The Chinese government assigns men as “relatives” to monitor the families of detained Muslim Uighur men in China’s Xinjiang province in order to “promote ethnic unity,” according to a report from Radio Free Asia.
Titled the “Pair up and Become Family” program, the initiative involves Uighurs opening their homes for weeks at a time to Communist officials, who work, eat, and even sleep with the family.
“They help [the families] with their ideology, bringing new ideas. They talk to them about life, during which time they develop feelings for one another,” a government source with intimate knowledge of the program told Radio Free Asia.
“We also try to help them to make proper [sleeping] arrangements . . . it is now considered normal for females to sleep on the same platform with their paired male ‘relatives.’”
In Xinjiang province, the Chinese Communist Party overtly discriminates against the Uighurs, denying them the right to worship and surveilling them with phone-tracking and face-scanning technology. Roughly one million Uighurs are held in camps that the government calls “free hospital treatment for the masses with sick thinking,” from which accounts of attempted political indoctrination and torture have emerged.
Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced visa restrictions on Chinese officials believed to participate in the repression of the Uighurs.
U.S. corporations have been mostly silent on the treatment of the Uighurs. The NBA, which was at the center of a major controversy over U.S.-China relations last month, recently removed details from its website of an NBA development academy which is housed in Xinjiang, but has not commented publicly as to whether the site is closed.
In October, Disney CEO Robert Iger told the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference that “to take a position [on China] that could harm our company in some form would be a big mistake.”