Three-time World Press Photo winner Lu Guang has been detained by national security offices during a visit to Xinjiang, according to his wife Xu Xiaoli, who last heard from him on 03 November. Lu Guang is a US green card holder whose documentary projects often focus on social, environmental and economic issues in China.
According to reports, Lu flew to Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang region, on 23 October, where he had been invited by a friend to attend several photography events. He had planned to fly to Sichuan to meet another friend on 05 November, but on arrival, the friend was unable to find him. Lu’s friend contacted Lu’s wife, Xu, to find out his whereabouts, but she had not heard from him since 03 November. Xu then contacted the wife of Lu’s host in Xinjiang, and was told that both he and Lu had been taken away by national security.
Xinjiang is a region that has recently become notorious for tight security controls and heavy police presence, amid widely-criticised operations to tackle what these authorities say is a growing radicalism among the Muslim ethic Uighur community.
Xu told the BBC that she did not know whether her husband had done anything to provoke government anger. On 26 November she tweeted, “December 4th is our 20th wedding anniversary. He was meant to celebrate with us together”. “I am extremely anxious, I hope he will return home safely.”