Chinese President Xi, in Xinjiang, signals no change to Uyghur policy

BEIJING – Chinese leader Xi Jinping, on a visit this week to the Xinjiang region where his government is widely accused of oppressing predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities, has shown no signs of backing down from policies that have been the subject of fierce criticism from the United States and many European countries.

Xi stressed the full and faithful implementation of his ruling Communist Party’s approach in the region, stressing social stability and lasting security as the overriding goals, the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

Under his leadership, authorities have waged a massive crackdown on Uyghur and Kazakh communities in Xinjiang following an outbreak of deadly separatist violence. Although no exact figures have been released, analysts say hundreds of thousands and likely a million or more people have been detained over time.

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Critics have described the crackdown that placed thousands in prison-like indoctrination camps as cultural genocide. The United States and others have placed officials responsible under visa bans for their part in extralegal detentions, separation from families and incarceration of people for studying abroad or having contacts. abroad.

Xi, during what was described as an “inspection visit” from Tuesday to Friday, said increased efforts should be made to uphold the principle that Islam in China should be Chinese-oriented, Xinhua said.

While the needs of religious believers must be ensured, they must be united closely with the Communist Party and the government, the state news agency quoted the latter as saying.

He called for educating and guiding people of all ethnic groups to strengthen their identification with the Chinese nation, culture and Communist Party.

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The Chinese leader called Xinjiang a “central area and hub” in China’s program to build ports, railways and power plants linking it to economies from Central Asia to Eastern Europe . The United States has blocked some imports of cotton and other products from the region due to reports of forced labor.

Xi met with leaders of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a supragovernmental body that runs its own courts, schools and health care system under a military system imposed on the region after the Communist Party took power in China in 1949.

Xi “learned the history of the XPCC by cultivating and guarding the border areas,” Xinhua reported.

Xinjiang borders Russia, Afghanistan and the unstable Central Asia, which China has sought to lure into its orbit through economic incentives and security alliances.

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