Uyghur kids recall physical and mental torment at Chinese boarding schools in XinjiangFebruary 03, 2022
But Aimati was growing increasingly fearful. She was soon required to attend a daily flag-raising ceremony to show allegiance to China’s ruling Communist Party. Local officials often dropped by her Urumqi apartment unannounced, part of a series of campaigns in which more than 1 million civilians and Communist Party officials were dispatched to live with and educate Uyghur families in their own homes.
“Three officials came by today. I did a lot of talking, and they took pictures of me raising the Chinese flag,” Aimati said in a voice message to Kuçar in 2017, which he played for NPR. “I am exhausted.”
One night, Kuçar was talking on the phone with Aimati when police started banging on her Urumqi apartment door. Terrified, she told him she was going to let them in, before hanging up on him.
Relatives in Urumqi came to check on Aimati the next morning. They found her apartment turned upside down and the two children in shock — and Aimati was gone.