Chinese photographer Lu Guang officially arrested

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The Chinese police have confirmed that they have arrested photographer Lu Guang, according to reports in The New York Times and elsewhere. He has been missing since early November but, his wife Xu Xiaoli has apparently confirmed, the police called his family this week to confirm he was arrested in Kashgar – an ancient city in southern Xinjiang that has seen a government crackdown on Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.

Xu says she still doesn’t know why Lu has been arrested though, and says that the police haven’t provided a written notice confirming the detention. A friend of Lu’s who disappeared at the same time is also still missing, though Xu had no more information about his fate.

Lu, who is 57, is well-known for his work, which focuses on social issues such as pollution and the environment. However his wife said that he hadn’t been planning to photograph the Uighurs, who – along with Kazakhs and members of other Muslim minorities in China – have been detained in camps for indoctrination programmes aimed at severing their commitment to Islam and nurturing their commitment to the Communist Party.

“I don’t think he ever mentioned that,” Xu reportedly said. “He was always working on the environment and pollution.”

Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy