søndag 9. mai 2021

The Chinese policy that makes Uyghurs feel like hostages in their own homes

A woman raises a toast in a photo that appears to show four friends enjoying dinner together. The reality couldn't be more different. The woman in the white ruffled shirt is Zumrat Dawut, an ethnic Uyghur from Urumqi, who fled China in 2019 to escape the alleged repression of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
Her four "guests" are Chinese government cadres who lived in her home for 10 days every month for two years before her family fled, she said. "We must pretend that we are happy," Dawut explained from Washington DC, where she lives in exile. "If we do not then the government will conclude that we are against their 'relatives' policy."

China introduced its relatives policy -- part of the "ethnic unity campaign" -- in 2016, ostensibly to promote national harmony. Since then, more than 1.1 million cadres have visited the homes of 1.6 million people of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang, according to a "fact check" published by Chinese state news agency Xinhua in February. It is part of a broader crackdown on Uyghurs and ethnic minorities in Xinjiang that the US and other nations have called "genocide," an accusation that China angrily rejects.