Uyghurs and their families living abroad are constantly under surveillance in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) occupied East Turkistan, also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) or Xinjiang and being threatened to cooperate with the Chinese state, according to a recent media report.
According to an article published by Jianli Yang is founder and president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China and Dolkun Isa is president of World Uyghur Congress in Newsweek on Tuesday local time, China today hosts a complex web of surveillance systems to keep track of its citizens and critics, both at home and abroad."Not only does the Chinese state operate multiple systems to maintain surveillance on its citizens, but it also tasks private companies working in China to further enhance its network of human and technical spies," the two writers wrote.
"Surveillance technology has been crucial to China's efforts to monitor and track ethnic peoples within China. The Uyghurs in East Turkistan are ethnically and racially different from the majority Han population and do stand out, making it easier for software to pick out their faces," Jianli and Isa added.
The article further stated that China's long spying arms have reached beyond its borders. Facebook found a "sophisticated espionage campaign" conducted by Chinese hackers that tried to trick pro-Uyghur activists around the world into downloading malicious software that would allow surveillance of their devices. The operation, which was attributed by Facebook to a known Chinese hacking group, created fake versions of news websites popular in Uyghur communities and encrypted them with malicious software.
The writers wrote that users who clicked on the sites would then unknowingly download the malware, allowing hackers access to their devices. In other times, the hackers hid malware in certain pages of websites that are frequently visited by their targets and in malicious apps they created in fake versions of app stores. It was revealed that the number of targets were less than 500 across the world.
The victims were mostly Uyghur dissidents, journalists and activists from East Turkistan who are now based outside of China, in areas including the U.S., Europe, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia, among others, according to the article.
"Technology is undoubtedly an enabler in many respects, but in China's case, it is enabling the Chinese state and the Communist Party of China to track, monitor and persecute civilians, in particular Uyghur, Kazkahs and other Turkic peoples," they wrote.The writers further warned that China launched a massive campaign to achieve this strategic goal, to become the world's primary center for science and technology, and commanding heights for innovation and if it succeds, "China will not only perpetuate its dictatorship, control the world's economic supply chains but also peoples' minds through its advanced digital dictatorship, which will put the whole of liberal democracy in grave danger."
They have further called on 'the free world' to work together to find effective solutions to defeat China's digital dictatorship and stop it before it's exported to the world.
"A "free world" should mean there are no camps, no forced labor factories, no cultural and religious repression, no arbitrary arrests, no police brutality and no genocide," they wrote.
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.