China carrying out 'refugee espionage' to keep an eye on Uighur's abroad

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Dalarna (Sweden), July 15(ANI): The arrest of a Uighur exile in Sweden on charges of 'refugee espionage' last month, suggests how far China may extend to keep an eye on the ethnic group, which it believes is a threat to the nation.

The Swedish Security Police, earlier on June 4, had arrested Babur Mehsut, a Uighur exile and naturalized Swedish citizen.

According to Tomas Lindstrand, chief prosecutor of Sweden's International Prosecutor's Office, the crime involves the "unlawful acquisition and distribution of information relating to individuals for the benefit of a foreign power," in this case, China, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

Lindstrand also highlighted that the alleged 'refugee espionage' occurred from January 2008 to June of this year in Sweden and abroad. Mehsut is believed to have attended a meeting of the World Uyghur Congress in Washington this May.

Meanwhile, analysts and Uighur exiles say that China has an intelligence network intended at scrutinize developments in the Uighur diaspora and has been aiming to sow conflict within and among Uighur groups. There is also wide belief that they frequently threaten Uighur operatives involved in the network.

"Uighur refugees can face threats to their family members still living in China, with the Chinese authorities seeking to stop behavior they don't like, or encourage behavior they want," said Gardner Bovingdon, a Central Eurasia expert at Indiana University. (ANI)

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