Xinjiang authorities are strictly controlling Chinese citizens who travel abroad; even their passports are confiscated and revoked.
Gülxan, a 65-year-old Uyghur woman, has a residence permit to live Kazakhstan where she used to reside with her three children. In May 2017, Gülxan’s former unit leader called her urging to come back to Xinjiang; otherwise, she would not receive her retirement pay. When she returned, her passport and resident’s permit was seized.
Gülxan asked her daughter to send an invitation for her to return to Kazakhstan, but the local government prohibited her from leaving Xinjiang, so Gülxan rented a place there where she lives alone. She has a heart condition and needs to undergo cardiac bypass surgery, which she cannot do because no one can take care of her after the procedure.
In April this year, Ma Ming, his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and one-year-old grandson were returning to the Tacheng prefecture after traveling overseas. As soon as they got off the plane, the police arrested Ma Ming, his wife, and their son. The police told the son’s wife that she would be sent to a “transformation through education camp” to “study” after she finishes breastfeeding the baby.
In March 2017, a woman was preparing to go to Turkey for work. While she was waiting in Urumqi Airport lounge, officers suddenly put a black hood over her head and took her away. She was later taken to a camp and released only five months later. The authorities have not explained the reasons for her arrest. In February this year, the police arrested Kemer again and are detaining her at a camp.
Ma Chunmei, a Hui woman from Xinjiang’s Tacheng prefecture, applied for a passport in August 2017. Just one month after receiving it, she received a WeChat message from authorities that everyone who holds a passport must submit it to the county government for safekeeping. After Ms. Ma handed over her passport, she received another message that it would be revoked.
Amina is an Uyghur woman in her seventies who was interrogated several times because she went to visit her son and grandchildren in the United States. The authorities have confiscated her passport later as well.
(All names in this article are pseudonyms.)
Reported by Li Zaili