After advocating for his release, Uighur woman hears from father via Chinese media

Exiled Uighur Samira Imin holds a picture of her father, Iminjan Seydin, who went missing in China’s Xinjiang province in 2017. (Photo curtesy of Samira Imin).

May 6, 2020
Aysha Khan

BOSTON (RNS) — Samira Imin had been waiting three years to see her father’s face again.

She had been praying to hear his voice telling her that he missed her, that he was safe and healthy — that her public campaign urging China to release Iminjan Seydin, a prominent Uighur publisher and historian, had worked and her father was now free.

But when it finally happened, it was via a two-minute video posted on Twitter by Chinese state media on Monday (May 4) morning, in which her father states that Imin had been “deceived” by “overseas anti-China forces” into believing he had been detained.

“It was unbelievable to see him,” said Imin, a 27-year-old research assistant at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “I watched the video again and again, just seeing him sitting there alive. It was a relief, even though he seems like he has weakened a lot physically.”

“It looks like, obviously, he was forced to say that to me under threat,” Imin said. “We all know that. ... They tried to silence me by having my dad say that to me, and they tried to discredit my words. If I didn’t speak up, I don’t think they would have released him and made this video.”

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