FBI Warns PRC Targeting US-based UyghursBy Donald Maye, Published Sep 02, 2021, 08:57am EDT
US-based Uyghurs face threats and harassment from PRC authorities, according to a recently unclassified August 2021 FBI counterterrorism bulletin that IPVM obtained. The FBI warned such targeting violates US laws, yet continues “even as the US government (USG) has sanctioned Chinese officials."
This shows growing interest by the US government to counteract the human rights abuses occurring, adding to surveillance manufacturers Dahua and Hikvision being sanctioned in October 2019.
PRC Targeting US-based Individuals
The FBI bulletin included warnings to Uyghurs and other Chinese refugees and dissidents, including Tibetans, Falun Gong members, and Taiwan and Hong Kong activists. The FBI said these groups face in-person and digital targeting designed to "silence dissent, issue instructions, collect information, and compel compliance."
IPVM has reported extensively on PRC manufacturers' use of surveillance technology to target Uyghurs in China. Moreover, IPVM reporting exposed how Hikvision and Dahua co-authored Uyghur targeting standards for the PRC government. Both companies made millions from security contracts in Xinjiang, where the FBI bulletin notes an estimated 1.8 million Uyghurs are detained:
Since 2017, Chinese authorities have detained more than 1.8 million Uyghurs in Chinese re-education camps where they are subjected to a variety of abuses, including arbitrary detention, torture, forced labor, forced sterilization, political indoctrination, sexual violence, and disappearance.
Range of Tactics, Families Targeted In China
The FBI highlighted four instances of US-based individuals facing harassment, including a Uyghur-American's mother, aunt, and uncle being placed in a Chinese internment camp as a reprisal for his meeting with the US Secretary of State in 2019.
In another case, the FBI said Chinese officials attempted to stop a US-based Uyghur from publicly discussing the group's mistreatment through the WeChat texting app. This person's family was also imprisoned in China. Other tactics, according to the FBI, include:
Detainment of a US-based person’s family or friends in China, seizure of China-based assets, sustained digital and in-person harassment, Chinese government attempts to force repatriation, computer hacking and digital attacks, and false representation online.
Ongoing Threat, Reporting Suspected Abuse Encouraged
The FBI encouraged law enforcement and the public to remain vigilant and report suspected abuses:
Members of the public are similarly encouraged to report suspected Chinese government-backed transnational repression activity of any kind to the FBI.
To report Chinese government-backed threats and harassment, contact your local FBI field office (details available at www.fbi.gov) or submit a tip via 1-800-CALL-FBI (or 1-800-225-5324) or via www.fbi.gov/tips. You can also make an anonymous tip to the FBI by phone or online.
The FBI's attention and warnings about these illegal activities show that the US government is ramping up efforts to counter this and that those working with such entities should be concerned about their participation.
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