Long arm of China reaches Uighurs in Turkey -- Independent
China's crackdown on Uighurs is reaching further beyond its borders, as Chinese operatives intimidate and blackmail members of the ethnic group across Europe, and particularly in Turkey, in an effort to pressure them into serving as intelligence assets and sow friction and mistrust, The Independent reported on Sunday.
Eysa thought he had finally escaped the Chinese security services that had pressed him into serving as a spy against his own community and turned his life into a living hell. He had moved himself and his family to Turkey, and begun to carve a new life out among the many Uighurs seeking refuge in a country with a similar language and religion.
Then the 36-year-old began receiving messages on his phone from the Chinese security official who had pressed him into spying for Beijing, according to the U.K. news outlet.
“You think you’re safe in Turkey. But what about your brothers and in-laws?” the interrogator asked in a recording on Eysa's phone. "If we torture them it’s on you. Think about that. We are very powerful and we can reach you wherever you are.”
Human rights advocates have raised alarms about China's treatment of its Turkic language-speaking Uighur minority, with as many as a million held in re-education camps in western Xinjiang province, according to the United Nations.
But increasingly, even Uighurs who make it abroad are persecuted and pressured by Beijing, with the bulk of this suffering shouldered by Turkey's sizable Uighur community, according to The Independent.
Despite criticising China's Uighur crackdown in the past, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has remained silent on the issue in recent months, likely looking to avoid offending Beijing during a time of economic crisis.