Exposed: China's surveillance of Muslim Uighurs
  • Fri, 02/01/2019 - 17:00

by Steve Chao

Zonguldak, Turkey - The Turkish coal-mining town of Zonguldak seems an unlikely place to meet a man who says he's a Chinese spy, but it's here where Yusuf Amat arranged to meet us.

Sitting in the lobby of a hotel overlooking the Black Sea, waiting for him to arrive, I wonder what kind of person would agree to inform on neighbours, friends and even family for a government accused by rights groups of carrying out a brutal campaign of mass arrests and detention.

As Amat walks in through the glass door, I almost miss him. Wearing grey overalls, a grey cotton-knit hat and a grey bulky jacket, everything about him - from his clothes to his mannerisms - is unremarkable.

"Ni hao (hello)," Amat says softly, greeting me in Mandarin as he casts his eyes down and gently shakes my hand.

"Sorry for being late, I just finished my shift at the gas station and had to take a few buses to get here."

Uighur Yusuf Amat says the Chinese government allegedly forced him into spying on his family and friends in Xinjiang and abroad [Jenni Henderson/Al Jazeera]