Disappeared Uighurs

This Bystander recalls visiting the central bank in Buenos Aires a couple of years back and noticing a small plaque in the entrance in memory of  bank staff who had ‘disappeared’ during the years of the military dictatorship in Argentina. They were political dissidents, picked up by the authorities often in the dead of night, whose eventual and anonymous fate was to be dropped from an aircraft into the watery grave of the River Plate. Our memory of this was refreshed by a report on the BBC of some 40 Uighurs arrested after July’s riots in Urumqi of which nothing further has been heard. They have not been brought to summary trial. Nor have their families been notified of their fate. Human Rights Watch, which produced the number, says it is only the tip of the iceberg.

This is unusual. China usually follows its judicial procedures, arbitrary as they may seem to those parts of the outside world that do not see the judicial system as part of the administration of state power.

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