Norwegian authorities have received around 80 applications for asylum from Chinese citizens this month. State broadcaster NRK reported that they’re all members of China’s persecuted Uighur minority and have arrived in Norway from Turkey.
The applications come in addition to a new wave of asylum seekers from Afghanistan that’s also expected to increase. More than 30 of the Uighurs with Chinese citizenship arrived in Norway on Wednesday of this week, and have been sent to the national asylum reception center in Råde near Fredrikstad.
State immigration agency UDI told NRK that the Chinese Uighurs earlier have resided in Turkey, which until recently offered shelter because they share Turkish-Muslim ethnicity. Many Uighurs even refer to their original home in what’s now the Xinjiang province of China as Eastern Turkistan.
NRK cited a report from the state’s expert group on immigration issues, Landinfo, noting that Turkish officials have changed their policy of helping Uighurs who are fleeing oppression and internment in China. The change came under pressure from China authorities, who won’t tolerate criticism of their treatment of Uighurs. Landinfo notes that Turkey, now facing severe economic prolems, wants economic investment from China and is thus now reluctant to criticize China, with which it may enter into an extradition treaty. Uighurs thus may find themselves in danger of being sent from Turkey back to China.