China Cannot Silence MeDecember 21, 2021
Under Chinese government policy in Xinjiang, the children of Uyghurs and other Indigenous people who have been detained are normally sent to Han-run orphanages or residential schools. None of Mayila’s next of kin, including her ex-husband, dared to provoke the anger of government officials by trying to take custody of her children. But, when cadres came to take the kids away, their pleas prompted my parents to defy them. “They haven’t had a father since they were toddlers, and now their mother is gone,” my mother said. “Let them stay with us.”
My parents, after taking oaths of loyalty to the Chinese government, were given temporary custody. Since then, my parents’ hearts race whenever a cadre knocks on the door, or a government organization calls, or a policeman arrives unannounced. Any official, it seems, has the authority to take Uyghur children away from their relatives.