Mamutjan said his family, who are ethnically Uyghur, are unable to leave China, while he would be at risk of being detained or imprisoned if he returned. He is now living in Adelaide, Australia.
This week, a CNN team tracked down Mamutjan's 10-year-old daughter Muhlise at her paternal grandparents' home in the city of Kashgar, in southern Xinjiang. When asked if she has a message for her father, whom she hasn't spoken to since 2017, Muhlise began to cry. "I miss him," she said.