China is installing QR codes on the homes of the Uyghur Muslim community in order to get instant access to the personal details of people living there, according to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Starting from spring 2017, in every home where one enters there’s a QR code. Then every two days, or every day, the cadres come and scan the QR code, so they know how many people live here – and starting around then, they would ask [our] visitors, ‘why are you here?’ In the evenings the cadres would check as well,” a former resident from Xinjiang told Human Rights.
The development comes as part of a mass security crackdown on minorities in Xinjiang province, the charity said, which includes arbitrary detentions, daily restrictions on religious practice and “forced political indoctrination”.
The UN Human Rights Panel said in August that China is detained in Xinjiang in a secret system of “internment camps” to one million ethnic Uighurs, where they receive the political education.
Beijing has denied that such camps are “political education” and instead insists they are vocational training centers that are part of government initiatives to promote economic growth and social mobility in the region.
China has said that Xinjiang is facing a serious threat from militant Islamists and separatists planning attacks and creating tensions between Uyghurs who call the region home and the ethnic Han Chinese majority.
Uighurs and other Muslims held in the camps are forbidden to use Islamic greetings, learn Mandarin Chinese and sing propaganda songs, former camp inmates interviewed by HRW report.