The Chinese government forcibly placed more than one million civilians into the homes of Uighur Muslim families in Xinjiang to spy on their daily activities and determine if they display extreme Islamic or “unpatriotic beliefs,” the Independent reported.
The informants were reportedly given detailed instructions on how to get the families to let their guard down. What they learned was reported back to the government. The Chinese government typically targeted families of those who were detained in the government’s “re-education” centers.
According to American anthropologist Darren Byler, the spies are told to watch for signs of an extreme attachment to Islam, the report states.
The spies themselves "relatives" of the families they are spying on.
What are they looking for?
“Had a Uighur host just greeted a neighbor in Arabic with the words ‘Assalamu Alaykum’? That would need to go in the notebook,” said Byler, in research published by Asia Society's Centre on US-China Relations. “Was that a copy of the Quran in the home? Was anyone praying on Friday or fasting during Ramadan? Was a little sister’s dress too long or a little brother’s beard irregular?”
Byler’s claims appear to be supported by the Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People's Daily. By the end of September, the government had paired more than 1.1 million Chinese citizens paired with 1.69 million ethnic minority citizens in China, the outlet reported
Those who have spent time with the Uighur Muslims claim they were put through an intensive indoctrination program and were encouraged to “renounce Islam and instead heap praise on the Chinese Communist Party,” according to the Independent.
Uighur Muslims have also been subjected to round-ups for placement in government "re-education’ centers,” the Independent reported. A former inmate of the program claimed Muslim inmates were forced to eat pork and drink alcohol. Additionally, there are reports that they must surrender religious items such as the Quran or face “harsh punishments.”
Additionally, the government is reportedly taking away Uighur children and placing them in orphanages, even if their parents are still alive.
“Chinese authorities have also been accused of putting Uighur children and those from other ethnic minority groups into state-run orphanages across the western Xinjiang region, even if their parents were not dead, as some one million adults in their families were sent to internment camps,” the report states.
China is also in the international spotlight for its nationwide behavioral scoring system that is already limiting travel for people with low scores.