Chinese Muslims must wear GPS tracking devices on trips to Mecca

The Islamic Association of China revealed last week that Chinese Muslims visiting Mecca are required to wear tracking devices that include their personal information

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Chinese government’s oppression of Muslim ethnic minorities in China was further evidenced this past week by the actions required of the Islamic Association of China which oversaw a religious pilgrimage to Mecca by Chinese Muslims.  

The Islamic Association of China on July 27 published a series of photos showing a group of religious pilgrims, revealing that the Chinese government is forcing the Muslims on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia to wear GPS tracking devices at all times, to monitor their whereabouts while outside of the country.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Beijing officials have claimed that the tracking devices are for the safety of the travelers themselves. The tracking devices also contain cards with personal identifying information to ensure that the GPS devices can not be exchanged.

A scholar quoted in the report said that this shows that the Chinese government considers Muslims to be at risk of dangerous behavior, and must therefore be monitored at all times, like a criminal on parole.

China has come under intense scrutiny from media and human rights organizations for their treatment of the Uyghurs, a majority Muslim ethnic group in Xinjiang Province.

Recent reports from Xinjiang have shown the authorities forcing Uyghur women to marry Han Chinese men in an effort to “gene wash” and methodically reduce the Uyghur population. Other reports have shown Uyghur women being accosted in the streets and having their clothing sheared off from below their waists if their skirts are considered too long

Although there are some practical applications of the devices, like making sure people don’t get lost while abroad, it seems the Chinese government is expressing an extra degree of attention to the activities of Muslims abroad, which they do not extend to other tour groups or ethnic minorities.

According to the Wall Street Journal Report, only a select few Muslims each year are given permission to leave China and make their sacred pilgrimage to Mecca.