“Like we were enemies in a war”

China’s Mass Internment, Torture and Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang

“Like we were enemies in a war” China’s Mass Internment, Torture and Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang

Illustrations by Molly Crabapple

Sadir Ali

沙迪克 · 艾力

Assumed Location

Prison, Tumxuk

Suspected Reasons for Arrest or Detention

Ethnicity, religious practices

Official Reason for Arrest or Detention


Last Contact

June-July 2018

“If you want your father to be safe, you should cooperate with us and answer all our questions.” This is what the police told Sadir’s daughter in September 2018 after he was detained in June 2018. For months, a police officer called Sadir’s daughter to try to gather information about her and the rest of her family living in the USA. The calls stopped when she found out from family members in China that her father had been sent to prison, probably in May 2019 with a 20-years sentence. It is unclear whether Sadir received a fair trial or had access to a lawyer of his choice. Prior to being in prison, Sadir had been detained in a camp from June-July 2018 to May 2019. Sadir’s daughter has now lost connection with relatives still living in China and is unable to gather further information about her father. The official reasons for the arrest are unknown and his daughter told Amnesty International: “I couldn’t think of any reasons. Maybe just because he is Uyghur and Muslim.”

Personal Details

Sadir has been the owner of a real estate company since 2015 and is described by his daughter as very religious, quiet, hard-working and attached to his family. She added: “He spent all his time with family. He paid for my studies, my living, [my and my sister’s] school. He has been working all the time.”
Other family members have unfortunately also been detained. The uncle of Sadir’s wife, Abiden Eyyubhaji, a 91-year-old religious scholar, was reportedly sent to an internment camp in 2016, and one of his wife’s cousins, Yusupjan Abiden, a 55-year-old former religious teacher at the Islamic Scripture College of Xinjiang in Urumqi, is in prison since 2017.

Date of Birth

1 September 1971






Real estate company owner

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