Nurmuhemmet Yasin, Grant Awarded 2009
When this magazine went to press, it was impossible to ascertain the fate of Nurmuhemmet Yasin. He is a Uighur, the Turkic-speaking, Muslim population in the Gobi Desert region of northwestern China. Yasin’s 2004 allegorical story, Wild Pigeon, about the son of a pigeon king who is trapped and caged by humans, was denounced as a separatist tract. In February 2005, he was sentenced to ten years in prison. No one has seen him since his arrest, and rumors of his ill health and even death have circulated for years. The Chinese Justice Ministry has not answered Amnesty International’s letter earlier this year, asking if Yasin had been released from prison. Since 2009, several hundred people have died in Xinjiang in attacks on police stations, train stations, and public markets, or been killed by law enforcement in what authorities claimed were counterterrorism operations.
Carolyn Drake is a photographer living in Athens, Georgia.