Database Entry: “Like We Were Enemies in a War": China's Mass Internment, Torture, and Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang
Surveillance Restrictions on movement Civilian Informants

“Like We Were Enemies in a War": China's Mass Internment, Torture, and Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang

June 11, 2021
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Once detainees fulfilled the necessary conditions, they were permitted to return to their homes; however, they had to do so under strict conditions limiting their movements and associations.

All former detainees Amnesty International interviewed said they were placed under both electronic and in-person surveillance and subjected to regular evaluations from government employees and cadres. Yerkinbek, who worked with several former detainees after they were released from camps, told Amnesty that government officials used to show up regularly at his workplace and question his ex-detainee colleagues.

Family members of detainees also faced additional restrictions on their rights during and after the release of their detained relative. These restrictions included being subjected to additional surveillance, having their houses searched, and having their movements further curtailed.580 Ibrahim told Amnesty he found out how his family’s freedoms had been curtailed while he was in the camp: “While I was in camp, I thought my family had freedom, but I learned that they were under house arrest. They had to ask permission to move… A cadre was consistently visiting their house… There was a camera in the street [in front of their house],” he said.

Many former detainees also reported being ostracized by their friends, family, and communities after their release. Patigül told Amnesty that the social ostracization was a significant reason why he ultimately left China:
The reason I decided to come back [to Kazakhstan] was because after I was designated a ‘dangerous person’, even my friends and family were avoiding me. Everyone was trying to exclude me, even from social gatherings… And security people kept asking me questions. And [so did] the head of the unit where I worked… Although I never committed a crime, they considered me a criminal.