Chinese government targets Uyghur children with ‘pomegranate flower’ policyOctober 21, 2021
The Chinese government is pairing up ethnic majority Han Chinese youths with Uyghur children in the latest phase of a coercive surveillance and assimilation program that Uyghurs say shows Beijing’s genocidal intent toward the Muslim minority in the far-western Xinjiang region.
The “Pomegranate Flower” policy, unveiled by state media last month, comes on the heels of a widely resented program that sent 1.2 million Han civil servants to live with and monitor Uyghur families in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
Under the program targeting children, state-assigned Han “relatives” from across China will contact Uyghur youngsters by phone and visits to the XUAR, the report said.
According to a report published on Sept. 11 on Tengritagh (Tianshan), the official website of the XUAR government, toddlers and primary school pupils in one village in Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) prefecture voted to “realize the objective of becoming family” with Han youths from all over China.
In just over a week, nearly 40 children in one village, including one-year-old Mahliya Mahmut, were matched up with 36 pairs of Pomegranate Flower “relatives” from some 30 cities across 13 provinces, regions, and municipalities in China, Tengritagh said.
Many Uyghurs had already spoken by phone with their assigned “families” in other Chinese provinces, who in turn were planning to go to Xinjiang to visit their children, the report said.
But the report did not explain why toddlers or preschool-age children needed to be matched with Han family members or where their own parents were.