Opinions
China is harassing journalists reporting on Uighurs. They cannot be stifled.
By Fred Hiatt
Editorial page editor
Dec. 1, 2019 at 6:28 p.m. EST

To punish Gulchehra Hoja, a Washington-based journalist for Radio Free Asia, and to stifle her reporting, China’s rulers have imprisoned her brother, harassed her parents and threatened many other relatives back home in Xinjiang, China.

The punishment is keen. But no stifling has taken place.

“Every time they threaten us, we are more proud of you,” Hoja’s mother, who is 72, told her daughter during one of their infrequent phone calls. “Keep doing your work.”

And so she has.

RFA's dozen reporters are the principal sources for all news out of Xinjiang.

So the RFA reporters continue their reporting, one one-minute call at a time, one call after another, day after painful day. Sadly, having dozens of relatives locked away no longer makes them all that unusual among Uighurs, notes Rohit Mahajan, RFA’s vice president of communications.

But even if it did, said Mamatjan Juma, deputy director of the Uyghur Service, they would persist.

“It’s an existential choice for us,” he told me. “The Uighurs have no other voice.”