Chinese men assigned to monitor the homes of Uighur Muslim women whose husbands were sent to prison camps frequently sleep in the same beds as them, Radio Free Asia reported last week.
It appears to be another facet of the Communist Party’s hardline campaign against the mostly-Muslim Uighur people in their home region of Xinjiang, in western China, over the past two years.
Beijing sees all Uighur people as terrorists and has used Islamophobia to justify its actions in the past.
Authorities have detained at least 1 million Uighurs in prison-like camps, euphemistically called “re-education centers.” Activists have likened the campaign to ethnic cleansing.
Since 2017, China has run a “Pair Up and Become Family” program in the region, in which Communist Party officials who are Han Chinese — the ethnic group that makes up most of China’s population — stay in Uighur homes.
The program is to “promote ethnic unity,” officials say, but it also lets the government keep a close eye on the Uighurs.
Those officials, who are mostly men, typically stay for up to six days at each Uighur household, many of which have male family members in detention.
Normally one or two people sleep in one bed, and if the weather is cold, three people sleep together,” and that “it is now considered normal for females to sleep on the same platform with their paired male ‘relatives.