China’s Uighur Muslims ‘are being thrown into detention camps for having beards, wearing veils and using the internet’ – The Sun
17th February 2020
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CHINA'S Uighur Muslims are reportedly being thrown into detention camps for having beards, wearing veils and using the internet.

A leaked document detailing the lives of hundreds of Muslims currrently detained in internment camps across China could be the "strongest evidence" of Beijing persecuting and punishing religious beliefs, an expert says.


The personal details of detained Uyghur citizens from southwestern Xinjiang was leaked to CNN and seen by the BBC in 137 pages of detailed records.

The records – allegedly leaked by a source inside Xinjiang – include how often people pray, how they dress, whom they contact and how their family members behave.

It also contains details of investigations into 311 individuals, listing their backgrounds, religious habits, and relationships with relatives, neighbours and friends.

Chinese authorities say the records are being used to justify the indefinite detention of hundreds of Uighur citizens in heavily fortified internment centers across Xinjiang.

DETAILED RECORDS

Some examples of detained individuals include the case of a 38-year-old woman with the first name Helchem, sent to a camp for being known in the past to have worn a veil.

A 34-year-old man with the first name Memettohti was interned for applying for a passport.

Another man, 28-year-old man Nurmemet, was put into a camp for "clicking on a web-link and unintentionally landing on a foreign website".

Other examples include that of 34-year-old Patem who was detained for “violation of family planning policy" for having four, instead of three, children.

This document presents the strongest evidence I've seen to date that Beijing is actively persecuting and punishing normal practices of traditional religious beliefs.

The records of a 65-year-old man held in "continued training", Yusup, shows two daughters who "wore veils and burkas in 2014 and 2015", a son with Islamic political leanings and a family that displays "obvious anti-Han sentiment".

Most individuals listed have relatives currently living overseas – a category seen as disloyal.

Leading world expert on China's policies in Xinjiang, Dr Adrian Zenz, said: "This remarkable document presents the strongest evidence I've seen to date that Beijing is actively persecuting and punishing normal practices of traditional religious beliefs."

He believes the document exposes the "ideological and administrative micromechanics" of the camps.

Speaking to CNN he said: “The contents of this document are really significant to all of us because it shows us the paranoid mindset of a regime that’s controlling the up-and-coming super power of this globe".

CHINA'S DENIAL

China denies any wrongdoing, saying it is combating terrorism and religious extremism and that the camps are merely re-education schools.

The government has claimed it is running a mass deradicalization program targeting potential extremists.

From 2017, groups of Communist Party workers have examined Uighur households, taking detailed notes about the "religious atmosphere" in the homes, how many Korans they had or whether religious rites were observed.

And since 2016, the Chinese government has been thought to have been operating fortified camps to detain its Uyghur citizens.

However, on Thursday Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: “(Those who have come) have not seen any concentration camps or persecution in Xinjiang.

"However, what they have seen is that all ethnic groups are able to live peacefully and harmoniously … Their religious freedom is totally protected and they can practice their religion without any restrictions.

“The so-called concentration camps with so-called 1 million people are 100 per cent rumors. It is completely fake news.

"I do not understand why these people are still lying while having the facts. I can only say that these people are deeply prejudiced against China.”

STATE SURVEILLANCE

The leaked document exposes what seems to be a state surveillance in the region, targeting those who practice their culture or religion.

This is the third major leak of sensitive Chinese government documents showing a potential sinister program designed to "promote ethnic unity".

Women from the Muslim minority were found to have been forced to share a bed with and even marry men from the Han majority who are appointed by the Communist state, it is claimed.

The much-criticised Pair Up and Become Family program joins a long list of alleged human rights violations carried out by Xi Jinping's regime against Muslims in the northwest region of Xinjiang.

They have also been accused of raping Muslims held in "re-education camps," forcing them to have abortions and imprisoning Muslim men en-masse.



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