Chinese police data is giving Uyghurs answers about missing family members
TikTok, Jayke Tapper, and Uyghur-genocide: Where are we coming from? What do we need to know about China?
In a report, theUN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that China has committed serious human rights violations against Uyghurs, which may amount to crimes against humanity.
The social media app TikTok has come under scrutiny by USLawmakers and security experts, as it has grown incredibly popular over the past several years. Critics argue China’s national security laws could force TikTok — or its parent, ByteDance — to hand over the personal data of customers in the United States.
The data could allow China to identify intelligence opportunities, or it could help them influence Americans through misinformation, said security experts.
Beckerman said there are many human rights violations happening in China and around the world. “I think these are very important. I’m not here to be the expert on human rights violations around the world.”
In a report published last week, the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate found that it can take less than three minutes after signing up for a TikTok account to see content related to suicide and about five more minutes to find a community promoting eating disorder content.
The Xinjiang Police Departments: Where are we going? What do we really need? How do we explain it to our kids in the US?
Beckerman dismissed any concern that some American parents would see that study and think the Chinese government is trying to destroy our kids. Beckerman nodded to the app’s parental controls, but he called Tapper’s argument hypocritical.
Beckerman said that people are complaining about their staff in China and suggesting that they apply Chinese-style media rules to the US. “We have freedom of speech, among other things here in the United States.”
The information about the police departments of Xinjiang was published in May of last year. Further examination of the files then revealed their full extent, uncovering approximately 830,000 individuals across 11,477 documents and thousands of photographs.
Imagine a world where your entire family has been imprisoned, but no one knows why or for how long. The police have your voice samples, fingerprints, and iris scans on file with them, as well as the information they have on your family and community.
A ex-detective named Jiang said that there were over one million Uyghurs rounded up in one year, but they had not committed any crimes. He admitted torturing inmates in interrogations and said that some of his colleagues acted like psychopaths.
The Chinese government has never denied the legitimacy of the files, but state-run news outlet The Global Times recently described Zenz as a “rumor monger,” and called his analysis of the files “disinformation.”
CNN Observes Lived a Happy and Fulfilled Life in the Xinjiang Yangshan County, China
Most of the data comes from Shufu county in Kashgar and Ili, where the researchers believe they have complete population data.
The Uyghur population of Xinjiang is around 11 million people, with around four million people from other Turkic ethnic minorities. The data probably only represents the tip of the bigger picture.
CNN has sent a detailed request for comment to the Chinese government regarding the files, but has not received a response.
The Chinese government did not respond to specific questions about the files after they were published, but the Chinese embassy in Washington DC issued a statement which said that the residents of the U.S. territory lived a “happy and fulfilling life.”
Over the past four years, CNN has gathered testimonies from dozens of overseas Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, which included allegations of torture and rape inside the camp system. CNN also spoke to those abroad desperately seeking information about their loved ones.
It is hard for relatives to find such information. A sophisticated system of collective punishment threatens those in Xinjiang with detention if their families abroad even try to make a phone call.
Chinese Police Data Leak Family Relatives: Juma, Eysajan and Yuma-Zulpiyem
“The black hole is the most terrifying thing,” Zenz said. The black hole was created by the Chinese state. It’s the scariest thing that can be done. That there is no knowledge of whether or not a loved one is alive or dead.
The search tool enabled three Uyghur families to find detailed official data on their relatives for the first time.
The files show that some of Juma’s immediate and extended family were sentenced to long jail terms because of their connections to him.
Juma has been pointing out the problem in Uyghur for 16 years, as a deputy director for Radio Free Asia. He left China for the US in 2003, after being selected for an academic fellowship with the Ford Foundation.
Juma said he was called a wanted terrorist and was going to be deported back to China. My relatives are not described as human beings because of me, and they are also demonized.
Cousin once removed Zulpiyem’s husband and Aunt-in-law, father’s side.
He described his younger brother, Eysajan Juma, as “jubilant, very gregarious,” a sociable and likable person who was loved deeply, despite making “a lot of mistakes.” Juma could not see the same things in his brother’s eyes.
“It was a very heartbreaking situation,” Juma said, through tears. “He was so proud of us, (but) we weren’t able to be with him at the time… It was quite painful.
The young niece and nephew of Ayup, an exiled political prisoner in Xinjiang, and a suspect relative in Australia
Ayup, who ran a Uyghur language school in Kashgar, fled Xinjiang in August 2015 after spending time in jail as a political prisoner, where he told CNN he faced torture and gang rape.
He had already been told his brother and sister had been targeted because of him, but the first confirmation came from the search database.
Ayup said that the government document told him that it was his fault, and that he felt guilty and responsible.
Ayup said that his younger sister was arrested. She was blacklisted because of me, because of her accusations of being a double-faced government official.
Uyghurs working in government jobs in Xinjiang while continuing to practice their cultural beliefs were often accused of being “two-faced,” Ayup said, categorized as “traitors, not 100% loyal to the government.”
When she used the new search tool to look for her Uyghur relatives in Australia, she found police records for two of them, one of which was a young niece and nephew.
The nephew was labeled as a “Category 2” person on the blacklist, described as a “highly suspicious accomplice” in “public security and terrorism cases.”
The files show that the niece and nephew traveled to at least one of 26 suspicious countries, including Syria and Afghanistan. Salay said that was not true — they had only ever traveled outside China to go on holiday to Malaysia.
This is insane. Salay looked through her nephew’s file and said it was terrible. He is turning 18 in a couple of months. Are they going to arrest him?”
Salay’s sister Mayila Yakufu — the mother of the children — was sentenced to 6.5 years in jail at the end of 2020, after she had spent several years in other camps.
The family of Salay and his parents have proved that Yakufu gave them money so they could buy a house in Australia. Mayila and Marhaba’s brother left Xinjiang in 1998, and later died in an accident in Australia in 2007 — but his ID card was still cited as a suspicious connection to the children.
Salay said that the suspicion level is about his late brother, but they tried to connect my young nephew with him. They have never met each other.
The extension of “guilt by association” to children reflects the paranoia which the Chinese state holds toward the Uyghur population, according to Zenz.
Zenz said the state considered the entire family to be a bad thing. I think that’s consistent with the way in which the officials have characterized Islam in internal speeches, that it’s a disease of the mind that affects people.
“Fuzzy” logic in the memories of a former Xinjiang police officer: A tale of two arrests, one sentence and more
As the families look through these files, their instinct is to search for logic and reasons for what happened to their loved ones. But they don’t find much.
This “fuzzy” logic was explained by a former Xinjiang police officer turned whistleblower, who told CNN in 2021 the idea had been to detain Uyghurs en masse first, and find reasons for the arrests later.