A phone call awaited for 6 years

Abdurehim Gheni Uyghur

My name is Abdurehim Gheni, an Uyghur-Dutch activist. After protesting in front of China’s Embassy on 4th September as usual , I was driving home with one of my Dutch supporters. Since 3 years ago, due to I lost contact with my 19 family members, I started a persistent, solo-protest against brutal China’s genocide over Uyghurs and try to obtain information whereabout my family members. Although I had been trying everything which including protesting every weekend, sending letters to king Alexander and Dutch foreign ministry, protesting in front of China’s embassy, demand of getting information about my missing family members had remained unanswered.


When I was driving home after protest, my phone rang and I saw a phone number from China. With mixed feelings of excitement and fear, I answered the call. It was my younger brother, one of the 19 missing family members. I had lost contact with him 6 year ago. After brief greeting, my brother told me that he had been afraid of my health as Chinese virus (Coronavirus) had spread in Europe quickly.

It is not hard to deduce that my brother’s talk was arranged by Chinese government officials after my extensive protests in front of China’s embassy in the Netherlands. I asked my brother for a video talk, but he told me he was not able to make it in this time and that might be possible in next time.

Then, I asked my younger brother about other family members. He said that all family members were fine except my older brother who had been detained and sentenced for 7 years of jail for watching a video originated from abroad.

I insisted to my brother to invite other family members to talk on the phone, so I can see they are alive; but my brother told me that they were not around and maybe it would be possible in next time. I continued asking if other family members were in concentration camps or sent to other Han provinces as slave laborers. My brother told me that I should call re-education centers and skilled workers in Chinese factories, rather than calling concentration camps and slave laborers. Even-though I insisted to talk or meet with other relatives on the phone, but my brother refused my request with different excuses. At last, my brother tried to persuade me not to conduct activities against China, otherwise the consequences would be severe.

This hostage policies of China has been destroying millions of families in East Turkestan. I suspected that my other family members might be dead or in concentration camps or in prisons or taken to other Han provinces as slave laborers.

All hope of talking and obtaining a proof of life of my parents and other family members ended up there. Like many other Uyghurs in exile who haven’t been able to contact their loved ones and suffer mentally to unimaginable extent, I felt agony in my heart.

This is a brief picture of the whole Uyghur society. Although Uyghurs in exile are able to speak up and inquire the whereabouts of their family members, millions of other Uyghurs who have no relatives abroad have been being tortured, murdered, raped in China’s dungeons and subjected to forced labor in Chinese factories as world and all humanity choose silence and ignorance in the face of this ongoing genocide.

If any country or any one thinks the human rights and democracy are protected and genocide towards any nation should be prevented, this is the right time to act. Otherwise, anyone should never talk about any kind of human rights and democracy to be found in this world again. The Never Again slogan is just a writing on the paper.