Xinjiang jämförs med Nordkorea, Östtyskland och Sydafrikas apartheid

På senare tid har flera artiklar uppmärksammat den förvärrade övervakningen och kontrollen mot den muslimska minoriteten uigur i provinsen Xinjiang i nordvästra Kina.

The Globe and Mail skriver i dag om hur polisstationer i vissa städer står med bara 500 meters mellanrum, och hur skanning av ansikten blivit allt vanligare vid allt från hotell till stopp motorvägarna.

För att samla in biometrisk data använder man sig även av DNA, som inhämtats med förevändning av gratis hälsotester. Detta implementeras sedan i ett system där artificiell intelligens tillämpas för att skilja på individer beroende på etnicitet.

Sammantaget har detta fått akademiker som The Globe and Mail talat med att dra jämförelser med situationen i Xinjiang och den i Nordkorea eller apartheidens Sydafrika:

What is taking place in Xinjiang has little historical precedent in the extent of authorities’ command over people’s lives, according to two scholars who recently visited the area.

”It’s a mix of the North Korean aspiration for total control of thought and action, with the racialized implementation of apartheid South Africa and Chinese AI [artificial intelligence] and surveillance technology,” said Rian Thum, a historian at Loyola University in New Orleans. ”It’s a truly remarkable situation, in a global sense.”

Men de artiklar på detta område som fått mest uppmärksamhet de senaste veckorna är en triologi av Gerry Shih på Associated Press som rest såväl till Xinjiang som Turkiet för att rapportera om repressionen och dess följder.

Han understryker den ökade kontrollen i Xinjiang, och talar med akademiker som understryker att polistätheten i provinsen motsvarar den som som fanns i Östtyskland just innan Berlinmurens fall.

Shih har även rest till Turkiet, dit många uigurer flytt undan repressionen i Xinjiang. Det visar sig att många av dem väl där radikaliseras och åker till Syrien för att delta i jihad i syfte att lära sig hantera vapen; färdigheter som sedan kan användas för att hämnas på plågoandarna hemma i Kina.

De tre artiklarna från AP ligger helt öppna och kan läsas i sin helhet, online, se utdrag nedan:

AP Exclusive: Digital police state shackles Chinese minority” (17 dec)

Along with the detention camps, unprecedented levels of police blanket Xinjiang’s streets. Cutting-edge digital surveillance systems track where Uighurs go, what they read, who they talk to and what they say. And under an opaque system that treats practically all Uighurs as potential terror suspects, Uighurs who contact family abroad risk questioning or detention.

The campaign has been led by Chen Quanguo, a Chinese Communist Party official, who was promoted in 2016 to head Xinjiang after subduing another restive region — Tibet. Chen vowed to hunt down Uighur separatists blamed for attacks that have left hundreds dead, saying authorities would “bury terrorists in the ocean of the people’s war and make them tremble.”

(…)

Xinjiang’s published budget data from January to August shows public security spending this year is on track to increase 50 percent from 2016 to roughly 45 billion yuan ($6.8 billion) after rising 40 percent a year ago. It’s quadrupled since 2009, a watershed year when a Uighur riot broke out in Xinjiang, leaving nearly 200 members of China’s Han ethnic majority dead, and security began to ratchet up.

Adrian Zenz, a researcher at the European School of Culture and Theology who tracks Chinese public security staffing levels based on its recruiting ads, says Xinjiang is now hiring 40 times more police per capita than populous Guangdong Province.

“Xinjiang has very likely exceeded the level of police density seen in East Germany just before its collapse,” Zenz said. “What we’ve seen in the last 12 to 14 months is unprecedented.”

AP Exclusive: Uighurs fighting in Syria take aim at China” (23 dec)

It was mid-afternoon when the Chinese police officers barged into Ali’s house set against cotton fields outside the ancient Silk Road trading post of Kashgar. The Uighur farmer and his cowering parents watched them rummage through the house until they found two books in his bedroom — a Quran and a handbook on dealing with interrogations.

Ali knew he was in trouble.

By nightfall the next day, Ali had been tied against a tree and beaten by interrogators trying to force him to say he took part in an ethnic riot that killed dozens in western China. They held burning cigarette tips to Ali’s face, deprived him of sleep and offered him only salt water. When he asked for fresh water, they gave it to him — in buckets poured over his head.

That winter night in 2009, Ali recalled years later, would set him on a path that ended on northern Syria’s smoldering plains, where he picked up a Kalashnikov rifle under the black flag of jihad and dreamed of launching attacks against the Chinese rulers of his homeland.

AP Exclusive: China’s Uighurs work to fend off pull of jihad” (30 dec)

As Uighurs flee a Chinese security crackdown in droves, they often end up caught in a tug-of-war between militant Uighur members of Syria-based Islamic groups and moderate leaders of the Uighur diaspora who plead with them to reject calls of jihad.

Extensive Associated Press interviews detail the daily battle some Uighur activists are fighting against the radicalization of their people, members of a Muslim ethnic minority who live in China under heavy surveillance and the constant fear of arrest . In Turkey, religious extremism has peeled away young Uighur men and entire families from Istanbul’s immigrant neighborhoods, from gritty central Anatolian suburbs — sometimes from right outside the airport.

(…)

The spread of extremism has alarmed many exiled Uighur leaders, who condemn violence and say it will lead their people’s ruin. But they’re confronted by a young generation who see no future under one of the world’s most powerful authoritarian governments and feel ignored by the rest of the world.

The Uighurs are wrestling over decades-old questions: Do we seek freedom with peace or violence? Is our path forward secular or Islamist?

Who will help us face the might of the People’s Republic of China?

Det är alltså tydligt att de kinesiska myndigheternas förtryck mot uigurerna leder till en våldsam spiral som blir mycket svår att bryta.

AP uppmärksammar även de repressalier mot etniska kineser i området som motsätter sig den hemska behandlingen av uigirer. Nyligen dömdes Zhang Haitao till 19 års fängelse för ”brott” som i andra delar av Kina knappt ens skulle ha lett till åtal.

Vidare förföljdes han fru, parets nyfödda son och övrig familj på ett vis som ledde till att frun med barn nyligen flydde till USA för att hon trots hot och våld från familjen vägrade skilja sig med Zhang.

Läs denna sorgliga berättelse i sin helhet i AP:s artikel ”China’s crackdown on Uighurs spreads to even mild critics” (28 dec).

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