China cracking down on 'violent' Uyghur fighters: Report

ANI | Updated: Apr 10, 2018 13:34 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 10 (ANI): China is cracking down on Uyghurs fighters seeking to establish themselves in Central Asia after fleeing from war-ravaged Iraq and Syria.

It is also trying to prevent the Uyghur Diaspora from being overtly vocal in the long-term.

According to a report published by International Policy Digest (IPD), Beijing has approached several countries including France, Australia, the United States, Egypt, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand to detain Uyghurs or deport them back to China.

Another step that China is taking, according to the IPD report, is to prevent suspect Uyghur fighters from regrouping in the Wakhan Corridor, a 76-kilometre long narrow strip located along the Afghan-China border.

It is being estimated that between 5,000 and 10,000 Uyghur fighters from different walks of life were in Iraq and Syria not too long ago, and are reportedly now heading back to Xinjiang Province in China and other parts of Central Asia and Afghanistan.

An Uyghur fighter was quoted as saying recently that they were in Syria to get trained in the use of weapons and then go back to China.

A recent report published by the Institute for the Study of War, has said Afghanistan is emerging again as "a safe haven for terrorist plots", and people living in the Wakhan Corridor have claimed to have seen joint Chinese-Afghan military patrols being undertaken in the area, seemingly to counter a possible Uyghur threat.

It is also being reported that those Uyghurs returning from Australia, Egypt and the United States to avoid repercussions for their families have also been arrested. Other Uyghurs are reported to have disappeared.

In Xinjiang Province, Uyghurs have been reportedly forced into re-education camps without a formal process as part of the rollout of the world's most intrusive and repressive public surveillance system, the IPD report states.

The surveillance system consists of cameras installed on streets equipped with facial recognition software and a DNA database that will include all residents in the province ultimately.

The database categorises the Uyghurs as "safe" or "unsafe." Also, identification readers have been reportedly installed at bus stops, train stations and shopping malls to bar the entry of those deemed unsafe.

Chinese authorities have added 'interest in travel abroad' as one of the reasons for detaining "unsafe" Uyghurs and sending them to re-education camps.

China's campaign to curb the emergence of effective Uyghur diaspora is seen as a measure not to allow them to follow the example of Tibetans residing abroad, who along with the Dalai Lama, have created a vocal opposition-in-exile. (ANI)