Xinjiang: China’s crackdown on Uyghurs and other minorities have had devastating consequences within its borders. Reports have now emerged that members of the Uyghur community are being forced by Beijing authorities to spy on their own while abroad.
According to DW News, this ploy by the Chinese Communist Party expands China’s ability to threaten those members of the minority community who speak out against the atrocities.
The news outlet met up with a person Eysa Imin who was asked by the Chinese Security to spy on Uyghurs abroad. This person went to Germany where he was awaiting the outcome of his asylum application but the story begins in Xinjiang, his hometown.
In 2015, when he returned from Malaysia to Xinjiang, he was stopped at the airport and was taken into a detention centre.
“On arrival at the airport, I was told to wait at passport control until everybody was gone. Then, two policemen pulled my jacket over my head so I could not see anything. They put me into a car and drove me away,” Imin, a person who was captured by Chinese security told DW.
He added that he was taken into a room and tied his arms and legs to a metal table. “They tightened the cuffs until I could not move. I was in this position for two days,” he said.
Imin was never told by the authorities what he was accused of but the papers say that he was suspected of “endangering state security”. He spent a month in detention but was released under one condition — he had to agree to work for the Chinese State security.
“I thought I would just say yes; stay in touch with them but I had no intention of working for them,” the Uyghur refugee said.
DW News further reported that Imin regularly met with an agent. He maintained that he never revealed any information on anyone. About one year later he was detained again and this time he was freed on a special request to spy on a young man in China.
Deciding to not return to China, he “went on a webcast with his story”. The agent called him and Imin said, “He (the agent) told me: ‘You decided to appear on the show (webcast) and talk but your family is here in China.'”
Since then, five of his family members have disappeared; five siblings have been arrested and his eldest brother was sentenced to 25 years in jail. “The Chinese government has separated us forever,” he said.
Rahima Mahmut, an Uyghur activist said that “it is a very common thing” that Uyghurs are forced to spy overseas adding that “it has been a long history (that) China is trying to spy on any Uyghur living abroad.”
“The Chinese government accuse Uyghurs exiled communities (of) carrying out in their own version of terrorist activities… I know a lot of uyghurs, they do not feel safe,” she added.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal crackdown on the ethnic community, according to a report.