China controls dissidents abroad through relatives back home

MONTREAL/MUNICH Erkin Kurban, an ethnic Uighurfrom Chinas frontier region of Xinjiang, left his homeland for Canada back in 1999. When he returned to Xinjiang for a visit in April 2013, he had not seen his family for more than 13 years. Kurban was especially excited about seeing his 85-year-old mother.

His joy was short-lived. On the third day after his arrival, an agent of Chinas pervasive security police summoned him for a meeting at a police station. Over the next 10 hours, Kurban, a 55-year-old long-distance truck driver, was grilled on his activities in Canada and the United States. His interrogators urged him to send reports on fellow Uighur exiles when he went back, leaving hi