US-based Uighur journalist says China detained 20 relatives

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A U.S.-based Uighur journalist is accusing the Chinese authorities of seizing about 20 of her relatives in Xinjiang, apparently to pressure her to cease her critical reporting on the turbulent northwestern region.

The report comes amid rising concerns over the Chinese government’s campaign to send thousands of Uighurs to detention camps in the name of national security.

China suspects radicals among the Turkic Muslim ethnic group of plotting a violent campaign for independence from Beijing.

Gulchehra Hoja, a 17-year employee of Radio Free Asia in Washington, said on Facebook that her mother, father, brother and other relatives were imprisoned because of her work as a reporter. Amnesty International said Thursday at least eight of Hoja’s cousins are being held due to their relation to the journalist.

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