Leaked records from China reveal extensive surveillance of Uyghurs

28th Feb 2020
Leaked records from China reveal extensive surveillance of Uyghurs

(Credit: SFT/WikiCommons)

Meng Yihua

Newly leaked documents from Xinjiang offer additional insight into the workings of the vast network of detention camps set up across the region. The document, a spreadsheet which has come to be known as the ‘Karakax List’, details personal information of over 300 individuals through alarmingly high levels of detailed surveillance.

The spreadsheet reveals how hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have been detained for basic actions such as wearing the hijab, having multiple children, and applying for a passport. Having a family member who lives overseas is also a major cause for concern and results in detention.

This document provides substantial evidence to counter the claim made by the Chinese Government in Beijing that they are only taking action against those who have committed crimes of extremist nature and also serves as evidence that contradicts Chinese official claims that the ‘camps’ are voluntary training centres. On top of the 311 Uyghurs listed as the primary subjects in the spreadsheet, the documents include information on almost 3,000 other names.

Research experts, including Dr Adrian Zenz, conclude that the documents are highly likely to be authentic, himself having corroborated hundreds of individual identities with other documents. Zenz states that the data on individuals is entered through a smart phone application and is gathered from Government workers sent to live in the homes of the Uyghur people. For every individual listed in the spreadsheet, there is information listed in various columns, including how many Qur’ans they have in their home, and whether or not they observe religious rites such as praying.

The 11th column records the social circles and familial relationships of each main individual, and further information about them, including whether they wear the hijab or have a beard, whether or not they’ve been abroad, and whether they have relatives living abroad. The document verifies that China is using the concept of “guilt by association” to sentence and imprison entire family networks.

Following the document leak, top German official Markus Grübel has called on the UN to launch an investigation.

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