As Arzu tells her story, she keeps a watchful eye on the door. Although she is in her workplace in the the centre of Sydney in the middle of a weekday, every time anyone walks in, she tenses. Before she will talk she warns that if any Chinese people enter the building we must stop the interview. If anyone asks, she says, we must tell them the Guardian is writing a feature about her business. She will tell her story but she won’t use her real name. Arzu is a pseudonym.
Arzu, 52, is an Australian citizen and has been in the country for almost two decades. The reason for her fear is that she belongs to the Uighur Muslim minority ethnic group, from Xinjiang, a far western region of China. An estimated 1 million Muslims are currently held in detention camps in Xinjiang by the Chinese government as part of a sweeping crackdown on the rights of the minority group.