Leaked database shows thousands of Uyghurs held in detention by China

Edited By: Manas Joshi
New Delhi Updated: May 17, 2022, 07:26 PM(IST)

Uyghurs in China Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

These Uyghur Muslims are apparently being held as part of China's crackdown against terrorism

A leaked list has shown that more than 10,000 Uyghur Muslims have been detained or arrested by China. Researchers believe that more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been held in secret network of detention centres and prisons. These are the people who have disappeared in China's sweeping crackdown on Xinjiang.

These people are ostensibly being held as part of anti-terrorism campaign.

However, Chinese authorities are closely guarding information about crackdown in the region.

AFP quoted Nursimangul Abdureshid who until 2020, did not know where her brother Memetili was. Abdulreshid even did not know where her parents were.

It took Chinese embassy in Ankara till 2020 to confirm her family had been imprisoned for terrorism-related offences.

But a suspected police list leaked to Uyghur activists outside China has located Memetili in a prison outside the city of Aksu, some 600 kilometres (375 miles) from their home.

He was sentenced to 15 years and 11 months in jail, the documents show -- a figure confirmed by Beijing's embassy in Ankara.

"It is much better than not knowing anything about where he is. There is a small happiness," Abdureshid, 33, told AFP from Istanbul, where she has lived since 2015.

"I check the weather there sometimes, to see if it is cold or warm."

The previously unreported database, which has been seen by AFP, lists over 10,000 imprisoned Uyghurs from southwestern Xinjiang's Konasheher county -- including over 100 from Abdureshid's village.

Her parents' location remains a mystery, as well as that of an older brother who is also believed to be detained.

Abdureshid recognised the names of seven other villagers on the list of detainees -- all small business owners or farm workers who she says would not have links to terrorism.

"When I search this list I just feel like I can't breathe," she said.

The leaked list details each prisoner's name, birthdate, ethnicity, ID number, charge, address, sentence length, and prison.

It has not been possible to independently verify the authenticity of the database.

(With inputs from agencies)

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