A Stone Is Most Precious Where it Belongs
A Memoir of Uyghur Exile, Hope, and Survival
This extraordinary memoir shares an insight into the lives of the Uyghurs, a people and culture being systematically destroyed by China—and a woman who gave up everything to help her people.In February 2018, twenty-four members of Gulchehra Hoja's family disappeared overnight. Her crime – and thus that of her family – was her award-winning investigations on the plight of her people, the Uyghurs, whose existence and culture is being systematically destroyed by the Chinese government.
A Stone is Most Precious Where it Belongs is Gulchehra’s stunning memoir, taking us into the everyday world of life under Chinese rule in East Turkestan (more formally as the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China), from her idyllic childhood to its modern nightmare. The grandchild of a renowned musician and the daughter of an esteemed archaeologist, Gulchehra grew up with her people’s culture and history running through her veins. She showed her gifts early on as a dancer, actress, and storyteller, putting her on a path to success as a major television star. Slowly though, she began to understand what China was doing to her people, as well as her own complicity as a journalist. As her rising fame and growing political awakening coincided, she made it her mission to expose the crimes Beijing is committing in the far reaches of its nation, no matter the cost.
Reveling in the beauty of East Turkestan and its people – its music, its culture, its heritage, and above all its emphasis on community and family – this groundbreaking memoir gives us a glimpse beyond what the Chinese state wants us to see, showcasing a woman who was willing to risk not just her own life, but also that of everyone she loves, to expose her people’s story to the world.
Hoja’s memoir is not a memoir of the camps, but of her extraordinary life, which takes in the past 50 years of Xinjiang’s history. A Stone Is Most Precious Where It Belongs makes this fascinating history, once the reserve of experts and specialists, more accessible than ever before. ... One admires, albeit from a distance, a woman who takes on those odds again and again."—The Times UK
"Hoja’s entire story is worth reading on a number of levels. ... As the Uyghur holocaust continues, A Stone is Most Precious Where it Belongs should be required reading not only for any U.S. diplomat or official working on China but, indeed, for every U.S. diplomat, congressional aide, and flag officer, not only for what it teaches about the Uyghurs but, as importantly, for how it demonstrates the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of America’s most powerful competitor today."—Michael Rubin, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute