Xinjiang Authorities Announce Heightened Security Threat, Strengthen Security Capacity, and Continue Propaganda Campaigns
Authorities throughout the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have continued in late 2008 and early 2009 to implement harsh security controls and widespread propaganda campaigns in the name of preserving stability, while a top official in the region said in March 2009 that the XUAR will face a more serious security terrain in the coming year.
Official: More Serious Security Issues for XUAR in 2009
Speaking at a press conference on March 6, XUAR government chairperson Nur Bekri said that the region's battle against separatism would be "more severe, the task more strenuous, and the conditions for battle more intense," according to a March 6 Xinhua article and March 7 Tianshan Net report. Nur Bekri attributed security threats to "Western hostile forces" and to the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism, which he said would continue to carry out activities to "divide" and "sabotage" the region, according to the Tianshan Net report. He said all threats to the region would meet with "hard strikes" and "firm opposition" from the people. In January 2009, a national White Paper on China's national defense (via the Chinese government Web site) included supporters of "East Turkistan independence"--a reference to perceived separatist movements directed toward the XUAR--as one of three threats to "China's unity and security." As described in the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) 2007 and 2008 Annual Reports, authorities have used security campaigns in the XUAR as a pretext for squelching peaceful dissent and controlling expressions of ethnic and religious identity, especially among the ethnic Uyghur population.
Nur Bekri's remarks come during a period of heightened security controls within the region. Authorities increased controls in 2008 amid preparations for the Olympic Games, intensified anti-terrorism campaigns in the region, and in response to protests among Uyghurs and Tibetans in China. (See the CECC 2008 Annual Report for more information.) In the aftermath of these events, authorities continued throughout fall 2008 to enforce harsh security measures and widespread ideological campaigns, efforts which have continued into late 2008 and 2009. Recently reported measures include:
Increased Capacity by Security Forces
The central and XUAR governments reported on measures in recent months to bolster overall security capacity throughout the region, according to reports from late 2008 and 2009. At a region-wide meeting held on March 5 and 6, XUAR public security officials pledged to strengthen stability measures, according to a March 6 report from the Xinjiang Daily. While the measures address the central government's general directive to "protect growth, the people's livelihood, and stability" throughout China (see, e.g., a March 4 China News Net article and February 14 Xinhua article), the meeting also singled out strengthened security measures in order to defeat the threat of the "three forces" within the XUAR. The Xinjiang Daily report also described police measures in January to root out "illegal" religious instruction classes, which led to over 20 detentions. The news follows the Central Military Commission's upgrade of the status of the Xinjiang people's armed police force in November in a measure described as increasing the force's capacity to respond to threats to stability, as reported in a November 27, 2008, Tianshan Net report (via NetEase), November 28 Xinhua article, and January 12, 2009, Tianshan Net article.
Local governments within the XUAR also reported on strengthening security measures. In March, authorities in Poskam (Zepu) county, Kashgar district, described measures to strengthen security work through measures that include mobilization of public security, procuratorate, court, and justice department staff to conduct nightly patrols, and a rapid response system to summon the public security bureau, people's armed police, and people's militia, according to a March 12 report from the Kashgar district government Web site. A month earlier, an official from the Aqsu district government outlined four broad measures for ensuring stability that included calls for a strengthening of intelligence networks, stepped-up controls over religious activity, and an increase in ideological propaganda, according to a February 23 report from the Aqsu District Environment Protection Bureau (via the XUAR Environmental Protection Bureau). The official also called for building off the successful experiences in Olympics security arrangements to tighten the district's "prevention and control" system within society.
Continued Ideological Campaigns
Authorities continue to implement widespread ideological campaigns targeting various communities within the XUAR. The educational campaigns as described in some reports have included sharp rhetoric against peaceful human rights activities.
Wide-scale Campaigns Target Students, Other Groups. Government Reports High Participation Rate
Authorities in Kashgar city, Kashgar district, outlined work on anti-separatism reeducation that has divided the education into three phases, extending through April 2009, according to a December 22 report from the Kashgar district government Web site. The three phases will include a period of study, a period of "exposing and criticizing," and a period of "self-examination and rectification," according to the report. The report described plans to form teams of cadres and religious personnel to bring anti-separatism education to groups including religious adherents, workers, youth, students and teachers, and migrants. Describing anti-separatism education for students as a "long-term and arduous job," an official in Ghulja (Yining) city, Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, outlined plans to strengthen anti-separatism education in schools, including through mandatory classes on patriotism and ethnic unity that exceed national requirements and through oversight measures implemented for the winter vacation, according to a February 5 report on the Ili News Net. The measures include arranging for teachers to visit students in their homes during vacation, requiring students to visit campus twice a month, and requiring students to do assignments seen as promoting ethnic unity, according to the report. During a three-month period of anti-separatism reeducation starting in October, authorities in Hoten district reported that 300,000 people directly received anti-separatism education and that in total, propaganda efforts reached more than 95 percent of the population, according to a February 8 report from the Xinjiang Daily. In addition to educating the public on stability threats, the activities also spread information on Communist Party policies in areas including religion, population planning, and "bilingual" education, according to the report.
Anti-Separatist Campaigns Target Rebiya Kadeer and Overseas Organizations
Two reports from the Qizilsu Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture (Qizilsu KAP) described anti-separatist propaganda campaigns that included harsh attacks against Rebiya Kadeer and groups including an organization that promotes human rights for Uyghurs. Rebiya Kadeer, a former political prisoner in China, is a U.S.-based civic leader and activist who has advocated for human rights for Uyghurs. Since Rebiya Kadeer's release from prison in 2005, authorities have harassed her family members remaining in the XUAR, culminating in prison sentences given to two of her sons in 2006 and 2007.
According to a report from the Qizilsu Anti-Separatism Office posted December 19 on the Xinjiang Peace Net, officials from the Qizilsu KAP traveled to an impoverished area to deliver anti-separatism propaganda education to 6 impoverished households and over 30 cadres. The report said that the education clarified the "reactionary fallacies" spread by the likes of Rebiya Kadeer and the "three forces." The report also singled out groups including the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), a Germany-based organization headed by Rebiya Kadeer that promotes human rights and democracy for the Uyghur people. A village cadre said officials would strengthen anti-separatism education and focus especially on religious figures, women, and youth, according to the report. In a prefecture-wide effort to focus on specific populations during anti-separatism propaganda education activities launched throughout the Qizilsu KAP, the Communist Party-led Qizilsu Women's Association issued a "Letter to Women of the Prefecture" to mobilize them to participate in anti-separatist propaganda education activities, according to a report from the Qizilsu Anti-Separatism Office posted December 19 on the Xinjiang Peace Net. According to the report, the letter educated women in seeing that Rebiya Kadeer was a "running dog" for anti-China sentiment in the West and a common enemy of the people, as well as a "bad woman" unable to "even properly educate her own children." The letter also denounced groups including the "three forces," the WUC, and "Tibet Independence." The letter called on women to be good wives, mothers, and daughters, and expose the "true evil intent" behind Rebiya Kadeer's calls for human rights and democracy. (For additional information on anti-separatism campaigns, including in the Qizilsu KAP, see a March 5 report on the Xinjiang Peace Net, providing more information on the scope and content of anti-separatism education in the Qizilsu KAP, as well as a December 15 report from the Xinjiang Legal Daily describing anti-separatist education activities among officials. For a detailed example of the content of anti-separatism propaganda education, see a question-and-answer sheet used in anti-separatism reeducation, dated November 12 from the Kelpin (Keping) county, Aqsu district, government Web site, available as a cached page.)
Controls Over Religion
Authorities have tightened control over religious activity as part of heightened security measures. See a related CECC analysis for information on measures recently reported by local governments, including carrying out a campaign aimed at "weakening religious consciousness," implementing rules to expel religious leaders for missing political study classes, monitoring students' activities during school vacations, and holding open trials to punish "illegal religious activity" and demonstrate its consequences to the public.
PARA. 1 TEXT: Speaking at a press conference on March 6, XUAR government chairperson Nur Bekri said that the region's battle against separatism would be "more severe, the task more strenuous, and the conditions for battle more intense," according to a March 6 Xinhua article and March 7 Tianshan Net report. SOURCE: "The (security) situation will be more severe, the task more arduous, and the struggle more fierce in the region this year," Nur Bekri, chairman of the Xinjiang regional government, said on the sidelines of the annual parliament session. 天山网讯(记者成立新 王新红 杨冶报道)出席十一届全国人大二次会议的新疆代表团代表今天(3月6日)下午在全团审议政府工作报告后接受中外记者采访。...今年是新中国成立60周 年，也是新疆和平解放60周年，“三股势力”决不会善罢甘休，必然会采取各种方式和手段，对我进行渗透、分裂、破坏活动，我们面临的反分裂形势更加严峻， 任务更加繁重，斗争形势将更为激烈。对此我们有着清醒的认识。 --- TEXT: Nur Bekri attributed security threats to "western hostile forces" and to the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism, which he said continue to carry out activities to "divide" and "sabotage" the region. SOURCE: 但是，西方敌对势力一刻都没有放松和停止对我进行分裂破坏活动。今年是新中国成立60周年，也是新疆和平解放60周年，“三股势力”决不会善罢甘休，必然 会采取各种方式和手段，对我进行渗透、分裂、破坏活动， --- TEXT: He said all threats to the region would meet with "hard strikes" and "firm opposition" from the people. SOURCE: 但是，有党中央、国务院的亲切关怀，有自治区党委、人民政府的坚强领导，有全国各族人民的强大支持，有新疆各族人民坚如磐石的团结，任何敌对势力的分裂、 破坏活动，所有危害新疆安定团结、祖国边防稳固的行为，都会遭到新疆各族人民的坚决反对，都将受到严厉打击，必将彻底失败！ --- TEXT: In January 2009, a national White Paper on China's national defense (via the Chinese government Web site) included supporters of "East Turkistan independence"--a reference to perceived separatist movements directed toward the XUAR--as one of the three outstanding threats to "China's unity and security." SOURCE: Separatist forces working for "Taiwan independence," "East Turkistan independence" and "Tibet independence" pose threats to China's unity and security. ________ PARA. 2 Based on info in AR and linked blurb ________ PARA. 3 TEXT: At a region-wide meeting held on March 5 and 6, XUAR public security officials pledged to strengthen stability measures, according to a March 6 report from the Xinjiang Daily. SOURCE: 3月6日从新疆公安厅获悉，新疆警方将突出重点，全面强化各项维护稳定措施，坚决挫败“三股势力”的各种分裂破坏图谋，全力维护社会安定团结，促进边疆和 谐稳定。 新疆公安厅三月五日至六日在乌鲁木齐市召开全新疆公安局处长会议。此次会议透露的信息表明，面对当前错综复杂的国际金融危机，为进一步落实中央 “保增长、保民生、保稳定”的总体要求，各级公安机关将明确目标，突出重点，全面强化各项维护稳定措施，坚决挫败“三股势力”的各种分裂破坏图谋。 --- TEXT: While the measures address general central government direction to "protect growth, the people's livelihood, and stability" throughout China SOURCE: Xinjiang Daily: 为进一步落实中央 “保增长、保民生、保稳定”的总体要求， China News: 中新社北京三月四日电 中共中央总书记、中国国家主席、中央军委主席胡锦涛指出，今年是应对国际金融危机冲击、保持中国经济平稳较快发展的关键一年。切实做好保增长、保民生、保 稳定各项工作，对于维护改革发展稳定大局，推进全面建设小康社会进程，具有十分重要的意义。 Xinhua: 新华网重庆２月１４日电（记者顾瑞珍）中共中央政治局常委、全国政协主席贾庆林近日在重庆调研时强调，要认真学习贯彻中央经济工作会议精神，把思想和行动 统一到中央的决策部署上来，齐心协力、同舟共济、共克时艰，坚决实现保增长、保民生、保稳定的任务，以优异成绩迎接新中国成立６０周年 --- TEXT: the meeting also singled out strengthened security measures in order to defeat the threat of the "three forces" within Xinjiang. It also described earlier measures to root out "illegal" religious classes and detain those involved. SOURCE: 为进一步落实中央 “保增长、保民生、保稳定”的总体要求，各级公安机关将明确目标，突出重点，全面强化各项维护稳定措施，坚决挫败“三股势力”的各种分裂破坏图谋。 [...] 据悉，新疆公安机关以防范和打击“三股势力”、维护国家安全为中心任务，以民众满意为落脚点，为了进一步增强一线民警执勤安全保障度，新疆公安厅利用中 央补助资金，为交巡警、派出所等一线民警配备了单警防护装备。 据了解，一月份警方曾先后在洛浦县、阿瓦提县取缔三处非法教经点，抓获二十余名非法教学经人员，有效维护了社会政治稳定。 --- TEXT: The news follows the Central Military Commission's upgrade of the status of the Xinjiang people's armed police force in November in a measure described as increasing the force's capacity to respond to threats to stability, SOURCE: The armed police contingent in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has been elevated in status to highlight its greater role in the fight against terror and maintain social stability in the region, Xinhua learned Friday. The Central Military Commission decision to promote the the level of the Xinjiang armed police contingent "from the deputy corps command to the full corps command" was intended to better safeguard national security and social stability, according to Thursday's Xinjiang Daily seen here Friday. Yu Linxiang, Political Commissar of the People's Armed Police Forces (PAPF) announced the promotion at a meeting on Tuesday, local media said. The promotion was "an important decision" made out of the consideration of safeguarding national security, social stability and maintaining long-term peace and stability in Xinjiang, Yu was quoted as saying. 天山 November: 他说，中央军委批准调整武警新疆总队编制等级，这是从总队所处的战略地位、肩负的特殊使命出发，着眼维护国家安全和社会稳定、维护新疆长治久安作出的重要 决策。 Tianshan January: 王乐泉在介绍我区经济形势、对周边环境和今年面临的维稳形势进行了深入分析后说