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China uses its diplomatic influence to attack Uyghurs in other countries

According to a news report, China is using its diplomatic influence in Central, West and South Asia to hunt down and target Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities who have sought safety abroad. Beijing’s transnational campaign, which uses a complex toolkit of intimidation, harassment, surveillance, detentions and extraditions, has reached unprecedented depths around the world, according to Radio Free Europe, citing a report titled ” Great Wall Of Steel” by Kissinger from the Wilson Center. Institute on China and the United States. The new study demonstrates how China’s global rise – exemplified by its outsized economic influence through projects such as the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – has given Beijing new leverage on governments, allowing it to co-opt them as partners in repressive policy. campaign that is spreading around the world.

The study’s dataset documented 5,532 cases of Uighurs facing intimidation, 1,150 cases of Uighurs detained in a host country, and 424 cases of Uighurs deported or extradited to China, from 1997 to January 2022. according to the report. As the study notes, of the 10 countries where Uyghurs along with Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other ethnic groups remain the most vulnerable to detention or extradition, China is the largest financial creditor for five of them: Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Cambodia and Myanmar, leading to deals in which leaders “trade human rights for economic opportunity”, according to the report.

“The start of the (US) War on Terror (in 2001) provided China with new rhetorical tools to build alliances and coalitions to pursue Uyghur dissidents and diaspora communities; then, in 2017, with the mass incarceration program in Xinjiang, where China really started ramping up algorithmic surveillance (across the province),” said Bradley Jardine, Wilson Center researcher and study author. . Jardine further explained how China has built and implemented a number of tools in Central Asia like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and used them to sign treaties that allow mutual extradition without asking issues between Member States.

“This (type of cooperation) really accelerated (and) made the region very dangerous and hostile (for the Uyghurs),” Jardine said. Besides, China also signed an extradition treaty with Turkey, at a Belt and Road summit forum which was later ratified in December 2020, Jardine pointed out.

These efforts have led to allegations of the imposition of forced labor, mass internment, forced birth control, erasure of Uyghur cultural and religious identity, as well as accusations of genocide. The Chinese government has publicly refuted any reports of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, however, China has been chastised globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps , interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forced re-education or indoctrination.

“Turkey remains the biggest destination, although there is a small exodus of particularly high-profile figures, such as Kazakh activist Serikzhan Bilash, who has moved to the United States. So there is no real space for them right now unless there is more political will in the West to increase its quotas. That’s where they would be safest,” he said. Beijing has launched a brutal crackdown that has forced more than a million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities into detention camps and prisons in the western province of Xinjiang under the guise of fighting Islamist extremism.

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  • China uses its diplomatic influence to attack Uyghurs in other countries
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