Prisoners & Victims

Uyghurs in Japan speak out for missing relatives

Image: Screen capture from Japanese Abema TV



By Anne Kader



Reyhan Ablet is a young Uyghur woman living in Japan. She advocates for her elder brother, Eysajan Ablet, 46, whom the Chinese authorities detained arbitrarily in 2017. 



  • "My name is Reyhan Ablet. I'm an Uyghur living in Tokyo. My brother Eysajan Ablet, a teacher in Kashgar, disappeared from his workplace on June 9, 2017. My family searched in all the Police stations and government offices but could not find him anywhere. In June 2018, they finally found out that he was in a concentration camp in Kashgar. My innocent brother is still suffering there, and the fourth year has started without any explanation from the Chinese government. I demand that my elder brother, who has not committed any crime, be released as soon as possible." Reyhan Ablet says in a video she published on Twitter about her brother's disappearance.


Reyhan's brother went missing five years ago. The Chinese government claims to have closed the camp where he was in late 2019, but the brother's whereabouts are still unknown. 



Image: Reyhan Ablet Twitter



Eysajan had thought about working in Japan. He had learned Japanese and worked as a tourist guide for Japanese people in the Uyghurs' homeland, the Sankei News writes.


Reyhan has recently appeared in Japanese media to highlight her brother's disappearance.


Eysajan was not the only sibling China targeted: Reyhan's sister also went missing for two years. After her release, she appeared very thin, and she had stopped wearing her favorite Uyghur traditional scarf, Reyhan told the Sankei News. 


Reyhan cannot talk to Eysajan or her family back home on the phone or "WeChat". Uyghurs in their homeland are cautious of eavesdropping by Chinese authorities and cannot touch on sensitive topics in their limited conversations with family members in exile.


Ms. Ablet has repeatedly inquired about her brother's whereabouts from the Chinese embassy in Japan. She has not received an adequate reply due to being a naturalized citizen in Japan. She also consulted with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but there has been no progress.


Eysajan is not the type to cause trouble and was a liked character where he worked. The presumed reason for his long-term detention is that he served as a guide for Japanese tourists.


The Chinese authorities had given the impression that they would release Eysajan at the beginning of the year, either over Chinese New Year or the National Day. That never happened.


Reyhan has recently appeared in Japanese media with her name and face to highlight her brother's disappearance and began to respond to interviews. She is appealing to the Japanese public: The rescue of her brother and other Uyghurs is possible except for the Japanese government putting pressure on Chinese authorities.