Authorities in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region have assigned a spy to monitor the daily movements of an elderly Uyghur woman deemed troublesome by police, telling her that the young woman sent to visit her each day is now her “daughter,” sources say.
Speaking to RFA’s Uyghur Service, Rabihan Musa, a resident of Bortala city in Xinjiang’s northwestern Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, said the woman was brought to see her first on New Year’s Day.
“The head of our autonomous district came to visit me and introduced Xiong Qizhang to me, saying ‘This lady will be your daughter from now on and will take care of you. She will take care of any difficulties that you may have,’” Rabihan said.
“Since then, she has been coming to see me at least a couple of times each day, bringing eggs, milk, and rice,” Rabihan said, adding, “Sometimes she comes and meets my neighbors instead, and I have been told that she asks about who comes and goes from my house.”
After telling her unwanted helper that it seems she has not come to help but only to watch, “she doesn’t say anything, but only smiles,” Rabihan said.
Rabihan, 82, had tried in February 2016 to leave Xinjiang to visit family members who had fled Xinjiang for a better life in Norway six years before, but police seized her passport before she could purchase a ticket, she told RFA in an earlier report.
Alarmed after Rabihan gave interviews by phone to RFA’s Uyghur Service, police offered to give her passport back if she would end a months-long public petition for its return, but she never saw the document again.
“One day, I told [Xiong], ‘I’m getting old. If you really want to help, just bring my passport back so that I can go to see my kids,’’ Rabihan said. “But she tells me this is beyond her control.”
“Now I don’t know how to free myself from this situation,” Rabihan said. “I am afraid of being detained and charged with ‘disrupting ethnic unity’ if I chase her out of my house with a broom, as I sometimes think of doing.”
Rabihan said she has told Xiong that she knows she comes only because she has been ordered to do so.
“She says ‘You’re so smart,’ but makes no reply to my requests,” she said.
Reported by Shohret Hoshur for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Translated by Mamatjan Juma. Written in English by Richard Finney.