Health

Extended COVID lockdowns in Uyghur homeland


 

 

By Anne Kader

 

 

There have been extended COVID-19 lockdowns in the Uyghurs' homeland from the beginning of August. The first outbreak in the area was reported on July 31. 

 

The authorities have divided the affected areas into high-, medium- and low-risk zones. 

 

Now that weeks have passed, video material on Chinese Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok) has started to surface, showing the plight of starving Uyghurs that have run out of groceries. The government's strict zero COVID policy does not even allow food deliveries even at payment.

 

One such video describes a mother and her young daughter being taken to an unfinished apartment in an unknown location where no one had previously lived. The surfaces were plain concrete. She said they spent time huddling together, eating instant noodles, and reading books.

 

Some appeared "luckier": They received meals, alas, that turned out to be pork, a food item Muslims do not eat. Some presume the authorities conducted it as a "test" to see if the locked-in families still harbor "extremist ideologies." 

 

Many are worried that the new lockdowns serve the already strict surveillance of Uyghurs. "In Kashgar, Uyghurs are queuing at checkpoints, but now they scan the Covid QR codes, not the IDs. Previously, Uyghurs got arrested according to a record on IJOP (integrated joint operation platform) that matched their ID. Now the authorities stop them according to their QR code", Abduweli Ayup tweets.

 

The screening process also appears to be discriminatory: Only Uyghurs are targeted.

 

"We had to go to a quarantine location because they said that a Chinese person traced to an infected person had earlier come into our building," an anonymous Uyghur said. "The next morning, we found out that the quarantine location we were, is an internment facility for reeducation.", VOA News reports.

 

Uyghur Times approached the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, for a comment to find out what steps the Chinese government is taking to ensure the security and lifeline of the people under lockdown in their homes? We did not receive a reply.