China's 'relatives policy' emerging as part of broader crackdown crackdown on Uyghurs

 Hong Kong, May 11 (ANI): China's 2016 'relatives policy', where Chinese government cadres are sent to live, work and sleep with families to promote national harmony in the country, has emerged as a major constituent of a broader crackdown on Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

CNN reported that the Chinese media depicts the policy as a blend of community service and education by using rosy images of the home stay programme. However, several people who have fled Xinjiang said that the host families greeting each other as 'relatives' are actually hostages.

Over 1.1 the government will conclude that we are against their 'relatives' policy, according to Xinhua news agency.

Zumrat Dawut, an ethnic Uyghur from Urumqi, who fled China in 2019 to escape the alleged repression of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang said that the people had to pretend that they were happy, otherwise the government will conclude that they were against their 'relatives' policy.

She said that she had to host four officials in her home each visit. "Because my husband is a foreign national, they did not force him to pair up with a relative, but me and three of our children we all had one relative each," she said.

She further said that her assigned cadre followed her around the house, asking questions, and taking notes that she feared could see her re-imprisoned in China's vast network of detention centers, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has called Dawut an actress and liars, the labels used against other Uyghurs living in exile, who have shared their stories of trauma in Xinjiang.

A former teacher in an internment camp, Qelbinur Sidik, said she was ordered to host her first cadre in May 2017.

"He wanted me to sit together with him, drink wine with him. I begged him not to force me. When he was drunk, he wanted me to sleep with him," she said, adding that the cadre was her husband's boss at a state-owned factory.

The Chinese state media promoted the programme with two numerical slogans: the "four togethers" -- which are "eat together, live together, study together, work together," and the "three sends," under which cadres "send laws, send policies, send warmth."

Timothy Grose, professor of China Studies and expert in ethnic policy at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, said that official documents have pointed that these programmes are for human intelligence gathering and surveillance.

Nyrola Elima, an ethnic Uyghur from Xinjiang's Ghulja County, said she grew up proud of being a citizen of China, until her cousin disappeared into an internment camp in 2018, reported CNN.

The programme is a "combined indoctrination and monitoring project", said Thum from the University of Nottingham, adding that they live in fear, under the system in which they are subject to political judgment in every aspect of their own home.

China has been rebuked 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 forcible re-education or indoctrination.

Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party's brutal crackdown on the ethnic community. (ANI)



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