China’s ‘missing’ photographer Lu Guang arrested in troubled Xinjiang region, his wife confirms
- Charges currently unknown, lawyer’s request for meeting denied
- Award-winning documentary photojournalist was last heard from in early November
Internationally acclaimed photojournalist Lu Guang – who disappeared without trace in early November – is under arrest in China, it was confirmed on Thursday.
Lu’s wife Xu Xiaoli, who lives in the United States, told the South China Morning Post that other family members in China were verbally notified of her husband’s arrest by police in the troubled Xinjiang region.
Xinjiang has been under a sweeping security clampdown in recent years, with up to 1 million Uygurs and other Muslim minorities detained in its extrajudicial internment camps, according to a United Nations panel estimate in August.
Xu said Kashgar city police notified the relatives on December 6 that Lu had been formally arrested the day before.
“We can’t tell the specific charge,” Xu said.
“We just hired a lawyer for him in Beijing because it’s convenient to go to Xinjiang from Beijing. The lawyer filed an application to the authorities asking for a meeting with Lu Guang, which was not granted,” she said.
Lu, who is also a US green card holder, lives in eastern China, while his wife and children live in New York.
He travelled to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, on October 23 at the invitation of a friend, to attend a number of photography events.
He then travelled to Kashgar, an ancient Silk Road town dominated by the most Muslim Uygur ethnic minority group, before returning to Urumqi on November 3.
Lu has not been in contact with his family since.
“The friend who invited Lu to Xinjiang was also taken away by the police, I have no further information about him.” Xu wrote on her Twitter account.
Lu has won international awards for his work documenting the environmental toll of China’s recent decades of breakneck economic growth.
A three-times World Press Photo award winner, the 57-year-old is a familiar name in domestic and foreign media alike. His work reflects his strong views about industrialisation and the damage done to the environment.
Last month Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club called on Chinese authorities to confirm Lu’s whereabouts, saying it was “deeply concerned” over his disappearance from Xinjiang.
ThePost is continuing to seek comment from Xinjiang regional police and Kashgar police.