Police round up Uyghurs from 2 villages before China’s National Day
Authorities apprehended more than 50 Uyghur villagers from two communities in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region as part of a security operation in the run-up to the country’s National Day holiday, local officials said.
On the eve of the Oct. 1 holiday, marking the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, authorities detained 44 people from Siyek village in Kériye county of Hotan prefecture and eight residents of Térim village in Peyziwat county, Kashgar prefecture.
The operation focused on Uyghurs who were under the age of 18 at the time of mass arrests of members of the predominantly Muslim group in 2017 and those who previously had eluded capture.
In 2017 and 2018, authorities rounded up nearly 2 million Uyghurs across the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region and detained them in “re-education” camps where some were subjected to severe rights abuses. China has consistently denied any abuse and said the camps were vocational training centers that have since been closed.
A police officer from Siyek village told Radio Free Asia that authorities arrested 44 people from the village bazaar before this year’s holiday.
A local judicial officer, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said the arrests were part of a security operation to ensure a peaceful National Day.
In all, more than 200 people are currently in detention, most of whom were arrested between 2017 and 2018 when they were under 18 and considered suspects, as well as individuals arrested this year, he said.
In the month leading up to the holiday, local officials designated every Thursday as a day for political study, and residents were compelled to confess any perceived wrongdoings during meetings at the Siyek Central Middle School, the judicial officer said.
Meanwhile, authorities in Térim village detained eight people for interrogation at the local police station, said a policeman there.
“When we are on duty, we monitor live security footage for any signs of strangers or unusual activities,” he told RFA.
Prior to mass arrests of Uyghurs across Xinjiang in 2017, authorities detained people during significant events such as National Day, conferences and international exhibitions in an effort to maintain stability in the restive region.
— RFA report, Oct 11, 2023
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