torsdag 21. oktober 2021

‘There’s cameras everywhere’: testimonies detail far-reaching surveillance of Uyghurs in China

Abdusalam Muhammad recalls local police interrogating him and his family in their home of Yakan in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region as early as 1995. At the time, his family was deeply involved with the local mosque. His father was the imam, and his grandfather was the mosque’s secretary. As for Muhammad, he said he prayed five times a day, was a “non-smoker” and a “well-behaved man”.

That was enough to raise red flags for local authorities charged by the Chinese government with monitoring religious activity of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, according to testimony Muhammad gave at a tribunal convened in London earlier this month. “The head of the religious affairs of our village noticed me and reported everything to the police,” a translation of his statement submitted to the tribunal read.

Muhammad was among dozens of survivors of Chinese detention and re-education camps who spoke at the first and second round of hearings of the non-governmental tribunal, which was organized by a group of lawyers, professors and advocacy groups such as the World Uyghur Congress, to bring attention to the treatment of Uyghurs in China.