Chinese authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have detained more than 50 members of the Kazakh ethnic group after they watched video of a world-class boxing match featuring welterweight Kanat Islam, sources told RFA on Thursday.
Those detained had all received and viewed the video, which had been banned by the ruling Chinese Communist Party amid a crackdown on ethnic Kazakhs migrating to neighboring Kazakhstan or maintaining family or cultural ties there.
Kanat Islam, who formerly held a Chinese passport, was a bronze welterweight medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as well as the 2006 Asian Games. He became a citizen of Kazakhstan in 2011.
Chinese police in Xinjiang’s regional capital Urumqi have detained “more than 50” ethnic Kazakhs for viewing the video since Sept. 10, sources said. Many were hotel guests.
A further five Kazakhs were detained in Kanat’s home county of Habahe, and are being held at an unknown location.
“They didn’t even use circumvention software to get around the Great Firewall,” the Urumqi source said. “They viewed footage live-streamed from the scene of the boxing match via the WeChat app by people in the crowd.”
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Reported by Qiao Long for RFA’s Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.
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