Chinese government issues Mecca-bound Muslims with GPS trackers and QR codes
In what appears to be an extension of China's tracking of its Muslim citizens, 3,300 of the 11,500 Chinese pilgrims joining the 2018 hajj to Mecca were outfitted with GPS trackers. When photos were shown of the first group preparing to depart wearing trackers around their necks, the state-run Chinese Islamic Association claimed it was to make the trip safer for them. Each device reportedly contains a QR code connected to an app that reveals the wearer's picture, passport number, address, and Chinese and English names. Chinese Muslims are carefully vetted before being granted permission to embark on the hajj; the 8 million Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region must also pledge their allegiance to the Communist Party before they are allowed to leave the country. The numbers of Chinese Muslims joining the annual hajj has been declining since 2016, when 14,500 made the trip.
Writer: Eva Dou; Rosie Perper; Li Ruohan
Publication: Wall Street Journal; Business Insider; Global Times
Publication date: 2018-07-31; 2018-08-10; 2018-07-31