Chinese authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have detained around 10 ethnic minority Kazakhs for “having close ties” with a group of Muslim ethnic minority Uyghurs, local sources said.
The Kazakhs were detained on June 10 by the Dushanzi district state security police in Xinjiang’s Karamay city, a local resident said, naming two detainees as Halibyat Baimullah, 47, and Kanjitai Dushan, 49.
They were accused of cultivating “close ties” with a group of Muslim Uyghurs for prayer, the source told Radio Free Asia (RFA).
“The police detained a lot of people; a whole minibus was completely full,” the source told RFA in a recent interview.
“They were like, why are you on such good terms with the Uyghurs,” he said.
He said the authorities have imposed strict controls on Muslims in Xinjiang during the traditional Ramadan month of dawn-to-dusk fasting.
“When it gets to be lunchtime during Ramadan, they get all of the Muslim employees together in their workplace and force them to eat,” the source said. “But Muslims aren’t supposed to eat lunch during Ramadan.”
China’s Kazakh ethnic minority, many of whom are Muslims, have recently been targeted in a similar manner to the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group, with a slew of restrictions preventing them from moving freely between China and neighboring Kazakhstan, regional sources have told RFA.
Last week, authorities in the regional capital Urumqi forced ethnic minority state employees and members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party to swear a mass oath of loyalty, state media reported on June 14.
State employees and party officials are banned from any form of religious belief under the atheist Communist Party, and have previously reported being forced to eat during Ramadan to confirm their loyalty to Beijing.