China exerts economic pressure to tighten grip on Uyghur Muslims living abroadtext_fields
After detaining over one million Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province as part of ethnic cleansing, China is now using its economic influence over other countries to control Uyghurs living overseas, said a report from the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs.
The Uyghur Human Rights Project has found over 1500 cases of detention and deportation of Uyghurs across the world. The advocacy organization said that this number is "just the tip of the iceberg".
The World Uyghur Congress says that about 1-1.6 million Uyghurs live outside China. The largest populations are settled in Turkey and Central Asia.
The report suggests that a system of transnational repression is being used to carry out the agenda. Bradley Jardine, resea rch director at the Oxus Society, said that what is happening inside Xinjiang is happening beyond Chinese borders as well. Several countries around the world are playing a role in harassment, surveillance, detention, and rendition.
Four countries in which China has used transnational repression against the Uyghurs most are Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, and Myanmar. The influence is growing in Egypt, Turkey, and the Middle East.
Turkey was earlier described as a safe haven for Uyghurs. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan even called the actions in Xinjiang province a genocide. After relying on Beijing for supplies during the pandemic, Turkey has entered into an extradition treaty with China.
The report has pointed out that Beijing's economic power is helping it to pressure other countries to trade human rights for financial gain.
The Belt and Road Initiative has created an "unprecedented scope for transnational repression". It is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in nearly 70 countries and international organizations.
The Oxus Society said that stopping transnational repression is a moral imperative. "Standing idly while the government of China targets its citizens abroad with impunity also undermines the credibility of states to protect those within their borders, including their own citizens," said the report.
The findings in the report suggest that the rate of such incidents has been "dramatically accelerating since 2017". The report revealed that at least 695 Uyghurs have been deported to China from 15 different nations since 2017.
It also found at least 28 countries to be complicit with Beijing's actions at some point. Most of these nations are in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. The report named 'No Space Left to Run' has called on the western nations to accept more Uygur refugees.