Islamabad: The Muslim-majority countries across the Middle East and Asia — have cooperated with Beijing for surveillance, detain, and repatriate Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities from China who have fled Xinjiang, according to researchers.
China’s Transnational Repression of Uyghurs Dataset, a new database and report that was launched on June 24 examines 1,546 cases of detention and deportation across 28 countries, from 1997 to March 2021, reported The Frontier Post.
The dataset, which is a joint initiative by the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs and the Uyghur Human Rights Project, shows how China’s campaign against the Uyghurs has gone global, rapidly expanding from Central and South Asia to include Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
“There has been a lot of criticism against Muslim majority countries for their silence on Xinjiang and the repression of the Uyghurs,” Bradley Jardine, the Director of research at the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs and the report’s lead author, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). “But this database shows it isn’t just hypocrisy from the Islamic world, it’s active collaboration with China.”
United Nations human rights officials estimate that one million or more Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities are detained at camps in a vast Chinese internment system. Many former detainees allege they were subjected to attempted indoctrination, physical abuse, and even sterilization.
The United States government and several Western parliaments have labeled China’s actions in Xinjiang as genocide, but most governments of majority Muslim states — who increasingly have close financial and political ties to Beijing through China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — have remained silent on the issue, reported The Frontier Post.
According to the report, efforts to target Uyghurs and force them back to China have intensified since 2017, when Beijing is believed to have begun its mass internment program in Xinjiang.
“Through these practices, the government of China can extend its repression and control over the Uyghur people across sovereign boundaries,” the report says.
China’s government initially denied the Xinjiang camps’ existence but has since been on a diplomatic and public-relations campaign to counter the growing outcry against what Beijing has termed “vocational-education centers” by defending them as necessary to combat Islamic extremism.
Concerns over terrorism have been at the heart of official Chinese reasoning for targeting Uyghurs abroad that employs an evolving array of tactics, the report notes, from espionage and cyberattacks to issuing Red Notices via Interpol, an organization designed to coordinate global policing activities, reported The Frontier Post.