China has deployed more than a million spies – most of them male and part of the country’s Han ethnic majority – to stay in Uighur households every two months as part of what it calls the “Pair Up and Become Family” programme.

During their visits, the officials – who the government describes as “relatives” of the monitored families – work, eat, and often share a bed with their “hosts”, one Communist party officer told RFA.

“They stay with their paired relatives day and night,” said the officer, who oversees 70 to 80 families in Yengisar county and spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Normally one or two people sleep in one bed, and if the weather is cold, three people sleep together,” he added.