More than 1,500 Uyghurs have been arrested or extradited in Arab countries.
Many of China's Muslims of the Uyghur minority escaped the oppression of their government and decided to reside in Arab countries. However, since 2017, the Arab regimes have repeatedly attempted to extradite them to Beijing.
The American network, NBC News, revealed the secret on April 25, 2022, confirming that the Beijing government provided “gifts” to Arab regimes in the form of projects and economic benefits in exchange for a position against the Uyghur minority.
It emphasized that the Chinese authorities, in order to suppress the Muslim Uyghur minority, are intensifying cooperation with the governments of Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE, whether to arrest them or to cooperate in defending China against international criticism over the persecution of its Muslims.
Simultaneously, the Kissinger Institute for Chinese-American Affairs of the Woodrow Wilson Center released a study entitled The Great Wall of Steel that revealed unprecedented details about the extent of Arab governments' complicity with China to deport Uyghurs.
The study showed that more than 1,500 Uyghurs in Arab countries were arrested or extradited, or forced to return to China to face detention and torture.
It said that Beijing targeted more than 5,500 Uyghurs outside China in Arab and Middle Eastern countries with cyber-attacks to spy on them and threaten their family members residing at home, with the complicity of Arab governments as well.
Since 1949, Beijing has controlled the territory of East Turkestan, which is the homeland of the Muslim Uyghur Turks, and called it Xinjiang, meaning "the new frontier".
Official statistics indicate that there are 30 million Muslims in the country, 23 million of whom are Uyghurs, while unofficial reports confirm that the number of Muslims is about 100 million, or about 9.5 percent of the total population.
In 2017, the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang began a campaign to arrest Muslim women and men from the Uyghur, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz ethnic minorities and detain them in camps designed under the pretext of " ridding them of terrorist and extremist tendencies," according to China’s claim.
Between one and two million Uyghurs and members of other minorities from Xinjiang are believed to be held in the camps, where they are forced to study Marxism, renounce their religion, work in factories, and face abuse, according to human rights groups.
'Gifts' and Complicity
NBC News issued a study entitled the Great Steel Wall in 2022, researchers identified several reasons for the complicity of Arab regimes with Beijing in the suppression of China's Muslims.
The Great Steel Wall report chronicles the efforts of the Chinese Ministry of State Security to harass, detain, and extradite Uyghurs from around the world, and the cooperation it receives from Arab governments in the Middle East and North Africa in unprecedented detail.
The author of the report, Bradley Jardine, of the Kissinger Institute of the Wilson Center, says that these gifts are Chinese projects in Arab countries, including Egypt, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia, with billions of dollars, and their goal is to facilitate trade between China and the Arabs.
Scholar Adrian Zenz, who has studied China's systematic oppression of the Uyghurs, explained that Beijing uses its economic influence and "gifts" in the form of infrastructure projects.
These projects are represented by the Belt and Road Initiative, and they benefit Arab and Islamic countries that sympathize with the Uyghur crisis and put pressure on them as well.
He stressed that "the Chinese are afraid of the opinion of Muslim peoples regarding their treatment of the Uyghurs, and they have made exceptional efforts to influence the governments of those countries and their public opinion."
The researcher Jardine, who is also director of research at the Oxus Association for Central Asian Affairs, wrote in Time magazine on March 24, 2022, that "the Arab world is not only silent about the Chinese oppression of the Uyghurs, but it is complicit."
He asserted that Arab countries actively help Beijing in justifying abuses and retaliation against the Uyghurs and that at least six governments in the Arab world: Egypt, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the UAE have detained and extradited Chinese Muslims to Beijing.
Torture and Murder
The Oxus Association says: "The Egyptian police arrested more than 200 Chinese Muslims from their homes, restaurants, mosques and even airports, most of them students at al-Azhar University, and a large number were transferred to the notorious Tora and Scorpion prisons."
It asserted, in a report entitled: Beyond the Silence: Cooperation between Arab Countries and China in the Cross-Border Repression of the Uyghurs, that Chinese detainees in Egypt assured that Chinese intelligence officers interrogated them inside Egyptian prisons.
"The Uyghurs who fled the crackdown in Egypt believed that al-Azhar University would protect them, but they were "surprised" when the police arrested them and revealed that it had killed two Uyghur students in custody and deported 76 of them to China," according to the association.
According to a report by NBC News, in 2017, the Egyptian police arrested Uyghur students at a university in Cairo and deported them to China and other places in the Middle East.
On June 19, 2017, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior signed an agreement with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, during the visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi to Beijing to attend the BRICS summit focused on "fighting terrorism and security cooperation between the two countries", without details.
The agreement was followed by a campaign by the Egyptian security services against Muslim students from East Turkestan in China (the Uyghurs) who are studying at al-Azhar or residing in Egypt for fear of returning to their country and being subjected to torture.
Omer Kanat, an activist of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, said that "the Egyptian authorities are forcing the students to sign documents stating that they belong to extremist groups at the request of the Chinese government, which accused them of terrorism, with the aim of justifying their deportation to China," according to a statement published in June 2017.
The news was also confirmed by the New York Times on July 6, 2017, confirming that 12 of these students had already been deported to China and that 22 others were awaiting deportation, as it quoted three Egyptian aviation officials at the time.
Reports by NBC News, the study of the Great Steel Wall, and Time magazine confirm that China's Muslims were not spared from arrest, even on the pilgrimage, which turned into a trap for them, as Saudi Arabia arrested an Uyghur coming to it.
In the report published in Time magazine, Bradley Jardine pointed out that the Chinese intelligence services used the pilgrimage to lure fugitive Uyghurs residing in Europe, and deport them to China with the complicity of the Saudi government.
Such as the arrest of the Uyghur Osman Ahmed Tohti, after he came for Hajj in 2018 from Turkey, where he resides legally.
The UAE, which has strong relations with China, also played a role in the arrest of Uyghurs and was described as a "regional intelligence center for the Chinese security services."
It was reported that Chinese Muslims residing in the Netherlands were lured to Dubai and their families in Xinjiang were pressured to ensure their compliance in cooperating with Chinese intelligence to spy on Chinese Muslims abroad.
Saudi Arabia appears on China's list of "suspicious" countries to which the Uyghurs travel, "and the kingdom has increasingly cooperated with Beijing," according to the American network, NBC News.
It confirmed that the Saudi authorities had deported at least six Uyghurs to China in the past four years who were performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca or entered the country legally, according to the report.