Human Rights

Uighur spy for Chinese indoctrination campaign gunned down in Istanbul

Caravanserai and AFP


A man holds a placard reading "We are coming" during a demonstration on October 1 in Istanbul, Turkey, by supporters of the Muslim minorities being imprisoned and indoctrinated in the Xinjiang region of China. [Ozan KOSE / AFP]

ISTANBUL -- An Uighur man who said he was forced to inform on fellow Uighurs to Chinese authorities was gunned down in Istanbul, Turkish media reported Tuesday (November 3).

Yusufujrang Aimaitijiang had gone outside to get cigarettes when he was shot twice on Monday (November 2) evening, the private news agency DHA reported. Aimaitijiang suffered injuries to his shoulder and arm, while the gunman escaped.

Aimaitijiang was also known as Yusupjan Emet and Yusuf Amat, said members of Turkey's Uighur community.

Using the name Amat, he told Al Jazeera in February 2019 that he was forced to inform on fellow Uighurs by the Chinese regime.

"My role was to feed information to officials. I reported on everything people did -– what they ate, drank, what they did in private in their homes; whether it was friends or relatives, I shared it all," Amat said.

He said he started spying in 2012 because his mother was taken hostage, and officials tortured her and threatened to keep her unless he agreed to co-operate.

He said he spied abroad between 2012 and 2018 in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey, Al Jazeera reported.

Beijing has "countless" such informants across the world, some of whom abduct Uighurs and bring them back to China to camps in Xinjiang, he said.

More than one million Muslims languish in camps in the Xinjiang region as Beijing attempts to forcibly integrate the community and root out its Islamic heritage.

US senators brought forth a resolution on October 27, declaring that the Chinese regime is committing genocide against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.

Global bully

The news from Turkey follows the recent arrest in the United States of eight Chinese agents accused of participating in an operation meant to intimidate opponents of Beijing around the world.

The agents, acting at the direction and under the control of Beijing, conducted surveillance of and engaged in a campaign to harass, stalk and coerce certain residents of the United States in an effort known as "Operation Fox Hunt", the US Justice Department said in an October 28 statement.

In one instance, a Chinese agent and several co-conspirators allegedly targeted an individual's adult daughter for surveillance and online harassment and attempted to hire a private investigator to photograph and video record her as part of a campaign to exert pressure.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping increasingly is employing jingoistic rhetoric during public speeches, while at the same time the Chinese military is becoming more aggressive and making incursions into the territory of other sovereign nations -- a trend that is alarming neighbouring countries, observers and concerned members of the international community.

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