Professor Rahile Dawut, a world-renowned scholar of Uyghur studies, reportedly disappeared in China in December 2017. Rahile Dawut is a professor at Xinjiang University in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and is internationally recognized as an expert in Uyghur folklore and traditions. She has received awards and grants from China’s Ministry of Culture, and is the founder of a folklore institute. Over three years after her imprisonment, it was revealed that she had been sentenced and imprisoned. Read more.
In December 2017, Professor Dawut reportedly told a relative of her plans to travel from Urumqi to Beijing. Since that time, however, her family and friends have lost contact with her. Professor Dawut’s family and friends announced her disappearance in August 2018.
State authorities have not publicly disclosed Professor Dawut’s whereabouts or details of her well-being, access to legal counsel, or any charges against her. Professor Dawut’s family, along with human rights groups, suspects that she is among a growing number of Uyghurs who are being held at so-called “re-education camps,” in prisons, or at other detention facilities.
On June 30, 2021, authorities from Xinjiang University revealed to Radio Free Asia that Professor Dawut had been sentenced and imprisoned by the Chinese government. Xinjiang University officials did not provide any more information on Professor Dawut’s whereabouts or well-being.