China's police state goes global, leaving refugees in fear

23 JUL, 2019

Muslims who escaped China's crackdown in Xinjiang still live in fear, saying new homes abroad and even Western passports afford them no protection against a state-driven global campaign of intimidation.

With menacing text and voice messages, and explicit threats to relatives still living in Xinjiang, China's powerful state security apparatus has extended its reach to Uighurs living in liberal democracies as far away as New Zealand and the United States, in a bid to silence activists and recruit informants.

The Communist Party's dragnet in Xinjiang has swept an estimated one million ethnic Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities into "vocational education centres" that numerous studies and reports have exposed as harsh internment camps.

For those who managed to get out and settle overseas, the search for a true safe haven has remained elusive as they complain they and their families have been remotely harried and harassed to the point of desperation.

Guly Mahsut, who fled to Canada, says she became suicidal and was hospitalised after being bombarded with messages from Xinjiang police threatening her family in the troubled province.

"You should have been more cooperative. Don't become the source of misfortune for your relatives and family in Toksun. You should be more considerate of your family," read one message, allegedly from an official named "Kaysar".

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT AFP

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