Gulchehra Hoja was a prominent figure in various Chinese media, including producing and hosting the first TV programme in Uyghur for children. With the Chinese crackdown on anything Uyghur, her image was banned on Chinese media and she was forced to flee the country. She has continued to speak out for the rights of the Uyghurs despite huge personal loss; 25 members of her family are currently held in ‘re-education’ camps which aim to remove all traces of Uyghur identity and replace it with the majority Han culture. This policy extends to those Uyghurs who are also not in camps by having Han Chinese officials forcibly live in Uyghur houses and report on ‘unChinese’ behaviour.
In 2020, Hoja received the Courage in Journalism Awards by the International Women’s Media Foundation.