Why is China reportedly using spies on Uyghur Muslims
In a new campaign of repression against Uyghur Muslims, Chinese police are reportedly using spies to ensure Uyghur Muslims do not fast during the holy month of Ramzan. The spies, dubbed "ears" by Chinese officials, are allegedly drawn from ordinary citizens, police, and members of neighborhood committees, Radio Free Asia reported, citing a police official from an area near Tulufan in China's Xinjiang region.
Why does this story matter?
China has drawn criticism for its crackdown on the Uyghurs — a Turkic ethnic minority considered a native of the Xinjiang region in the northwest. Notably, the Xi Jinping-led government began banning Muslims in Xinjiang from fasting during Ramzan in 2017. This was around the time when authorities began arbitrarily detaining Uyghurs in "re-education" camps amid efforts to diminish their culture, religion, and language.
China's crackdown on Uyghur Muslims
As per reports, Chinese authorities summoned 56 Uyghur residents and former detainees during the first week of Ramzan to question them regarding their activities. Of the total, 54 were found violating the fasting law, revealed a Tulufan City Bazaar Police Station official. However, the police official refused to discuss what happened to those who violated the law.
Know how Chinese police use spies against Uyghur Muslims
Reportedly, the police stations in Tulufan have engaged two or three "ears" from each village to monitor people previously interrogated and arrested for fasting during Ramzan, as well as those released from jail. Furthermore, the police officer revealed that some villages even have four to five spies. The police will investigate those who violated the law earlier by fasting and those who organized fastings.
Police hire Uyghurs to spy on their own people: Official
"Our 'ears' came from three fields -- the ordinary residents, the police, and the neighborhood committees," stated an officer from near Tulufan. The officer also revealed that they recruited Uyghurs to keep an eye on other Uyghurs due to the language barrier. "In my workplace, there are 70-80 Uyghur policemen who either directly work as 'ears' or lead other civilians 'ears," the officer said.
Authorities spying on Uyghur officers within police
According to a staffer of the Tulufan Prefecture Police Bureau, authorities also had "ears" operating within the police force to check if Uyghur officers were fasting from dawn till dusk. Reports further revealed that authorities have been questioning Uyghur Muslim families to see if they are waking up to eat before dawn and gathering for a meal after dusk.
Details on Chinese authority's move against Uyghur Muslims
The restrictions announced by Beijing in 2017 were partially relaxed in 2021 and 2022, allowing people over 65 to fast as Chinese police reduced the number of street patrols and home searches. This year, however, the government has banned everyone from fasting, regardless of gender, profession, or age, according to a political official from the Tulufan City Police Station.Share this timeline