Norwegian authorities have received around 80 applications for asylum from Chinese citizens this month at the national reception center in Råde, Norway. According to NRK they’re all members of China’s persecuted Uighur minority and have arrived in Norway from Turkey
NRK writes that according to the State immigration agency UDI, the Chinese Uighurs have earlier resided in Turkey, which until recently offered shelter because they share Turkish-Muslim ethnicity. According to a report from the state’s expert group on immigration issues, Landinfo, however, Turkey’s policy of helping Uighurs who are fleeing oppression and internment in China has changed. Landinfo notes that China’s authorities will not tolerate criticism of their treatment of Uighurs and with Turkey facing severe economical problems, the country is looking for economic investment from China and is therefore now reluctant to criticize China.
According to Landinfo, there are also reports of forced returns of Uighurs from Turkey to China.
NRK has spoken to one of the Chinese refugees who recently arrived in Norway who confirms that some Uighurs have disappeared from Turkey without a trace and later he learned that they were sent to China. “I did not feel safe in Turkey, so I came to Norway, he says.
The Uighurs in Råde are now hoping for asylum in Norway. If they get it, it could have an effect on the diplomatic relationship between Norway and China, believes China expert Harald Bøckman who is a researcher at the University of Oslo.
“If you look at Chinese diplomatic behavior in recent years, it has become more and more heated, containing both threats and insults. So it will probably create some issues with China. But in this case, we are talking about basic asylum rights which Norway is obliged to follow. So China can say and do what they want,” Harald Bøckman says.
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