Chinese photographer Lu Guang officially arrested

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 the editor of BJP, returning for a second stint on staff in 2023 - after 15 years on the team until 2019. As a freelancer, she has written for The Guardian, FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, Aperture, FOAM, Aesthetica and Apollo. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy