China Keeping Records on Muslims

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China Keeping Records on Muslims
Short Title China Collects and Analyzes Personal Information on Muslims in Order to Identify Unpatriotic Behavior
Location China
Date February 2020

Solove Harm Surveillance, Exclusion, Decisional Interference, Aggregation
Information Identifying, Behavioral, Family, Social Network, Knowledge and Belief, Professional
Threat Actors Chinese government

Affected Chinese Muslims
High Risk Groups Religious Minority, Ethnic Minority
Tangible Harms Anxiety, Changed Behavior, Incarceration, Loss of Knowledge

China was found to be collecting and analyzing large amount of personal information on Chinese Muslims Uyghurs in order to identify who's behavior is potentially unpatriotic.


China’s vast western region of Xinjiang has for centuries been home to a large population of predominantly Muslim ethnic groups, the largest of which is the Uyghur.

In 2019 Chinese government appeared to have a strategic campaign to strip Muslim-majority Uyghurs of their cultural and religious identity and suppress behavior considered to be unpatriotic.

Hundreds of government reports that were collected on people in order to target potential extremists, have been leaked to journalists by a patchwork of exiled Uyghur activists. These documents reveal records that the government collects in order to surveil cultural and religious identities of people.

One woman told the media she couldn’t sleep or eat for days after she read the detailed records the Chinese government had been keeping on her entire family. They had no way of knowing about these records, so it can be seen as Exclusion.

In this document there was also information about this woman’s sister, who appeared to be in detention center for “violation of family planning policy”. China’s two-child policy is an example of Decisional Interference.

The leaked document appears to be a compilation of 667 records and in total they represent 311 individuals who were sent to detention centers.

The leaked evaluations contain detailed reports on each of the detained residents and their families, including not only their national ID numbers and occupations, but descriptions of their neighbors and rigorous assessments of their daily religious activity, as well as their jobs, their religious activity, their trustworthiness and their level of cooperation with the authorities.

These elements are referred to in the document as the Three Circles -- family, social and religious associations. Based on these evaluations, each record also contains an official judgment on whether the detainee should be allowed to leave their camp. This is an example of Aggregation

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