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‘No mercy’ to Uyghur Muslims, chilling order from Chinese President

27th Dec 2019
‘No mercy’ to Uyghur Muslims, chilling order from Chinese President

Uyghur expats protest in Brussels,on October 1. (Credit: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency)
Right: China’s President Xi Jinping  (Credit: Palácio do Planalto/WikiCommons)

Meng Yihua

Show “absolutely no mercy” to Uyghur Muslims, that’s the chilling orders by China’s President Xi Jinping to officials in leaked Government documents shedding alarming new light on the scale of the security crackdown in the Xinjiang region.

The “Xinjiang papers” act as a manual for running the detention camps. Liu Xiaoming, the country’s Ambassador to the UK, however, branded the documents “fake news” and “pure fabrication.”

One recipient of the leaked 403 pages, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, has confirmed that the documents provide guidelines from 2017 with instructions on preventing escapes, when to let detainees see relatives, or even when to let them use the toilet.

Since the stories of the camps emerged in 2017, the Chinese Communist Party has rejected any accusations, maintaining that the detention camps are vocational training centres designed for ‘re-education.’ However, the leaked documents obtained by The New York Times through “a member of the Chinese political establishment” and published on November 16, clearly confirms the brutality and ruthlessness taking place inside the camps.

Surprisingly, in certain passages, Xi Jinping rejected proposals to completely eradicate and eliminate Islam in China, but still continued to lead the Party down a clear path of ruthless repression in Xinjiang.

After the 2009 riots in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital city, Hu Jintao — Xi’s predecessor — had stressed the importance of economic development as well as responsive action to address the ethnic discontent.

Xi believed that economic growth alone would not quell the ethnic tensions and thus ordered the widescale campaign of surveillance and intelligence gathering.

Although the documents prove that that Xi did envision indoctrination taking place in Xinjiang prisons, and that small indoctrination facilities had already started opening up across the region, it was not until Chen Quanguo, Communist hardliner who had been responsible for major repressive policies in Tibet was transferred to Xinjiang, did the camps take off in full scale.

Since then, there has been an expanding network of detention camps and a mass organized detention of Muslims.

Human rights experts estimate over one million predominantly Muslim Uyghurs (and Kazakhs) have been detained in the internment camps, but Shohrat Zakir, Chair and Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party committee of Xinjiang, himself a Uyghur, rejected this figure.

As well as detailing the hard-line taken by Xinjiang Chinese Communist Party Leader, Chen Quanguo, against the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, it also provides model answers to be given to university students questioning their family’s whereabouts upon return to Xinjiang.

Students are told by officials that they are in a Government established training school, with excellent living and study environments and that they have no need to worry. Officials refer to their thinking and ideologies as being infected, explaining that they have an ‘ideological virus.’

The documents also advise officials on how to explain to students why their family members can’t leave: “only when the virus in their minds is cleared, and they are healthy, will they be free.”

On December 3, the US House of Representatives passed a bill to condemn actions of the Chinese Communist Party against Xinjiang. It is called the Uyghur Intervention and Global Humanitarian Unified Response Act of 2019.

The persecution of Uyghurs and other minority Muslims made headlines in the UK earlier this month when Arsenal star Mesut Özil, a German Muslim of Turkish descent, spoke out on Instagram against Beijing’s oppression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

On December 13, Özil had shared a heartfelt tweet asking “where are [the] Muslims?”, in which he lamented the lack of outrage in the Muslims world toward the oppression faced by the Uyghurs.

The club quickly distanced itself from its midfielder’s concern for his fellow Muslims. “As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics,” said the club in a statement via Weibo, a widely popular Chinese social media site.


Additional reporting by Elham A Buaras

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