- A Chinese landlord was arrested on terror charges for renting out his home to ethnic minority Uighurs.
- The landlord was arrested under the country’s counter-terrorism law, which took effect in early 2016.
- And while the law makes no mention of prohibitions against renting property to Uighurs, the minority group is often racially profiled, and is subjected to some of the strictest surveillance measures in the world.
A Chinese landlord was arrested on terror charges for renting out his home to ethnic Uighurs, as the government continues to expand its surveillance of members of the minority group.
Police in central China’s Henan province arrested a Han Chinese man who had privately rented out his home in Zhenping county to three Uighur bread-sellers, according to a notice released by the Zhenping county police obtained by Radio Free Asia.
Police were tipped off about the living arrangement. The landlord was later arrested.
“This act is identified as a violation of Article 91 of the Counter-Terrorism Law of the People’s Republic of China,” the notice said of the incident that occurred earlier this month.
The three Uighur men were urged to quickly return to their homes in the autonomous Xinjiang region in northern China, home to over 11 million mostly-Muslim Uighur residents.
The landlord was arrested as a counter-terror measure under the country’s counter-terrorism law, which took effect in early 2016. The law punishes “refusal to cooperate” with agencies enforcing precautionary measures against what the country deems threats of terror, and carries a fine of $US290 to $US1,400 and up to 15 days in jail.
And while the law makes no mention of prohibitions against renting property to Uighurs, the minority group is often racially profiled, and is subjected to some of the world’s strictest surveillance measures.
China restricts Uighur movements
The government has been closely monitoring the movements of the minority group, and the group regularly faces restrictions based on their ethnicity.
According to the World Uyghur Congress, a rights organisation comprised of exiled Uighurs, the group is regularly banned from staying at hotels or other forms of accommodation.
During the 19th Party Congress, where members of the Communist Party meet in Beijing to elect delegates, Uighurs were forbidden from staying in the capital due to “security concerns,” WUC said, and at least one hotel in southern province of Guangdong was fined for hosting a Muslim Uighur guest.
Uighurs were similarly banned in 2002, and Uighurs have previously been placed on security watch lists when they try to check into hotels in major cities during intensified security periods.
And it’s not only their movements inside the country that are heavily surveilled.
The Chinese government has demanded Xinjiang residents both inside and outside the country to hand over their passports.
A young Uighur man studying at a university outside of Xinjiang told Radio Free Asia that the government’s crackdown on Uighur passports prompted him to flee the country.
“As soon as they imposed the collection process, I made the decision to leave-I gave up everything that I had in China,” he said.
China also appears to be compiling a database of all its Uighurs living in the country and abroad as the plight of the minority group has gained global attention.
Earlier this month, a UN panel said it was “deeply concerned” by China’s arbitrary detention of up to 1 million Uighurs in detention centres called “re-education camps.” But China continues to deny the existence of these camps, despite growing witness testimony and surveillance footage of the centres.
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