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[LISTEN] Activist Speaks of Systemic Persecution of Muslims by China

Umm Muhammed Umar

Radio Islam this week crossed over to Canberra, Australia, to speak to Australian Uigher activist, Nurgul Sawut, in connection with an Australian think tank having called for an investigation into China’s Xinjiang province, following the publication of leaked documents allegedly detailing Uigher repression.

Sawut said that this was not the first time such a document had been made public. She said that there was a lot of detail about how China systematically repressing the Turkic Muslim population, not just the Uighers. She said there were Uighur, Kazakh, Uzbek Karghiz and also Chinese Muslims that were subject to a Chinese repression policy. Sawut said its very systemic and very detailed. The documents prove that its well established, well designed, and it’s not simply implemented overnight. She said that the foundation had been built in 2004 up until 2016, when the older policies began being executed. Sawut said, “And, it’s a very gentrified manner, and so that’s why the international community would not notice the severity of the thus policy.” According to Sawut, the outcome of this policy is anything between one to 3 million Uighurs forced into concentration camps, as well as a large number of displaced and forced into labour.

The report from Adrian Sainz, had calculated about up to 9 million people affected by this Chinese policy. Sawut said, “And when you can see that over a million people just disappeared off the face of Earth. And we trying to let international community notice is actually genocide.” She said that the international community didn’t know the intensity of the crisis, and that those who did know still, as a government chose to remain silent, or just a classify this as a severe abuse of human rights. Sawut added that majority of the Muslim nations, don’t want to speak up, and kept silent. She lamented that there was no condemnation against what was happening to the Uighers, from international community. Disappointed, Sawut said, “And so that’s actually a surprise, surprise, and it’s still almost like we’re pacing in the same spot. Nothing is actually moving forward.”

Meanwhile, a file sharing application called Zapier is being used to target Muslims in China. According to Sawut, Zapier is the combination of few different platforms. She said that the way data was used by the government and the way it was collected, was quite intense. Sawut added, “you’re not only just looking at one type of data, they actually using Artificial Intelligence to collect those data; and besides the AI, and we also have DNA data as well.”  She said that Zapier was alarming, but that China could not do it themselves. She said, China was reliant on apps coming from the outside, which were developed by some Western IT companies or research centres. These were either bought or copied by the Chinese. She added, “And that’s what this app [Zapier]is all about. Sawut said that the well-known IT and software companies knew of the existence of this technology, but decided not to speak out. China, consistently using this technology, created a colossal database in order to persecute and repress the Uigher population as well as other Muslim minorities.

Sawut, despite having left China 20 years ago, remains on a terrorist list, along with 987 other foreigners, from the UK, Japan, Australia, United States, and Canada.

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