Document from Xinjiang shows reasons for persecution of Uyghurs

BBC was one of many news
outlets that released the
leaked government

(Urumqi, Xinjiang—Feb. 17, 2020) According to a BBC report, a new leaked document from Xinjiang reveals the reasoning behind the detainment of hundreds of Uyghur Muslims in internment camps. Chinese authorities cited arbitrary reasons such as minor religious practices, having relatives abroad, applying for a passport, and violations of birth control policies.

The document, referred to as the Karakax List, is 137 pages long and contains over 3,000 individuals’ personal information. However, it focuses on 311 individuals in particular and maps out their family and various friend connections. Each individual has a relative that lives abroad — something the Chinese government considers to be a potential warning sign for disloyalty.

The document reveals how the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, often relies on guilt by association in incriminating people. Specifically, 116 individuals were detained simply on the grounds of being “untrustworthy.”

Only 24 cases mentioned in the document were arrested due to alleged criminal activity.

Ultimately, the document reveals a persistent theme of targeting individuals for their religious practices, no matter how small. For example, one woman, a 38-year-old named Helchem, was sent to camp for having worn a veil some years ago. The Karakax List even makes note of how often individual’s pray.

Experts are working to verify the Karakax List as the second part of a wider leak of documents from Xinjiang that were published last year.

Uyghurs, an ethnic Muslim minority group in China, have been targeted by the Chinese government’s crackdown on religious groups. It has been reported 1-3 million Uyghurs have held in “re-education camps” in Xinjiang. The CCP cites curbing radicalization and terrorism as the purpose of the camps and says they are meant to give ethnic minority people training in a career field. However, many of the camps’ survivors have reported being starved, tortured, and forced to work long hours with little to no pay.

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