The Uyghur
story so far

Over 1 million Uyghurs living in China have been subject to arbitrary arrests, confinement to
camps, increased surveillance, and laws that ban religious items such as the Qur’an and
Hijab. In essence, these Uyghurs are forbidden to be Muslim, and are victims of severe
human rights abuses and violations.

Who are the Uyghur?

The Uyghurs are Turkic-speaking Muslims from the Central Asian region. The largest
population – about 11 million people – live in China’s Xinjiang region.
Over the last few decades, China has placed restrictions on the Uyghur language, and
practise of their Islamic faith. In recent years, the government has installed sophisticated
surveillance technology across the region, and there has been a surge in police numbers.

What is happening today?

More than 173 million cameras have been installed to watch over the people of China and
with constant police observation. The Chinese government has also launched a biometric
tracking campaign throughout the region, taking DNA and blood samples from the Uyghur
population under the guise of a mandatory health check.

Muslim minorities are being arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned, taken from the streets and
snatched from their homes. Many men are forcibly taken from their homes in front of their
children, and organs are being harvested.

At least one million Uyghurs have been detained in what China calls “vocational training
centres”. These are purpose-built detention centres, some of which resemble high-security
jails. There is growing evidence of human rights violations inside the centres as well as
reports of deaths in custody and forced labour. Uyghurs are forced to consume pork and
alcohol and declare allegiance to the Communist Manifesto. Stories of torture, forced
medical experiments and rape are coming to light, and the atrocities don’t end there.
Some Uyghurs have been employed by the state to spy on other Uyghurs, reporting any
suspicious or illegal behaviour. This includes if someone has given up smoking, refuses to
drink alcohol or even if a Uyghur refuses to watch Chinese news broadcasts.

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