still have not yet heard from any of my family.

I have sent letters to the Dutch King, the Dutch Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Netherlands for assistance in obtaining information about my missing family members through diplomatic channels. On my behalf, they contacted the Chinese Embassy in Netherlands, which contacted me for more information about the identity of my family members. I provided all the details I had on them, but it has been more than 4 years, I still have not heard back from them.

On August 14, 2020, I protested alone in front of the Chinese Embassy in Hague, demanding the Chinese authorities give me a status update on my 19 family members. As I entered the courtyard of the embassy, I was immediately arrested by the Dutch police guarding the premises. Two hours later,  and I was released with a fine of 1,000 euros.

abdurehim gheni arrested

On the second day of my demonstration in front of the Chinese Embassy, I received a phone call from my younger brother Abdukerim Gheni in China, who told me to call the Chinese police. Following that first phone call, he called me back twice and told me that everyone in my family was fine, but I would not be allowed to speak with any of them except himself.

On September 24, 2020, I received a forwarded letter of the Chinese authorities from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The letter informed me that five members of my family were sentenced to 3–16 years imprisonments on various charges and the rest of my family members are “living freely”.

I tried to talk to other family members beside my brother Abdukerim, but so far, my effort is no avail.  Abdukerim has never told me clearly what exactly happened to others. Without hearing their voices, I cannot trust what the Chinese government’s “living freely” report on the rest of the 14 family members.

If they are indeed free, why don’t the Chinese authorities allow my relatives to be contacted by phone?

Tragically, my situation is not unique, and what has happened to my family has been the norm for most Uyghur families in East Turkestan since 2017.

I here ask the Chinese government again, where are 19 of my family members?

The disappearance of my 19 family members is a living proof for the millions of Uyghurs who have been subjected to the on-going genocide by the Chinese Communist regime.