Beijing: The anti-crime campaign that China has been using to eradicate criminal forces and ensure political security and social control across the country is now also used by authorities in China’s far-western Xinjiang region to target Uyghurs, continuing the crackdown on the minority.

The anti-crime campaign was rolled out by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s close ally Wang Xiaohong who was appointed public security minister on June 25 to eliminate criminal forces and ensure political stability and social control across the country.

Authorities in China’s Xinjiang region used the Chinese government’s 100-day crackdown on criminals to target Uyghurs deemed “religious extremists” and “two-faced,” a police officer in a major city said, reported Radio Free Asia.

As per the reports, Wang directed police to diffuse all kinds of safety risks and resolutely safeguard social stability” in the run-up to the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party later this year.

The campaign affected the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang at various levels as the community have been subjected to the brunt of China’s oppressive policies for decades, Radio Free Asia reported, adding that the public security sweep in Xinjiang targeted mainly Uyghurs deemed religious extremists, separatists, terrorists and two-faced persons.

The Chinese Communist Party uses the term “two-faced” to describe people usually officials or party members who are ideologically disloyal to the party, however, it is most often applied to Uyghurs in official positions who are interested in carrying on their cultural and religious traditions.

The anti-crime campaign elsewhere in China focused on crimes like theft, while in Xinjiang officers sought to catch allegedly disloyal Uyghurs, local media reported citing Police officials.

Authorities focused on “operations against evil forces” in Hotan, the Police officials added.

Xinjiang’s Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in Xinjiang have been subjected to severe human rights abuses, torture and forced labour, as well as the eradication of their linguistic, cultural and religious traditions in what the United States and several Western parliaments have called genocide and crimes against humanity.

Chinese authorities have detained up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in internment camps since 2017, according to numerous investigative reports by researchers, think tanks and foreign media.

However, China always declines the blames and claims the camps were vocational training centres meant to deter religious extremism and terrorism, reported Radio Free Asia.

The Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group, whose origins can be traced to Central and East Asia. Their native region is considered to be the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China.

Xinjiang is technically an autonomous region within China. The Uyghurs are Muslim, they don’t speak Mandarin as their native language, and their ethnicity and culture is different from that of mainland China. Over the past few decades, as economic prosperity has come to Xinjiang, it has brought with it a large numbers of the majority of Han Chinese, who have cornered the better jobs, and left the Uyghurs feeling their livelihoods and identity are under threat.

This led to sporadic violence, in 2009 culminating in riots that killed 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, in the region’s capital Urumqi.

According to reports, since 2016, over a million Uyghur Muslims have been detained in Xinjiang re-education camps by the Chinese Government. The main purpose of these re-education camps was to ensure adherence to the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party.

Chinese authorities have been accused of imposing forced labour, systematic forced birth control and torture, and separating children from incarcerated parents.

Several countries, including the US, Canada and the Netherlands, have accused China of committing genocide – defined by international convention as the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”.

China has been forcibly mass sterilising Uyghur women to suppress the population, separating children from their families, and attempting to break the cultural traditions of the group.

China denies all allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, claiming its system of “re-education” camps is there to combat separatism and Islamist militancy in the region.

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