Asia Pasific – Dawat Media Dawat Media Thu, 21 May 2020 21:59:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 China to rewrite Quran, Bible to fit ‘socialist values’ Wed, 25 Dec 2019 20:40:14 +0000 China plans to rewrite all translated “classic religious books” to reflect the socialist values of the Communist Party of China. The order was given during a meeting in November that was organized by the Committee for Ethnic Affairs, which is responsible for all religious matters of the country.

While not directly referring to the Quran and the Bible, the committee plans a comprehensive review of the religious texts, which allegedly “do not conform to the progress of the times” and need to be fitted to the “era of President Xi Jinping.”

The reviewed editions of the text – sutras from Buddhism included – should not be against the principles of the Communist Party and will either be changed or re-translated by state-appointed censors.

In the meeting, a group of experts and representatives gathered to be told that they would need to follow President Xi’s order to interpret their beliefs in accordance with “the core values of Socialism,” Xinhua News Agency reported.

This move comes amid the crackdown on the Muslim Uighur’s that are held in so-called re-education centers. Up to 1 million people have been incarcerated in these centers, according to U.S. officials and U.N. experts. Beijing initially denied the existence of the camps in Xinjiang, but now says they are “vocational training centers” necessary to combat terrorism.



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Muslim women ‘forced to share beds’ with male Chinese officials after husbands detained in internment camps Wed, 06 Nov 2019 23:36:15 +0000 Social media images show the officials attending Uighur weddings, funerals and other occasions once considered intimate and private

By: Chris Baynes

Muslim women whose husbands have been detained in Chinese internment camps are reportedly being forced to share beds with male government officials assigned to monitor them in their homes.

Communist party workers regularly sleep alongside members of persecuted Uighur minority families during surveillance visits that last up to a week, party sources told Radio Free Asia (RFA).

The monitoring forms part of the systematic repression of Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang region, where experts and human rights groups believe more than a million Uighurs – most of them men – have been arbitrarily detained in secretive re-education camps.

Those who are not incarcerated face an increasingly strict security regime which includes armed checkpoints, ID cards, and streets lined with facial recognition cameras.

Since early last year, Uighur families in Xinjiang have been required to invite government officials into their homes, provide them information about their lives and political views, and comply with political indoctrination.

China has deployed more than a million spies – most of them male and part of the country’s Han ethnic majority – to stay in Uighur households every two months as part of what it calls the “Pair Up and Become Family” programme.

During their visits, the officials – who the government describes as “relatives” of the monitored families – work, eat, and often share a bed with their “hosts”, one Communist party officer told RFA.

“They stay with their paired relatives day and night,” said the officer, who oversees 70 to 80 families in Yengisar county and spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Normally one or two people sleep in one bed, and if the weather is cold, three people sleep together,” he added.

The officer described the spies as “helping” the Uighur families “with their ideology, bringing new ideas” and “talk to them about life, during which time they develop feelings for one another”.

He claimed he had “never heard” of any official attempting to take advantage or sexually abuse someone they were staying with, and suggested it was “now considered normal for females to sleep on the same platform with their paired male relatives”.

The government describes the programme as voluntary, but China’s Muslims are well aware that refusing any state initiative can lead to being branded a potential extremist. Social media images show the new “relatives” attending Uighur weddings, funerals and other occasions once considered intimate and private.

The head of a neighbourhood committee in Yengisar confirmed to RFA that male officials regularly slept alongside Uighur women during their stays. He suggested it was considered acceptable for officials to maintain a distance of one metre from their “hosts” at night, and claimed no one had complained about the arrangement.

Human Rights Watch has previously said Uighur families are given no option to refuse the visits, which it said were an an example of “deeply invasive forced assimilation practices” that “not only violate basic rights, but are also likely to foster and deepen resentment in the region”.

“Muslim families across Xinjiang are now literally eating and sleeping under the watchful eye of the state in their own homes,” said Maya Wang, a senior China researcher at the organisation.

Peter Irwin, spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress exile group, told The Independent the programme marked “a perverse step forward” in China’s repression of Muslims.

“What it represents is the complete destruction of the line between private and public life,” he added. “Having Chinese men or Chinese police officials basically staying in their homes is not a new thing, but it’s about keeping tabs on people as closely as possible.

“It’s a programme to eliminate the identity of Uighurs by ensuring that people cannot express themselves.”

Uighur Muslim woman tells Congressional-Executive Commission on China she asked Chinese to kill her whilst in detention camp

Mr Irwin said he did not know if it was Chinese policy for officials to sleep in Uighur families’ beds during monitoring visits but “this has happened in the past, there have been reported cases of it”.

He added: “In any other country or any other place on Earth, we would think this is insane, but in China it just seems like par for the course in terms of what they’ve been doing in the past two or three years.

“Of course, monitoring people, that’s something, but having a policy of perhaps people sleeping in the same beds as people, that’s a perverse step forward that we haven’t seen before.”

China has said the home visits are aimed at “fostering ethnic harmony,” with officials tasked with teaching families Mandarin and Communist Party songs, participating in group activities, and helping out around the house.

The government depicts its wider crackdown on Xinjiang’s Muslims as a “war on terror” launched following a series of alleged extremist attacks in 2014. After initially denying the existence of internment camps, the government later began referring to them as voluntary “vocational training centres”.

But former detainees have alleged that inmates are subjected to torture, medical experiments and gang rape.

Last week the UK joined 22 other countries at the United Nations in condemning Beijing’s persecution of Muslims, calling on China to respect human rights and its citizens’ freedom of religion.




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China Has Begun Moving Xinjiang Muslim Detainees To Formal Prisons, Relatives Say Wed, 09 Oct 2019 13:02:48 +0000

Aibota Zhanibek was born in China and now lives in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Members of her family, who are Muslim ethnic Kazakhs, have been detained in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Emily Feng/NPR

This August, Aibota Zhanibek received a surprising call in Kazakhstan from a relative through Chinese chat app WeChat. It was about her sister, Kunekai Zhanibek.

Aibota, 35, a Kazakh citizen born in China, knew that Kunekai, 33, had been held for about seven months in a detention camp in China’s Shawan county, in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. For six of those months, Kunekai was forced to make towels and carpets for no pay, Aibota says. On the call, Aibota was told that Kunekai had been released and assigned a job in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.

That was the good news. But the relative also told Aibota Zhanibek that her 65-year-old mother, Nurzhada Zhumakhan, had been sentenced in June to 20 years in Urumqi’s No. 2 Women’s Prison. According to a verdict sent to Zhanibek ‘s relatives, Zhumakhan was guilty of “illegally using superstition to break the rule of law” and “gathering chaos to disrupt social order.”

As Muslim Kazakhs, Zhanibek’s mother and sister are among the targets of a sprawling security operation by Chinese authorities. Human rights experts estimate that 1.5 million Uighur Muslims and members of other ethnic minority groups, including Chinese-born Kazakhs, have been detained in Xinjiang since 2016. Former detainees say that while in detention they were forced to memorize Chinese communist propaganda and learn Mandarin and were occasionally violently interrogated or beaten.

The government has said the operations are part of a reeducation campaign and defends its detentions and sophisticated surveillance system across Xinjiang as necessary counterterrorism measures. Senior Xinjiang officials have said that most of those brought to the centers have been returned to society. But reporting suggests that these are not mere vocational training centers and that detentions, surveillance — and worse — continue.

Last month in Kazakhstan, NPR interviewed 26 relatives of ethnic Kazakhs and Uighurs currently detained or imprisoned in Xinjiang and five former detainees. They said that rather than setting free reeducated citizens, the authorities have been transferring many detainees to formal prisons. Those who have been released remain under strict surveillance.

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N.Korean base serves as missile headquarters – think tank Tue, 22 Jan 2019 08:51:22 +0000 One of 20 undeclared ballistic missile operating bases in North Korea serves as a missile headquarters, according to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published on Monday.

“The Sino-ri missile operating base and the Nodong missiles deployed at this location fit into North Korea’s presumed nuclear military strategy by providing an operational-level nuclear or conventional first strike capability,” said the report co-authored by analyst Victor Cha.

The discovery of an undeclared missile headquarters comes three days after US President Donald Trump said he “looks forward” to another summit to discuss denuclearization with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late February.

Kim vowed to work toward denuclearization at his first summit with Trump in June, but there has since been little concrete progress.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CSIS, which last reported on the 20 missile bases in November, said the Sino-ri base has never been declared by North Korea and as a result “does not appear to be the subject of denuclearization negotiations.”

The report said that missile-operating bases would presumably be subject to declaration, verification, and dismantlement in any nuclear deal.

“The North Koreans are not going to negotiate over things they don’t disclose,” said Cha.

“It looks like they’re playing a game. They’re still going to have all this operational capability,” even if they destroy their disclosed nuclear sites.

Located 132 miles (212 km) north of the demilitarized zone, the Sino-ri complex is a seven-square-mile (18-square-km) base that plays a key role in developing ballistic missiles capable of reaching South Korea, Japan, and even the US territory of Guam in the Western Pacific, the report said.

It houses a regiment-sized unit equipped with Nodong-1 medium-range ballistic missiles, the report added.

Satellite images of the base from Dec. 27, 2018 show an entrance to an underground bunker, reinforced shelters and a headquarters, the report said.

In South Korea, the Sino-ri facility has long been known as one of the bases housing the Nodong, also called the Rodong, a medium-range missile based on Soviet-era Scud technology that the North began deploying in the mid-1990s.

“It is a facility we’ve been monitoring with interest, in cooperation with the United States,” Kim Joon-rak, a spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a news briefing on Tuesday.

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North Korea fires ballistic missile towards Japan Wed, 29 Nov 2017 07:50:49 +0000
An undated photo released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 30, 2017 shows a test-fire of a ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea.

North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Wednesday, two US government sources said, a week after President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a US list of countries that it says support terrorism.

Later, the Pentagon said that it had detected a “probable” missile launch from North Korea.

“We detected a probable missile launch from North Korea. We are in the process of assessing the situation and will provide additional details when available,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning told reporters.

He said the probable launch was detected at 1830 GMT.

The missile flew to the east and the South Korean military is analyzing details of the launch with the United States, according to a report from South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

NHK in Japan, citing the defense ministry, reported that the missile may have landed in the water of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

The US source told Reuters no further details were immediately available. Asahi Shimbun in Japan also reported that North Korea had fired a ballistic missile early on Wednesday.

US stocks pared gains after reports of the missile launch. The S&P 500 index was up half a percent in midafternoon.

Two authoritative US government sources said earlier that US government experts believed North Korea could conduct a new missile test within days, in what would be its first launch since it fired a missile over Japan in mid-September.

The US officials declined to say what type of missile they thought North Korea might test, but noted that Pyongyang had been working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States and had already tested inter-continental ballistic missiles.

After firing missiles at a rate of about two or three a month since April, North Korea paused its missile launches in late September, after it fired a missile that passed over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island on Sept. 15.

Last week, North Korea denounced Trump’s decision to relist it as a state sponsor of terrorism, calling it a “serious provocation and violent infringement.”

The designation allows the United States to impose more sanctions, though some experts said it risked inflaming tensions.

Trump has traded insults and threats with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and warned in his maiden speech to the United Nations in September that the United States would have no choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.

Washington has said repeatedly that all options are on the table in dealing with North Korea, including military ones, but that it prefers a peaceful solution by Pyongyang agreeing to give up its nuclear and missile programs.

To this end, Trump has pursued a policy of encouraging countries around the world, including North Korea’s main ally and neighbor, China, to step up sanctions on Pyongyang to persuade it to give up its weapons programs.

North Korea has given no indication it is willing to re-enter dialogue on those terms.

North Korea defends its weapons programs as a necessary defense against US plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, denies any such intention.

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Chinese Muslims told ‘hand over Qur’ans and prayer mats or face harsh punishment’ Fri, 29 Sep 2017 18:50:59 +0000 DUBAI: The Chinese government has launched a crackdown on Muslims in the Xinjiang territory in northwestern China – ordering copies of the Qur’an and prayer mats be handed over, or face harsh punishment, Radio Free Asia has reported.
Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the human rights group, the World Uyghur Congress said people in several regions had been notified that all Uyghur people must hand over all religious items related to Islam – including copies of the Qur’an and prayer mats.
The information was also broadcast across social media network WeChat, instructing people to hand the items in to government authorities.
The government has targeted Qur’ans in the region for the last five years because it is claimed the holy book contains “extremist content.”
The clampdown is part of the “Three Illegals and One Item” campaign targeting what the Chinese government considers “illegal” religious items owned by mostly Muslim Uyghurs.
The Uyghur Human Rights Project Director Omer Kanat said: “The new religious regulations demonstrate how Xi Jinping’s administration is founded on division. In Xi’s China loyalty is demanded and not earned. Ethnic minorities, dissidents and people of faith present a challenge to Beijing’s vision of unquestioned allegiance to the state. If these groups do not fall into line, their vilification creates a convenient scapegoat for a morally compromised government.”
Muslims are being told to hand over the religious items “voluntarily” to authorities, if any are found in searches then offenders will face harsh punishments.


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China sparks human rights outcry by ramping up DNA testing in Muslim-dominated region Sat, 20 May 2017 12:45:48 +0000



Police in Xinjiang purchase $8.7m of equipment to analyse genetic material from citizens, prompting fears of state security crackdown

China appears to be laying the groundwork for the mass collection of DNA samples from residents of a restive, largely Muslim region that’s been under a security crackdown, rights observers and independent experts said Tuesday.

Police in western China’s Xinjiang region confirmed to The Associated Press that they are in the process of purchasing at least $8.7 million in equipment to analyse DNA samples.

Observers from Human Rights Watch said they’ve seen evidence of almost $3 million in additional purchases related to DNA testing. They warned such a collection programme could be used as a way for authorities to beef up their political control.

The move comes after Chinese authorities last year reportedly required Xinjiang residents to submit DNA samples, fingerprints and voice records to obtain passports or travel abroad.

​Xinjiang borders several unstable Central Asian countries, including Afghanistan. It’s experienced numerous bombings and vehicle and knife attacks blamed on ethnic separatists from the native Uighur Islamic minority.

In one of the most recent attacks, eight people, including three assailants, were killed in a February knife attack in southern Xinjiang’s Pishan County, which borders Pakistan.

The purchases of DNA testing equipment in Xinjiang were confirmed by an official at the regional Public Security Bureau. The official, who gave only her surname, Huang, said a supplier already had been found. In Xinjiang’s Sheche County, suppliers were being sought for voiceprint collection systems and 3-D portrait systems, according to a security official surnamed Yin, who declined to give further details.

If used at full capacity, the new equipment could be used to profile up to 10,000 DNA samples a day and several million a year, said Yves Moreau, a computational biologist specialising in genome analysis and DNA privacy at the University of Leuven in Belgium.

The scale of the purchases raises “a legitimate concern that Chinese authorities could be planning to DNA profile a large fraction, or even all” of the Uighur people in Xinjiang, Moreau said.

Since it started collecting DNA profiles in 1989, China has amassed the unique genetic information on more than 40 million people, constituting the world’s largest DNA database, according to a study last year by forensic researchers at the China Ministry of Public Security.

Unlike many other countries, China lacks legal protections to guard people’s privacy and prevent their genetic information from being misused, said Helen Wallace, founder of the British group GeneWatch.

“Xinjiang is already an oppressive region with a high level of surveillance,” said Human Rights Watch researcher Maya Wang. “To collect even more information on a mass scale unrelated to criminal investigation opens the door for an even greater level of surveillance and control.”

Government-sponsored DNA databases compile the genetic markers present in each individual, typically from blood, saliva or hair samples. They’re used by law enforcement agencies around the globe as evidence in criminal prosecutions and to monitor prior offenders.

In the United States, where laws generally limit DNA collection to people who have been arrested, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has 12.8 million offenders in its DNA database, according to the agency. That’s almost 4 percent of the total US population. The United Kingdom has 5.2 million people in its database, or about 8 percent of its population, according the British government.

“It’s clear there’s a fairly large infrastructure being built for DNA collection and they’re planning to expand that further,” Wallace said. “I would like to see China put their legal database on clear legal footing. That includes the kinds of safeguards we see in other countries.”

Copyright Associated Press

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China’s Xi praises normalisation of ties with Norway Mon, 10 Apr 2017 18:31:49 +0000 Photo: Heiko Junge/NTB scanpix
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday praised the normalisation of relations with Norway, six years after a dispute over the Nobel Peace Prize, as Norway’s prime minister said she was glad to be back.

The visit by Erna Solberg is the first high-level exchange since December, when the two countries normalised ties that soured after the Oslo-based Nobel Committee awarded the 2010 Peace Prize to the still-imprisoned Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo.

Solberg’s visit, the first to China by a Norwegian prime minister for a decade, began Friday and will end Tuesday.

“Your visit this time holds a lot of significance,” Xi told her at a meeting in the Great Hall of the People.

He noted that Norway had been one of the first Western countries to recognise the People’s Republic of China, and one of the earliest to recognise its status as a market economy.

Solberg said she was “delighted to be back” in China and Norway’s king was also happy to accept Xi’s invitation to visit in the autumn of 2018.

On Friday she met Premier Li Keqiang, signing numerous cooperation documents including an agreement to resume negotiations on a free trade pact.

Liu Xiaobo was sentenced in 2009 to 11 years in jail for “subversion”, after he co-wrote a text calling for democracy in China. His wife Liu Xia remains under house arrest.

Diplomatic relations and trade talks were frozen after Liu was given his Nobel. Norway’s salmon industry suffered as exports to China were halted.

Exchanges only resumed last December after Norway pledged its commitment to the one-China policy and respect for China’s territorial integrity.

The Western media often blamed China for “converting its economic power into strategic influence”, but cooperating on economic goals was ultimately more beneficial than clashing over human rights issues, an editorial in the Global Times newspaper, which often takes a nationalistic tone, said Monday.


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Philippine lawmaker calls for President Duterte’s impeachment Thu, 16 Mar 2017 11:13:29 +0000 Reuters, Manila

An opposition lawmaker filed an impeachment complaint in the Philippine Congress on Thursday against President Rodrigo Duterte, calling for his removal for what he said were high crimes, betrayal of public trust and abuse of power.

Lower house representative Gary Alejano accused Duterte of a laundry list of offences he said were worthy of impeachment, from concealing assets and conflicts of interest to drugs-related extrajudicial killings and running an alleged “death squad” when he was Davao City mayor.

Duterte has rejected similar allegations levelled at him in the past. His spokesman on Thursday said Alejano was trying to create doubts among the public about the administration. Alejano said his aim was to give Filipinos a chance to speak up against a powerful president.

“Our goal with this complaint is to be a vehicle for Filipinos to have a voice to oppose and fight against the abuses and crimes of President Duterte,” Alejano told a televised news conference.

“We know it’s an uphill battle … but we believe that many will support this complaint.”He said Duterte’s actions were a “culpable violation of the constitution, engaging in bribery, betrayal of public trust, graft and corruption and other high crimes”.

Alejano accused Duterte of having a state policy of killing drug offenders. Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the complaint was part of a wider plot by opponents to undermine the Duterte administration.

“It seems rather dramatic that everything seems to be so coordinated at this stage,” Abella told reporters. “It looks like they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel.”

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