Chinese party agents watch over Uighur funerals, weddings

  • In this Aug. 22, 2018, photo, Ablikim Abliz holds up his phone displaying a photo of his uncle’s family with an unknown Han Chinese man in Istanbul, Turkey. Abliz heard the Han Chinese man was part of a government homestay program meant to monitor his relatives, part of a broader crackdown on religious expression in China’s far western region of Xinjiang. He later heard that his uncle’s front door was boarded up and sealed with police tape, and has not been able to contact them since. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

  • This undated photo provided by Ablikim Abliz, shows his uncle’s family posing with an unknown Han Chinese man, second from the right, in Istanbul, Turkey. Abliz heard the Han Chinese man was part of a government homestay program meant to monitor his relatives, part of a broader crackdown on religious expression in China’s far western region of Xinjiang. More than a million Chinese civil servants have been assigned to move into the homes of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities, spending weeks as uninvited guests. While government notices about the “Pair Up and Become Family” program portray it as an affectionate cultural exchange, exiled Uighurs living in Turkey said their loved ones saw the campaign as a chilling intrusion, aimed at coercing Uighurs into living secular lives like the Han majority. (Ablikim Abliz via AP)

ISTANBUL — The two women in the photograph were smiling, but Halmurat Idris knew something was terribly wrong.

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