Dr. Rahile Dawut, a prominent Uyghur scholar and anthropologist has been missing since December 2017. She is a professor at Xinjiang University. It has been alleged that she has been detained – whereabouts unknown. No one seems to be aware of anything that she may have done that would lead to incarceration or a criminal charge. CCS has written the President of China requesting an explanation of Dr. Dawut’s whereabouts.
His Excellency Xi Jinping
The State Council General Office
Xichengqu, Beijingshi 100017
People’s Republic of China
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our grave concerns for Rahile Dawut, a prominent Uyghur scholar and anthropologist who has been missing since December 2017. She is a professor at Xinjiang University and is considered an expert on Uyghur culture.
It is unknown where she is being detained. We are aware that thousands of Uyghurs have been sent to facilities that are unknown to the public, and we are deeply concerned that Professor Dawut may have been sent to such a place. We write to seek clarification as to her whereabouts. We are unaware of anything that she has done to cause her to be detained and if she has not committed a criminal offense she must be released immediately and unconditionally. The right to peaceful expression is a fundamental human right, as is the “right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community” – a right recognized in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We are profoundly concerned for the well-being of Rahile Dawut. The use of incommunicado detention is contrary to any laws and practices of due process and fair trials. As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, your government has committed to refrain from detentions of those who choose to exercise their right to free expression.
As scholars and scientists, it is clear to us that there must be respect for the rule of law, human rights, and treaty obligations. As her colleagues and fellow scholars, we urge you to seek and provide to us information on the whereabouts and legal status of Rahile Dawut. Unless she is charged with a legitimate criminal offense, we request you to see that she is released and allowed to resume her teaching and scholarly work without interference.
We thank you for your attention to this most serious matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
US Ambassador to China
US Embassy in Beijing
No. 55 An Jia Lou Lu 100600
Tel: +86-10 8531-3000
Minister of Public Security
Zhao Kezhi Buzhang
Dongchengqu, Beijingshi 100741
People’s Republic of China
Tel: +86 10 66262114