When she received news last November that her mother has been sent to a detention camp, Uyghur refugee Zulhumar Isaac was at a loss for words. Shortly after, her father disappeared too. First came disbelief, then anger – that even a family like hers, which had taken pains to assimilate into the Han Chinese culture, was not spared by the authorities’ Xinjiang campaign.
“All our lives we have lived as ‘model Chinese citizens.’ We studied Mandarin, my mother was a civil servant for decades, and I’d fallen in love with and got married to a Han Chinese man,” lamented Isaac, who is now living in exile in Sweden. “And yet it has happened to us. Why?”