Wear your Mask Under your Hood: An Eyewitness Account of Arbitrary Detention in Xinjiang during the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic.

Merdan in a quarantine room in Kucha, February 2020

Merdan’s account:

The people here really have some problem in their head. When I was taken away, I was wearing a Uniqlo down jacket, really good quality, very warm. When I got to this police station, I saw 50–60 people were locked in a small room not 50 meters square in area — I was shocked. A third of the room was taken up by chairs for the duty cops. The rest was men on the right, women on the left, divided up and locked in cages. And from head to toe, they were all wearing four-piece suits. This so-called four-piece suit was a black cloth bag over the head; handcuffs; shackles; and a steel chain between the handcuffs and the shackles. No one was allowed to open the hood to look at each other or at the police. Otherwise they’d get shouted at really viciously.

Some of Merdan Ghappar’s modeling images. Uyghurs are popular as models in China, because they are thought to look partly “western.”



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James A. Millward

James A. Millward

James A. Millward 米華健 is professor of history at Georgetown University and mandolinist for By & By.