Mihrigul Tursun was detained in a Chinese internment camp for Uyghur Muslims. (State Dept./D.A. Peterson)

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

New reports of possible human rights abuses are emerging out of China following the alleged forcible sterilization of Uighur women. 

Reports of the Chinese government using high-tech surveillance to track and monitor the minority Uighur Muslim population have furthered concerns for human rights abuses. The Chinese Communist Party has also been utilizing blood samples, DNA testing, and facial scans to follow Uighur Muslims in their daily lives. Some of the technology is disguised as regular cell phone apps that record calls and remotely activate microphones. Other modes of surveillance are disguised in religious texts or Uighur language news. 

On Wednesday, authorities with U.S. Customs and Border Protection discovered a shipment of weaves made from human hair believed to have been forcibly taken from Uighur women in Chinese forced labor camps. The shipment was worth around $800,000 and came from a company called Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd. United States federal authorities were permitted to hold the shipments of hair from China for investigation following a May 1 seizure of a similar shipment from Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories, which was also linked to forced labor camps.

“This is so heartbreaking for us,” said Uighur activist Rushan Abbas in an interview with the Associated Press. “I want people to think about the slavery people are experiencing today.” Abbas’ sister went missing in China and is believed to be in a “re-education camp.” The Chinese Communist Party claims the purpose of the internment camps is to “eradicate Islamic extremism,” holding an estimated 1 million Uighurs in detention. Abbas said, “My sister is sitting somewhere being forced to make what, hair pieces?” 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

China’s Software Stalked Uighurs Earlier and More Widely, Researchers Learn – New York Times – 7/1/2020
The timeline suggests the hacking campaign was an early cornerstone in China’s Uighur surveillance efforts that would later extend to collecting blood samples, voice prints, facial scans and other personal data to transform Xinjiang into a virtual police state. It also shows the lengths to which China’s minders were determined to follow Uighurs as they fled China for as many as 15 other countries.

US seizes items thought to be made from hair of Muslims in Chinese labor camps – The Guardian – 7/1/2020
“The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in US supply chains,” said Brenda Smith, executive assistant commissioner of CBP’s office of trade.

U.S. Seizes Shipment Of Human Hair Products Believed Made In Chinese Detention Camps – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty – 7/2/2020
Lop County Meixin was the third Xinjiang exporter of human hair to be blacklisted in recent months for using forced labor. The products are typically used in weaves and extensions. Beijing has faced condemnation for placing more than 1 million Uyghurs and members of other mostly Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang in concentration camps since early 2017. China says the camps are reeducation and training centers needed to combat separatist terrorism and extremism.

China caught using malware to spy on Uighurs as a part of campaign to curb the Muslim population – Fox News – 7/2/2020
“The development timeline and targeting of these families also appear to align with Chinese national security directives and “counter-terrorism” efforts as defined by the Chinese government, perhaps suggesting a broader strategic goal behind the campaign,” the report notes. “Lookout researchers have observed a peak in malware development beginning in 2015, which coincides with the ‘Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism’…campaign in Xinjiang that began in May 2014.”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Zach Weinersmith on Twitter, 7/2/2020: I’m guessing people are sick of hearing me whinge about immigration, but it’s worth noting that you can be super pro-refugee on a purely self-interested basis. Want to shame the CCP while gaining geopolitical and economic strength? Welcome all Uyghurs and Hongkongese to the USA.

Kenneth Roth on Twitter, 7/2/2020: Beijing is coercively suppressing the birth rate of Uighurs and other Muslims. Men are jailed for having too many children. Birth control and abortions are are forced upon women. Some have been sterilized. The Uighur birth rate fell 60% from 2015 to 2018.

Marco Rubio on Twitter, 7/2/2020: Many of the companies boycotting Facebook until they enforce the “woke speech code” have no problem doing business with & in #China, whose government subjects #Uighur Muslims to mass detention, forced labor & forced sterilization. Hypocrites

Drew Pavlou 柏乐志 on Twitter, 7/2/2020: ECON3820, a UQ course designed by the UQ Confucius Institute and funded by the Chinese government, includes official CCP talking points relating to #UyghurGenocide. “Muslim Uyghurs are overrepresented in ‘Terrorist’ incidents.” Australian university justifying genocide.

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