Muslims worldwide have been flocking to a mobile file-sharing application called Zapya, developed by a Beijing-based startup that encourages users to download the Quran and share religious teachings with loved ones.
The app, developed by DewMobile Inc., allows smartphone users to send videos, photos and other files directly from one smartphone to another without being connected to the web, making it popular in areas where internet service is poor or nonexistent.
A leak of highly classified Chinese government documents, the China Cables, now reveal that since at least July 2016, Chinese authorities have been targeting users of the Zapya app, known in Chinese as Kuai Ya (fast tooth), as part of their crackdown against the Muslim Uighur population. Officials have closely monitored the app on some Uighurs’ phones and flagged its users for further investigation, according to leaked documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and shared with 17 media partners.
Responding to questions about the camps and surveillance program from ICIJ media partner the Guardian, the Chinese government called the leaked documents “pure fabrication and fake news.” In a statement, the press office of its UK embassy said: “There are no so-called “detention camps” in Xinjiang. Vocational education and training centres have been established for the prevention of terrorism.”