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Report: China Jailing Uighurs for 15 Years in ‘Re-Education Centers’ for Using Facebook

Ethnic Uighur men talk under an Olympic poster in Xinjiang's famed Silk Road city of Kashgar in China's far northwestern, mainly Muslim Xinjiang region on August 6, 2008. Gauging Olympic fervour in this tense city depends on whether you ask a member of the Muslim Uighur ethnic group or a …
PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty
EDWIN MORA

China is sentencing residents of the Uighur Muslim-majority Xinjiang region caught with social media accounts like Facebook on their phone to 15 years in “re-education centers,” where detainees undergo psychological communist indoctrination, Daily Mail reported, citing an activist in the region.

On Wednesday, Daily Mail reported:

The blogger known as Kasim claims that in China’s heavily Muslim Xinjiang region those caught with Facebook on their phones are  sent to re-education’ centres to clamp down on their social media use. … He said that people are being sentenced to 15 years there if police catch them with any social media like Facebook or Twitter on their phones.

According to the Daily Mail, the blogger told the Sun Online that he used “specialist sensors” to circumvent Beijing’s restrictions on Twitter.

The blogger reportedly declared:

China doesn’t want you to know what’s happening outside of China, so they’ve built a firewall. Police check your phone looking for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – any app not made in China.

If they catch you with any of these apps, or in contact with someone abroad – even someone from China who has now left the country – they accuse you of hating communism, of hating China.

Almost every police [officer] has handheld equipment they connect to your phone with a USB where they can scan everything on your phone, all your photos, everyone you’ve ever spoken to.

Xinjiang, China’s largest province that covers half the area of India, is home to the country’s largest concentration of predominantly Muslim Uighurs (or Uyghurs) and other followers of Islam.

The Daily Mail report came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told U.S. lawmakers that China’s “Orwellian” persecution of Muslims and Christians has reached “historic proportions,” citing Beijing’s crackdown on Uighurs and followers of Christ.

Last month, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) noted in its annual report on human rights that Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s administration “significantly intensified its campaign of mass detention of members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang).”

China continues to deny its crackdown on Muslims, which DOS and non-governmental groups say has expanded to Christians and non-Uighur Islam adherents.

Beijing claims that the hundreds of thousands of religious minorities sent to the “concentration camps” are not facing systemic torture, disappearances, executions, and arbitrary detentions all to erase their religious identity in favor of the inherently atheist Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

China has repeatedly argued that the hundreds of re-education centers, primarily located in Xinjiang, are vocational and educational centers aimed at combatting terrorism and religious extremism in the region.

“Xinjiang’s counter-terrorism and de-extremism efforts have created a new way to solve the symptoms and root cause of the difficult global issue of counter-terrorism, and are worthy of praise,” China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui told foreign envoys from dozen of countries who visited China in February, referring to detention centers.

Some anti-China Uighur jihadis are known to operate in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region that borders Xinjiang.

The U.S. State Department believes Beijing has even incarcerated U.S. legal residents and citizens in the facilities, also known as “mind-transformation centers.”

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