Ben Mauk

Ben Mauk’s research on asylum issues is supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. He lives in Berlin.

Diary: Prisons in the Mountains

Ben Mauk, 26 September 2019

In​ August 2018 I was in Zharkent, a market town in Kazakhstan near the Chinese border, reporting on the extradition trial of an asylum seeker named Sayragul Sauytbay. She claimed she had been forced to teach Mandarin in a political re-education camp near her home town in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China’s largest and most ethnically diverse administrative territory. It was...

Aldekerk​ is a village near Germany’s post-industrial Ruhr Valley, but it’s all immaculate half-timbered houses and shivering lace curtains. I went there last May and when I arrived – it was a Saturday morning – there seemed not to be anyone outside. Somewhere the mayor’s son was getting married, and I’d been warned that no one would be available to talk...

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