A Pakistani student in China was detained and interrogated on suspicion of terror by the Chinese police earlier this month. Jamal was studying on scholarship at Communication University of China, one of China’s leading universities with the top ranking in media education.
The whole fiasco was based on some banal joke about Jihad that Jamal made with his friends in an online private chat. Speaking to The Laaltain, Jamal told that earlier in June he was called by the university officials regarding some official matter. Upon reaching the venue, he was tricked by the officials and handed over to the police. The police, including officers from China’s notorious Special Weapons & Tactics Unit (SWAT), and other officials harassed and interrogated him for hours. It was after quite some time that the police actually told him the reason for his detention. He was handed over long excerpts of his internet chat, all in Chinese, that Jamal was unable to read. Finally he was made to sign a document in Chinese that again he could not understand, and released with a warning.
Upset over what he had to go through, Jamal commented, “They treated me inhumanly, bullied me and terrorized me. I was not given a right to defend myself. This is a violation of my human rights and totally unjustified.” Despite being angry, Jamal is not willing to take some remedial step owing to the strict nature of the Chinese system which he has witnessed very closely for about two years. Along with the brutal policing, China leads the world in internet surveillance. The major internet websites including Google, Facebook and Twitter are also banned in China. Facing troubles in places like Xinjinag, China uses the surveillance system most aggressively.
Upon asking about the content of the disputed chat, Jamal, a secular activist himself, retorted, “I do not believe in Jihad. Such concepts have nothing to do with me.”
*The name has been changed to protect identity of the student