A landmark report published by Index on Censorship today (Thursday, 10 February) highlights the shocking extent of Chinese attempts to repress Uyghur ex-pats living in countries across Europe – including the UK.
The report, compiled over months of detailed research and gathering of personal testimony, shows how the “long arm” of the Chinese Communist Party is silencing ethnic Uyghurs.
Countless Uyghurs who have managed to escape China in search of freedom and security have instead found themselves threatened and silenced by threats to friends and family still living in China.
From being persecuted in China, they find themselves hounded in Europe. Meanwhile, Uyghurs in Xinjiang are increasingly being pressured to inform on friends and relatives living abroad.
As the Uyghur Tribunal recently concluded, genocide, human rights abuses and torture are taking place against the Uyghur population of China. This intelligence gathering drive by the CCP is part of a concerted effort to compile a “global register” of information to assist the authorities in China to clamp down further on them.
Jessica Ní Mhainín, policy and campaigns manager at Index on Censorship, said: “Today’s report shows the shocking reach of the Chinese government’s ‘long arm’, and also shines a light on the depths to which they will stoop in their concerted campaign against the Uyghur people.
“It has been widely accepted that there is a genocide taking place against Uyghurs in Xinjiang. What today’s report from Index on Censorship demonstrates is that the CCP is now taking this campaign into countries around the world.
“Most of the approximately 12,500 Uyghurs that reside in the UK and EU still have friends or family members in Xinjiang. Speaking out or reporting CCP-backed threats could put their loved ones at an increased risk of internment, torture or worse.”