Exposing the Chinese government’s oppression of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang
In ÃrÃ¼mqi, a remote town in northwest China, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the Political and Legal Affairs Commission sends “micro-clues” to neighborhood committees and the police when someone does something. something irregular. It could be having an unexpected visitor at home, driving a car owned by someone else, receiving a phone call while abroad, or using a file sharing app.
The committee is a powerful organ of the Communist Party of China which oversees the “system of political and legal affairs,” which includes the police, procuratorate or attorney general’s office which controls the investigation and prosecution systems, courts, justice department and other security services. organs.
Elsewhere in China, the committee is usually a coordinating body with no operational capacity, but in Xinjiang it has sparked millions of inquiries at the local level. Between July 2016 and June 2017, he reported 1,869,310 Uyghurs and other citizens of Xinjiang for using the Zapya file-sharing app.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping called the political and legal affairs system a “knife grip” of the party and insisted that it must be firmly in the hands of the CCP and the masses.
The functioning of this vast system of coercive state control is examined in a new project of the International Cyber ââPolicy Center of the ASPI, The architecture of repression: unpacking the governance of Xinjiang.
By analyzing thousands of pages of leaked police files, ASPI researchers obtained scarce information about the CCP’s methods of oppressing Uyghurs and other indigenous communities in Xinjiang.
The project includes an interactive organizational chart, showcasing more than 170 offices that have participated in the governance of Xinjiang over the past seven years. In the painting, guided tours can guide the viewer through five key sets of Xinjiang’s repressive policies: mass internment, forced labor, mass home surveillance, coercive birth control, and pervasive propaganda.
An 82-page research report draws on unpublished documents from thousands of Chinese-language sources, including police records and budget documents obtained by scratching Chinese government websites.
Since the mass internment of Uyghurs was first reported in 2017, an abundance of literature has documented ongoing human rights violations in Xinjiang. However, there is little knowledge about government processes or the actual perpetrators of these now well-known atrocities, and only a small number of entities or individuals have been identified for their involvement.
This project exposes these activities, and those responsible, to further public scrutiny.
Amid international debates over whether the recent events in Xinjiang amount to genocide, and as Chinese officials actively clean up relevant evidence and seek to silence those who speak out, it is important to conduct a timely investigation. and detailed on the governance of Xinjiang now.
The report highlights, as an example, the treatment of Anayit Abliz, then 18, who was caught using a file-sharing app in 2017. He was interned in a camp reeducation and finally “sentenced” by his neighborhood committee, a name of voluntary service organization responsible for the local control of the party, to three years in prison.
While in detention, committee officials visited his family members six times in a single week, examining their behavior and seeing if they were emotionally stable.
Our report is the first report in English to analyze Xinjiang’s âTrinityâ mechanism, which grants neighborhood committees extraordinary powers to control the movements and emotions of residents, subjecting many of them to âmanagementâ orders. and control âsimilar to a house arrest.
The crackdown on Uyghurs bears a striking resemblance to the mass political campaigns of the Mao era.
Even though Xi said such campaigns are expensive and cumbersome, the party-state uses them in Xinjiang and elsewhere. In addition to mass internments and forced labor, the inhabitants of Xinjiang are forced to participate in acts of political theater, such as show trials, public denunciation sessions, pledges of loyalty, “propaganda conferences” Xi’s sermon-type songs and songs for good health.
They are mobilized to attack dark enemies lurking among them, the so-called âthree evil forcesâ and âtwo-faced peopleâ.
The report highlights the government-wide and society-wide approach to Xinjiang’s crackdown, citing an impressive number of offices and officials involved in its repressive policies. These include obscure agencies such as the Forestry Bureau, which handled the accounts of the Kashgar city re-education camps for a year.
Three party secretaries from Xinjiang County are featured, including Yao Ning, who was a visiting scholar at Harvard University and now sits atop a chain of command overseeing nine newly constructed or expanded detention centers in southern China. Xinjiang. Erken Tuniyaz, who was appointed Xinjiang’s new acting governor on September 30, also spent time at Harvard as a visiting scholar.
Highly destructive mass political campaigns are not artefacts of a bygone era. On the contrary, they occur at a time when Chinese society is more closely linked to the world than ever before. As a result, through long and complicated supply chains, liberal democracies have found themselves consuming (often unknowingly) the results of China’s mass political campaigns, such as products made with forced labor. Prosecuted along racial and religious lines, Xinjiang’s campaign against the Uyghurs has also led to charges of genocide.
As of the spring of 2017, it is widely believed that between several hundred thousand and one million Uyghurs and other indigenous peoples of Xinjiang have been arrested and interned in what Chinese authorities call “centers of education and training.” vocational training â. Yet these re-education camps are only the most visible elements of a vast architecture of repression in the region.