A Uyghur student has been missing for over a fortnight after text messaging a friend to say he was being interrogated by Hong Kong police, according to Amnesty International. On Friday, the rights NGO urged the local authorities to explain the disappearance.

Update: Hong Kong blasts Amnesty over missing Uyghur man allegation

Xinjiang-born Abuduwaili Abudureheman arrived in Hong Kong on May 10 after visiting a friend in South Korea, Amnesty said.

Update: Amnesty confirms Uyghur student ‘did not travel to Hong Kong’ after Korean professor refutes group’s statement

Abuduwaili Abudureheman
Abuduwaili Abudureheman. Photo: Instagram, via Amnesty.

“The unknown fate of Abuduwaili Abudureheman is deeply worrying, given the background of crimes against humanity committed against Uyghurs by the Chinese government in Xinjiang, and its ongoing pursuit of Uyghurs who have travelled overseas,” said Amnesty International’s China researcher Alkan Akad in a press release. “That Abuduwaili appears to have been detained on arrival and interrogated raises questions about the potential complicity of the Hong Kong government in human rights violations being committed against Uyghurs by the Chinese government.”

Amnesty said they understood Abudureheman was on a Chinese government “watch list,” based on the fact he travelled overseas. “Unless there is sufficient and concrete evidence pointing to an internationally recognisable crime, Abuduwaili Abudureheman must be immediately released,” Akad added.

Hong Kong Police
Hong Kong police emblem. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The predominantly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group are among the minorities targeted in what Beijing claims is a campaign to tackle unrest and separatism. The UN says a million Uyghurs were arbitrarily detained in “political re-education camps,” whilst Human Rights Watch reports that surveillance and repression in Xinjiang has increased dramatically since 2016. Several western countries have imposed sanctions over Beijing’s actions.

HKFP has reached out to the police for comment.

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Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.