Runner-up: Observer/Anthony Burgess prize for arts journalism 2023 Luke Hallam on Perhat Tursun’s The Backstreets


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Luke Hallam is a writer and editor based in Cambridge. He is a senior editor at Persuasion, an online magazine of ideas and current affairs Perhat Tursun, a controversial and highly acclaimed Uyghur writer, vanished in 2018. He is reportedly enduring a 16-year sentence in a Chinese prison, just one of the many victims of the Communist party’s genocidal campaign against Uyghurs. We don’t know the crime he is accused of, nor the conditions in which he is being kept. Sadly, these circumstances are not unusual: an estimated 1 million Uyghurs in China’s north-west Xinjiang region have been “disappeared” in...