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Chinese authorities have been sending male “relatives” to live with – and sometimes, share a bed with – Uighur women whose husbands have been detained in the region’s internment camps, according to a report that cited two unnamed Chinese officials.
The internment camps are part of Beijing’s hardline stance on the country’s ethnic minority Muslims in the far western province of Xinjiang.
Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Friday that China has been running a “Pair Up and Become Family” program since 2017 where Communist Party officials stay in Uighur homes.
Officials said the program promotes “ethnic unity,” but also lets the government monitor the minority population.
Party officials who are called “relatives” (but not actually related) visit Uighur families every two months, stay for up to a week, and in some reported instances, share a bed with the women, RFA reported.
“They help [the families] with their ideology, bringing new ideas,” an official told the outlet. “They talk to them about life, during which time they develop feelings for one another.”
He added, “Normally one or two people sleep in one bed, and if the weather is cold, three people sleep together.”
China’s embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., tweeted that the report was “absolutely repulsive.”
“It’s difficult to imagine a more intimate form of political violence against an already terrorized minority,” she wrote. “The United States must speak out about the systemized enslavement and attempted cultural obliteration of the Uyghurs.”
Information about supposed detention camps is scarce, given that Uighurs face imprisonment for speaking with journalists or anyone outside the region.
More than one million Uighurs have been detained so-called “re-education centers” and criticism as grown over their internment, as well as that of other Muslims.
Activists and human rights groups have liked the “re-education centers” to concentration camps, while China’s government insists the detention sites are “vocation” centers aimed at training and skills development.
Last week, China and Western nations clashed at the U.N. human rights committee over claims that Beijing is systematically oppressing ethnic minority Muslims.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.