Posts in "Elkun on media"

China’s vanishing Uighur graveyards

Catherine Philp Saturday July 25 2020, 12.01am, The Times

A new cemetery built on the outskirts of Aksu, Xinjiang, where bodies from a destroyed Uighur graveyard were moved. HECTOR RETAMAL/GETTY IMAGES

As contact with his family in China dwindled and ethnic Uighurs fleeing Xinjiang brought disturbing stories, Aziz Isa Elkun, a poet, academic and activist who lives in London, began speaking out about their plight.

Using Google Earth, he tracked down the site where his father was buried in 2017; the cemetery had been demolished, seemingly part of a pattern of erasing Uighur culture. CNN ran a story about the apparent destruction of more than 100 Uighur graveyards, featuring Mr Elkun and his story.

Days later CGTN, the international arm of the Chinese state broadcaster, interviewed Mr Elkun’s frail mother. She led a crew through a new “eco-friendly” cemetery. “We voluntarily applied to move the old grave here,” she said.

Continue reading: The Times

Uighurs in China: ‘I didn’t even know if my mum was alive’

BBC London 18 Feb 2020

Aziz Isa Elkun is one of many Uighur Muslims living in London who have been cut off from contacting their families based in Xinjiang. 

Since 2016, China has detained more than one million Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang in what they call “educational centres”.

However, documents seen by the BBC show that these camps use violence and torture to drive Uighurs away from their Islamic beliefs. 

Aziz has several family members in the camps. He wants to be a voice for the Uighur community in the UK and is now calling on the UK Foreign Office to help them find out if their families are alive.

Reporter and producer: Gem O’Reilly; Filmed and edited by Cristian Mantio

Source: BBC London
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-london-51532812/uighurs-in-china-i-didn-t-even-know-if-my-mum-was-alive

‘Pure evil’: Satellites show destroyed Uyghur graves in China

By Matt Rivers, CNN January 3, 2020

Beijing (CNN) – Uyghur poet Aziz Isa Elkun fled China’s far western Xinjiang region more than 20 years ago.He’s not welcome in the country. He can’t even phone his mother. She said it was better if he didn’t, because every time he did, police would show up at her door. So, when Elkun’s father died in 2017, there was no way he could go back to China for the burial. To be closer to his family, he would view his father’s grave on Google Earth.”I know exactly where his tomb is,” Elkun told CNN in his north London home. “When I was a kid we would go there, pray at the mosque, visit our relatives. The entire community was connected to that graveyard.”He “visited” his father like this for nearly two years. But in June, something changed. The satellite photo on Google had been updated and the graveyard that used to be there was now nothing more than a flattened, empty field.”I had no idea what happened,” said Elkun. “I was completely in shock.”

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