Date :Tuesday, August 7th, 2018 | Time : 00:14 |ID: 68025 | Print

Chinese Muslims Make the Hajj Pilgrimage Wearing GPS-Enabled Smart Cards

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SHAFAQNA – Muslims from some Chinese regions going to Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrimage are wearing tracking devices that allow the government to track them.

Some Photos published by the state-controlled China Islamic Association shows Chinese Muslims at the Beijing airport departing for Mecca in Saudi Arabia in recent days, wearing smart cards around their necks. According to the association, the device includes personal data and a GPS tracker used to ensure “wearer’s safety”.

China’s Global Time also highlighted the usage of the “Mecca tracking devices”. It said that less than one-third of the 11,500 Chinese Muslims going to Mecca were using the devices this year. The newspaper also claimed that pilgrims from Xinjiang weren’t wearing the devices.

Chinese government agencies have repeatedly emphasised that these devices are only to ensure the safety of the pilgrims. When a Hajj pilgrim had lost his way during the trip, the tracking device came to his aid, according to reports.

“Our team was able to search for him through the Hajj Chest Electronic Smart Card system, accurately identify his specific location amid the crowd of Haji in the holy mosque square, and retrieve him”, a Chinese government body has been quoted in news reports as saying in a statement, Swarajya reported.

China routinely cracks down on its Muslim citizens – most of them belonging to the Uighur Turkic ethnic group, mainly based in the Xinjiang province. Reports say that lakhs of Muslim Uighurs have been detained by Chinese state forces.

Many of the Uighurs are sent to political re-education centres and detention facilities. According to China watchers cited by the Wall Street Journal, the scale of these detentions would be the largest after the Maoist era “anti-rightist” campaign in 1950.

Read more from Shafaqna:

Hajj, a Time for Worship and Education

China asks Muslims to oppose religious extremism, reject foreign influence

China authorities ban Islamic names, threatened to bar

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