Xinjiang Ethnic School: Six Secretly Arrested for Religious Information in Mobile Phones

Xinjiang Ethnic School: Six Secretly Arrested for Religious Information in Mobile Phones
WikilikuiCC BY-SA 3.0

ADHRRF – Recently, the reporter learned through visits that within just 5 days, 6 people from a vocational and technical school in Shihezi City, Xinjiang, were secretly arrested for being found to have religious information in their communication equipment such as mobile phones.

Shihezi Vocational and Technical Education and Training Center is an ethnic school with students aged between 15 and 20, whose parents are all believers in Islam. According to a staff member of the school, on May 25, a parcel was sent from South Xinjiang to the school for four students; when it was taken to the school gate and checked by the sentry, four mobile phones in it were found to contain some downloaded religious materials. Afterward, the four students were secretly arrested by the police, with none knowing where they were taken to.

On May 29, two other people were secretly arrested, one of whom was captain of the school guard (also known as the instructor), who was secretly arrested at home by the police for the same reason of religious information being found in WeChat in the mobile phone.

It is learned that Xinjiang government has previously declared in a document about crackdown on religious beliefs that they will make every effort to maintain stability at all costs, and resolutely curb the spreading of religious extreme ideas. The authorities also listed some religious extreme behaviors, including using social chat software such as SMS and WeChat to exchange, study or read religious propaganda materials and documents, and using audio-visual products, computers or removable storage media to store religious ebooks, audio and video files, etc.

Some commentators believe that the authorities’ new moves are to further concretize, amplify and legitimize their violent suppression of religious beliefs.

It is also learned that this school has been closely surveilled by the local police, having some police officers stationing in the school. Teachers and students have to pass through four sentry posts before entering into the campus. There are 16 classes in the school, with every three classes under the charge of one school guard, and all school guards under the charge of the school guard captain.