Free Rahile Dawut
Free Rahile Dawut
Rahile Dawut, an internationally renowned scholar of Uyghur culture, has disappeared in China. So have an untold number of other Uyghur professors, intellectuals, students, artists, farmers, and members of ethnic minority groups from all walks of life. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs and others have been interned in extra-legal re-education camps across the Xinjiang region of China’s northwest.
We the undersigned call upon President Xi Jinping and Xinjiang Party Secretary Chen Quanguo to immediately release Professor Rahile Dawut and other Uyghur intellectuals from internment in prison, “educational transformation centers,” “vocational training” or other confinement under any name.
In December 2017, Prof. Dawut was to travel from Urumqi to Beijing, but she never arrived at her destination. She has been either imprisoned or sent to re-education camp.
Prof. Dawut is one of the foremost Uyghur scholars of her generation. A folklorist, anthropologist of religion, curator, and videographer, Dawut served as founder and Director of the Centre for Anthropology and Folklore at Xinjiang University. She has conducted pioneering fieldwork on the oral and visual culture of Uyghurs, including Sufi practices. Her research on Uyghur shrines (mazars) is pathbreaking. As a leader in applied anthropology, Prof. Dawut has made key contributions in cultural heritage protection, both material and immaterial, advocating for the preservation of Uyghur architectural and folk literary heritage. On June 30, 2021, authorities from Xinjiang University revealed to Radio Free Asia that Professor Dawut had been sentenced and imprisoned by the Chinese government. Xinjiang University officials did not provide any more information on Professor Dawut’s whereabouts or well-being. Please release Prof. Dawut and allow her to either a) continue her position at Xinjiang University or b) assume a post outside of China. Please also release all other extra-judicially interned Uyghurs, including professors, intellectuals, teachers, and students.