When Zulhumar Isaac’s parents disappeared amid a wave of detentions of ethnic minorities, she had to play a perilous game with the state to get them back, Sarah A. Topol writes for The New York Times magazine.
The Communist Party had been preparing for children like Humar, young Uighurs who had studied outside Xinjiang and had social networks in the rest of China, she notes in a must-read article:
Officials in Turpan, a city in eastern Xinjiang, had even fashioned a script for “answering questions asked by the children of concentrated education-and-training-school students,” when they returned home for summer vacation and found their parents missing. “The moment they issue incorrect opinions on WeChat, Weibo and other social media platforms, the impact is widespread and difficult to eradicate,” a directive that was leaked to The Times explained. “Students must undergo ideological re-education so that soon after they return, they understand the true significance of why their family members are undergoing concentrated education.” It included a script anticipating questions like: “Where are my family members?” “Why do my family members have to take part in studying?” “Since it’s just training, why can’t they come home?” “Did they commit a crime?”