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Uyghur scholar allowed 40-second audio calls with elderly parents back home

By UyghurTimes

Apr 16, 2022

Photo: Tahir Mutällip Qahiri

By Anne Kader

'Today, on April 15, 2022, I called my parents at 10:10 am, Kashgar time. We talked for 42 seconds. The call was abruptly cut off before my mother had the chance to speak. I had been worried about her health,' Tahir Mutällip Qahiri tweets.

For the last few years, this has been a routine experience for Mr Mutällip Qahiri, an Uyghur living in Germany. He is the son of a renowned Uyghur scholar, Mutellip Sidiq Qahiri, who worked at Kashgar University till his retirement in 2010.

In March 2020, Mr Mutällip Qahiri learned that the 'Kashgar Intermediate People's Court' had sentenced his father to 30 months in prison for researching the Uyghur culture. The judgment would not be carried out for another four years, during which time Mutellip Sidiq Qahiri is to remain under house arrest, the U.S Commission on International Freedom reports on their website.

Photo: Tahir Mutällip Qahiri

"My family lives in Kashgar in the Uyghurs' homeland. I last visited there in October 2017. Since 2019 I have had limited and sporadic contact with my family: Short call times, no video calls, and strong censorship", Mutällip Qahiri explains. Neither am I allowed to contact my siblings and other relatives.'

On Sunday, April 3, 2022

'I called my parents today at 20:25 Kashgar time. The audio call lasted about 1.39 minutes, but my parents could not hear me. I could hear their voices. My voice was deliberately muted by the Chinese agents. This is another form of oppression.'

The Chinese government wants us to think that it is omnipresent and thus intimidate and scare us.

Mutällip Qahiri has actively been tagging Michelle Bachelet, the UN Human Rights Chief, in his tweets, before her planned visit to the Chinese-occupied homeland of the Uyghurs. He has even prompted her to visit his parents. He has written Bachelet an open letter, but complains, that he has not received a reply.

'Today, on 20. March 2022, I called my parents at 21:20 Kashgar time. The call was cut off after 40 seconds, as usual. My mother appears to be seriously ill.'

'I am tormented by the question day and night: When can I finally return to the village where I was born and eventually be buried there? How many years have to pass in search of the lost homeland?'

"Today is Sunday. I called my parents at 8:25 pm Kashgar time. As soon as my dad picked up the phone, he said: 'We're fine, we're fine! Here's your mom.!' The conversation only lasted for a few seconds."

'Today marks the 3rd anniversary of my video meeting with my mom, dad, and one of my pregnant siblings. I have no idea of the whereabouts of my siblings now. I haven’t had a video chat with my mom and dad since then. Our voice calls remain far too short.

I have not seen my parents for 1095 days. Under what kind of a government do my parents live? China is always boasting of its 5,000-year history, while it is genociding Uyghurs, and the world stays silent.


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