After Hong Kong, Xi Visits Xinjiang To Demonstrate Scale Of Control

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Chinese president Xi Jinping on Thursday made a rare visit to China’s remote Xinjiang region eight years after he ordered the ‘strike hard’ campaign which targeted the Uyghur Muslims living in the area, leading to sanctions and souring of ties with the US over allegations of human rights abuse.
He also inspected the capital Urumqi and asked the Communist Party of China workers to strengthen party organizations and offer services which will benefit residents of all ethnic groups, Chinese government mouthpiece Xinhua reported on Thursday.
He urged better preservation of China’s minority groups while visiting a museum where he watched a performance by the Kyrgyz ethnic minority.
Speaking to news agency Bloomberg, James Millward, professor of history at Georgetown University, said this was Xi’s strategy of ‘erasure by inclusion’ following the campaign undertaken under his presidency to disempower them.
Xi lauded Urumqi by calling it a hub for China’s Belt and Road ambitions. He spent two days in the region.
The expert also told Bloomberg that Xi’s comments were a reflection of China taking note that the world is taking note of what is happening in Xinjiang. “The bulldozers have razed shrines and mosques, religious faith is criminalized, and children are prevented from speaking their native language, unless it’s Mandarin,” Millward was quoted as saying by Bloomberg, an apparent reference to the systemic brutality exacted upon Uyghur and other ethnic minorities.
Xi’s visit to Xinjiang follows his visit to Hong Kong. The visit to the two restive provinces comes ahead of his precedent-breaking third term where the Chinese rubber stamp parliament is expected to make way for Jinping.
Xi successfully crushed the resistance these two regions had put up against the Communist Party-led oppression. Xi used his visits as a show of power to the Politburo committee ahead of the twice-a-decade party congress.
China in 2014 clamped down on separatists after terrorists used knives and bombs to attack a train station in Urumqi leading to three deaths and hundreds of injuries. Following that the Chinese government officially encouraged the dominant Han ethnic group and pushed them to take up cotton growing, dairy farming and solar panel production instead of giving it to the locals.
During this time, an estimated 1 million Uyghurs and other local ethnic minorities were forced into so called reeducation camps which were detention camps where they were tortured for trivial reasons like having beards or practicing their own religion.
The US and several other nations have called this an act of genocide which the Chinese government says are baseless claims.
(with inputs from Bloomberg)
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