Uighurs de­ported from Thai­land re­main de­tained

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Main­land Chi­nese state media say mi­nor­ity Mus­lim Uighurs de­ported from Thai­land to China re­main in de­ten­tion while author­i­ties in­ves­ti­gate whether some planned to join the Is­lamic State or other groups in the Mid­dle East.

The re­ports Wed­nes­day also said some of the 109 Uighurs fought with Thai and main­land Chi­nese po­lice as they were be­ing put on a flight back to China last month out of fear they would be ex­e­cuted.

The July 9 repa­tri­a­tions were heav­ily crit­i­cized by the U.N. refugee agency, the United States and oth­ers. In Tur­key, protesters ran­sacked the Thai Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul.

The Global Times news­pa­per said many had planned to travel from Thai­land to Tur­key and may have ended up fight­ing in neigh­bor­ing Iraq or Syria. Po­lice said they sus­pect 13 had ter­ror­ist links. The re­ports did not say why the oth­ers re­mained de­tained al­most a month af­ter be­ing sent back to China.

Uighurs share strong lin­guis­tic, cul­tural and re­li­gious ties with Turks and are na­tive to China’s far western Xin­jiang re­gion. The group has com­plained of harsh cul­tural and re­li­gious sup­pres­sion as well as eco­nomic marginal­iza­tion un­der main­land Chi­nese rule.

The Global Times, pub­lished by main­land China’s rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party’s flag­ship Peo­ple’s Daily, based its re­port on what it said were in­ter­views with some of the group con­ducted by the Xin­jiang Daily news­pa­per.

It said some among the group had been en­cour­aged by friends and rel­a­tives to take up ji­had abroad.

“I was told that if I don’t join ji­had I will go to hell, while a mar­tyr of ji­had will go to heaven,” it quoted one of the Uighurs, iden­ti­fied only as Ab­bas, as say­ing. “And I wanted to go to heaven.”

It said they sold prop­erty and paid thou­sands of dol­lars to smug­glers to leave China for South­east Asian na­tions where they would tell author­i­ties they were Turk­ish. Turk­ish diplo­mats would then is­sue them pass­ports, al­low­ing them to travel on to Tur­key.

Thai of­fi­cials have been per­mit­ted to visit mem­bers of the group in Xin­jiang and told re­porters they found con­di­tions in their de­ten­tion cen­ter to be good.

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