(CNN) Uyghur poet Aziz Isa Elkun fled China’s far western Xinjiang region more than 20 years ago.He’s not welcome in the country.
He can’t even phone his mother. She said it was better if he didn’t, because every time he did, police would show up at her door.So, when Elkun’s father died in 2017, there was no way he could go back to China for the burial. To be closer to his family, he would view his father’s grave on Google Earth.”I know exactly where his tomb is,”
Elkun told CNN in his north London home.
“When I was a kid we would go there, pray at the mosque, visit our relatives. The entire community was connected to that graveyard.
“He “visited” his father like this for nearly two years. But in June, something changed. The satellite photo on Google had been updated and the graveyard that used to be there was now nothing more than a flattened, empty field.”I had no idea what happened,” said Elkun.
“I was completely in shock.”