Xinjiang police arrested Uighur editor Memetjan Abliz Boriyar in October 2018, and authorities are holding him on allegations of approving the release of books that were later banned by Chinese authorities. CPJ has been unable to determine where he is being held or whether he has been formally charged.
Police arrested Boriyar in October 2018 in Kashgar, according to a report by U.S.-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia. As manager and editor-in-chief of the state-owned Kashgar Publishing House, authorities allege that Boriyar approved the publication of more than 100 books that authorities allowed at the time, but which were later banned, according to that report.
Boriyar was arrested amid a crackdown on the publishing company, in which several other former and current staffers were also detained.
A 2019 report by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, a U.S. congressional advisory panel, found that China had arbitrarily detained at least one million Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Hui ethnic minorities, and others, in a “system of extrajudicial mass internment camps.” The commission’s 2022 report noted that China has continued to expand Xinjiang’s detention facilities, including mass internment camps, and maintained a system of forced labor involving camp detainees
The majority population of ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang are subject to cultural and religious repression, surveillance, arrest without charge, and internment. For fear of government retaliation and further abuses, people inside the region are often reluctant to provide information about those who disappear into state custody. According to an annual survey conducted by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China in 2022, a vast majority of surveyed journalists who traveled to Xinjiang said they experienced government interference in their reporting.
The Kashgar Publishing House published books on literature, history, politics, and other topics, and also issued annual reports on local counties and cities, including Kashgar Yearbook, a publication documenting legal, political, demographic, and military developments in the city, according to the China Academic Journals Electronic Publishing House’s database. The publishing house did not respond to CPJ’s message requesting comment in late 2022.
According to Radio Free Asia, a Xinjiang official said that Boriyar is not being held at a re-education camp.
CPJ sent messages to the Xinjiang governmental service and the Xinjiang region prison administration in September 2022 requesting information about Boriyar’s whereabouts but did not receive a response.