Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited the Xinjiang region for the first time in eight years. A repressive campaign against “radicalism, terrorism and separatism” was launched before his last visit to the province. According to experts, the Chinese regime is convinced of what it has achieved in Xinjiang by suppressing the resistance of the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities despite widespread international criticism.
During the four-day visit, which ended on Friday, Xi visited, among others, the Uyghur district of Urumqi, the capital of the region. – Every ethnic group in Xinjiang is an inseparable member of the great family of Chinese statehood (…) We must especially value the perfect conditions of stability and unity – he said.
Xi also argued that Xinjiang was no longer the “far end”, but has become a “key area and hub” thanks to the government’s “Belt and Road” initiative, which he assessed as an achievement of “historical significance”, state Chinese media reported.
Chinese repression of the Uighurs
According to critics, however, these comments are detached from the cruel reality in Xinjiang, where the authorities apply omnipresent surveillance, and documents disclosed by the media show that Uighurs and representatives of other minorities end up in mass detention centers for such “offenses” as learning Islam, wearing a beard or using unauthorized applications on phones.
– Pictures of laughing Uighurs do not change the evidence that innocent Uighurs are still in jail. The “Chinese dream” cannot be achieved when an ethnic group is subjected to the apartheid regime and detained because of their race, told the New York Times USA lawyer Rayhan Asat, whose younger brother is being held in Xinjiang.
Sanctions for violations of human rights
Before Xi’s last visit to Xinjiang in 2014, Uyghur militants killed 31 people with knives and injured more than 140 at the Kunming train station, and on the last day of the visit there was a terrorist attack using knives and bombs at the Urumqi train station, killing three people and 79 were injured. The authorities accused Uyghur extremists of the attacks and soon launched a repressive campaign against radicalism, terrorism and separatism.
According to Western researchers, as part of this campaign, even over a million Uighurs and other Muslims have been imprisoned in re-education camps and prisons in recent years, subjected to communist indoctrination, physically and mentally tormented them. There have also been reports of witnesses and other reports of systematic rape, forced abortions or sterilization of Uighurs, and the use of Uighur forced labor in cotton fields and factories.
The US is accusing China genocide, and the EU and a number of Western countries have sanctioned some Chinese officials for violations human rights in Xinjiang. China denies there is persecution in the region.
– Xi’s visit suggests that the party is clearly very convinced of what it has achieved in Xinjiang (…) They believe they have ensured security and “stability” and are on track to achieve the long-term goal of cultural assimilation – assessed the researcher from the Research Center Defense College of the Australian College of Defense (ADC) Michael Clarke, quoted by “NYT”.
Main photo source: REUTERS