The Wall Street Journal reported that China has confiscated tens of millions of dollars of property and assets of Uyghur Muslim detainees in Xinjiang.
At least 150 assets ranging from home appliances to real estate and company shares have been seized by courts in northwest China’s Xinjiang and auctioned on e-commerce websites, the newspaper said.
The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the confiscated assets belong to 21 people from the Uyghur minority, and their total value is $84.8 million.
The Xinjiang government did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.
In recent years, the Chinese government has cracked down on Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, with authorities destroying mosques and other religious sites and arresting hundreds of thousands of people in camps, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Human rights groups and several Western countries, including the United States, accuse China of committing acts of genocide in its suppression of Uyghurs and other groups, the majority of which are Muslims.
However, Beijing vehemently denies this and asserts that the camps are aimed at rehabilitation as part of a campaign to eradicate extremism, while the Uyghur Muslims assert that their culture is being destroyed.
Among the properties up for auction was a four-story building in the western city of Kashgar, near the city’s most important landmark, the nearly 600-year-old Eid Kah Mosque.
The building is owned by a wealthy Uyghur Muslim businessman named Abdul Jalil Halil, who has been detained since 2017 on charges of financing terrorist activities.
In 2018, Hillel was sentenced to 14 years in prison and $11 million of his personal property was confiscated.
In October 2020, a man named Chen Chuhong won the bid to build the building that Hillel owned near the mosque, for $8.3 million.
As in the United States, Chinese law enables authorities to confiscate and sell assets for certain civil disputes and criminal charges.
“This may be just the tip of the iceberg,” said Nicole Margrett, director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project.
A Wall Street Journal analysis of corporate records in Hotan – home to many prominent Uyghur Muslim real estate developers – indicates that authorities’ orders to freeze the assets of minority entrepreneurs increased sharply in 2018, one year after Xinjiang authorities began the mass crackdown. against Muslim minorities.