New UHRP report on Chinese transnational repression of Uyghurs in Arab states

by Anne Kader

Image: Pixabay



By Tess Langbroek



Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and ‘Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs’ have published a new report. It is titled “Beyond Silence Collaboration: Between the Arab States and China in the Transnational Repression of Uyghurs”.


Chinese transnational repression of Uyghurs now extends to Arab countries previously deemed safe for Uyghurs. According to the UHRP dataset, an estimated 292 Uyghurs have been detained or deported from Arab states at China’s request since 2001.


In 2017 two hundred Uyghur students at Al-Azhar University in Cairo were rounded up in Egypt. At least 45 of them were deported to China. Interview notes also suggest that Chinese police were present in Egypt during interrogations. 


At least six Arab states—Egypt, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—have participated in the transcontinental repression by China, the report reveals


China uses five ways of transnational repression to target Uyghurs in Arab states: 

1) Transnational digital surveillance 

2) Global War on Terror narrative, which serves as justification for detention.  

3) Institutions of Islamic education 

4) the Hajj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia 

5) Denial of travel documents to Uyghurs in Arab states


The latest Chinese effort to coax the Arab and other Muslim majority nations on its side was for the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to attend the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Conference in Pakistan last week.

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