The Persecution of Uyghurs: How it’s affecting the diaspora community

Caption:Baby Nuria holding a photograph of her great-grandfather and Uyghur freedom fighter, Ahmetjan Kasimi

Annie-Mei Forster
June 10, 2019

Nuria Khasim smiles fondly when she remembers what Xinjiang used to be like. The beautiful nature, the smells from the marketplace and more importantly, her Uyghur family.

Uyghurs are an ethnic Muslim minority group living in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in the north western part of China. The Chinese government has placed more than two million Uyghurs in “re-education camps”, which they claim is to counter religious extremism and terrorism.

The Uyghur diaspora is scattered across the globe with many residing in Australia.

University of Melbourne student, Nuria Khasim is a young Uyghur woman. There is a sense of helplessness as she speaks about Uyghurs being persecuted in China.

“Most of the world is oblivious to what’s happening in Xinjiang. It blows my mind that most people don’t care or don’t know,” Ms Khasim said.

“In the last few years it’s been very dangerous to go home and I feel very displaced culturally. We used to have a lot of gatherings with family members and fellow Uyghurs but those have decreased in recent times because we feel there’s not much to celebrate.”