China Reports Arrests of Uyghurs, Han Chinese For Sharing ‘Extremist’ Content

Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China

Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China. Image: Wikimedia.

Chinese authorities in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have detained 15 individuals accused of spreading “extremist and illegal” content online following tips handed in by informers, Chinese state media said on Thursday.

Suspects taken into custody include both ethnic Uyghur and Han Chinese, the Global Times newspaper said in a May 10 report, citing an article published on the WeChat account of Xinjiang’s Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center, with arrests said only to have been made “recently.”

The 15, including six Uyghurs, seven Han Chinese, and two of unidentified ethnicity, were detained in 11 separate cases, a government website said.

One of those detained, a 46-year-old Uyghur resident of Karamay city identified only by the initial A, was picked up after storing content described as “terrorist”-related on audio files, while an ethnic Han Chinese surnamed Chen was detained for carrying similar content on his cell phone, the Times said in its report.

A third suspect, also a Han, was “punished” for spreading rumors in April that a riot was under way in Xinjiang’s Hotan City and that the city was in “a state of siege,” the paper said, adding that other internet users had alerted police to the postings, prompting investigations that had led to the arrests.

Cell phone content and postings on social media are now frequently checked in Xinjiang, with Uyghurs forced to install surveillance applications on their mobile devices to track their online activity, sources say.

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Reported and translated by Alim Seytoff for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Copyright © 1998-2018, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.

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