Police in China’s XUAR Question Uyghurs For Attending Eid Prayers Without PermissionJuly 30, 2021
Police in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region took in for questioning more than 170 Uyghurs who attended prayer services without permission from authorities during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holy days, a senior police officer said.
Authorities in Aykol township of Aksu city (in Chinese, Akesu) city allowed only Uyghurs over the age of 50 to participate in worship services during the holiday on July 20-23, the officer from the district’s police station told RFA last week.
The senior police officer in Aykol told RFA that more than 170 Uyghurs accused of violating regulations regarding Eid prayers are currently being held in custody, though he said he could not comment on their whereabouts or whether they were being detained in “re-education” camps or detention centers.
Township residents said that authorities had taken “many neighbors” in for interrogations, but could not provide an estimate.
Authorities also conducted street patrols, raids of shops, and home searches as measures to control Uyghurs’ actions during the Muslim holy days, said the police officer.
Following this year’s Eid prayers in Aksu, police checked the identification cards and searched the homes of those who attended prayer services to verify that they were over 50 years old, said an Aykol resident who declined to be named for safety reasons.
Those whose IDs contained birth date discrepancies as well as Uyghurs that the police suspected of lying about their age were hauled in to the police station for questioning, the person said.
Local police did not go to the mosque themselves to investigate those attending prayer services, and instead used neighborhood spies who serve as the heads of units comprising 10 households each to learn whether some people had prayed secretly at home, other residents said.