He and his brother live a successful life abroad. This is a crime in China, and a third brother has “disappeared” after having been arrested
by Martyna Kokotkiewicz
If there is anything the CCP is mastering, it is a special know-how on how to destroy families. The story Mirehmet Ablet has shared with Bitter Winter just offers additional evidence. While establishing contact with relatives in the Uyghur homeland is problematic in general, he and his loved ones are facing additional troubles. Mirehmet’s brother, Miradil, has been arrested.
Mirehmet Ablet is a Uyghur man from Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. He currently lives in the Netherlands. He is trying to live a normal life, working as a translator and trying to think positively, but it seems more than obvious that this is the most difficult part of it all. His closest relatives, including his mother, are far away from him, but this is not his worst concern.
About two months ago Mirehmet found out that his father, a prominent teacher, and the principal of one of Kashgar’s schools for more than 35 years, had passed away. Reportedly, this took place in January, which means that the son had been unaware of his father’s death for about half a year. However, it is not surprising if we bear in mind that Mirehmet had been unable to contact his family since… August 2017. We are in September 2020 and, because of the pandemic probably more than ever, we are constantly in touch with the world, using all the available means of communication. Many of us are living in lockdown, but at least we are able to maintain on-line communication with our loved ones.
This is not true for Mirehmet. August 2017 marks another dramatic event in his story. At that time Mirehmet’s brother, Miradil, was arrested by the CCP police in Kashgar. The reason seems quite apparent, although only according to the wicked logics of Chinese authorities. Miradil Ablet has relatives abroad: Mirehmet in the Netherlands, and another brother, Mirkamil, in Canada. None of the brothers, not to mention Miradil himself, has ever been engaged in any kind of anti-Chinese separatist activities. The only act of “disobedience” was when Mirkamil Ablet refused to come back from Canada to China when asked to do so by the Chinese police. The order came when people started to figure out what was happening to the Uyghurs going back to the homeland following such orders. Therefore, it is not surprising that Mirkamil refused to go back home. Unfortunately, the government found a way to punish the whole family merely for the fact that a relative used his basic human right of choosing his place of residence.
Not only has Miradil Ablet been arrested, he has literally disappeared. His relatives do not know his exact whereabouts. What they do know is that he has never violated the law. On the contrary, he could be called a model citizen.
Being a graduate of the University of Xinjiang, he used to work as an IT specialist. He is a father of two, and considered to be a caring husband. In addition to taking care of his own family, he was also responsible for the well-being of his elderly parents since his siblings were abroad. A model citizen—but not for the Chinese government.
Mirehmet and his loved ones, as is the case for most in the Uyghur diaspora, have been deprived of their most basic human rights. There is nothing unusual about the fact that sometimes we might get separated from our relatives, and we are longing for our families to reunite. But what about not being able to make a single phone call to hear our parents’ voice, in what we call the information era? Being unable to find out whether our siblings are alive or not? Receiving news confirming our parent’s death several months, or even years (as it has recently happened to some) after the fact? This is not a draft for a dystopian novel. This is our reality, this is happening right now as you read this article. It is time for us to choose: will we allow all this to go on, or will we raise our voices in protest?