By Pedro Sacadura
Rushan Abbas, 51, of Herndon, Va., holds a photo of her sister, Gulshan Abbas. - CopyrightJacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press
An Uyghur activist exiled in the US has showcased a film in Brussels that highlights her sister's disappearance from China's Xinjiang province.
The documentary called In Search of my Sister follows Rushan Abbas and her campaign to free her sibling Gulshan, a retired doctor, from a Chinese jail after she went missing from her home in 2018.
Abbas alleges her sister has been detained on trumped-up "terrorism" charges after Abbas herself spoke out against the Chinese Communist Party regime.
"Her crime is: number one, being an Uyghur; and, number two, being related to me, being my sister because she was taken only six days after I spoke on the panel at one of the think tanks in Washington DC condemning China's genocidal policies and describing the conditions of those concentration camps," the activist told Euronews.
Since then, Abbas' hunt for her sister has taken her all over the world — a stage she is using to raise awareness about China's Uyghur ethnic minority crackdown.
She has now brought her international calls for action to Brussels ahead of Beijing's Winter Olympics.
"I sure hope at least the European countries will do a diplomatic boycott," Abbas said. "They should not be sending their leaders to legitimise the genocide and legitimise Xi Jinping's prestige and power."
"The Chinese government is targeting Uyghurs because of our religion, our culture, and because we are the homeowners of that piece of land in East Turkestan."The documentary's producer and director, Jawad Mir, described the film as multifaceted.
"The film is not a one-dimensional story of 'this is what's happening and this is the way it is,'" Mir said. "We present a lot of different points of view, and by the end of the film, the audience can make up their own mind of what is occurring.
"And that was something that we sort of set out to do from the very beginning. And I just hope that whatever people walk out with at the end of the film, they're able to make their own judgement and then they're able to sort of press on the powers that be if they feel that's necessary."
China is accused of human rights abuses against Uyghur minorities but denies any wrongdoing.
Beijing claims the camps are for "re-education" to combat separatism and militancy in Xinjiang.