Xinjiang Authorities Continue Security Measures, Propaganda Campaigns
Authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have continued to promote restrictive security measures and widespread propaganda campaigns throughout fall 2008, according to various reports from the region. As noted in the Congressional-Executive Commission on China 2008 Annual Report (via the Government Printing Office Web site), repression increased in the region earlier in the year amid preparations for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, limited reports of terrorist activity, and protests among Tibetan and Uyghur communities in China.
Authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have continued to promote restrictive security measures and widespread propaganda campaigns throughout fall 2008, according to various reports from the region. As noted in the Congressional-Executive Commission on China 2008 Annual Report (via the Government Printing Office Web site), repression increased in the region earlier in the year amid preparations for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, limited reports of terrorist activity, and protests among Tibetan and Uyghur communities in China. In the aftermath of these events, XUAR government chairperson Nur Bekri outlined in September increased measures to "strike hard" against perceived threats in the region, casting blame on U.S.-based Uyghur rights activist Rebiya Kadeer and "western hostile forces." The same month, XUAR Communist Party Secretary Wang Lequan described plans to launch regionwide anti-separatism education later in the year. (See copies of Nur Bekri's and Wang's remarks (1, 2), both posted on September 11 on Tianshan Net.) The XUAR government has long equated some expressions of ethnic identity, peaceful dissent, and religious practice with separatism or other perceived threats to stability, spurring harsh security campaigns in the region and wide-scale rights abuses. Measures reported in the fall include:
Widespread Security Measures and Anti-Separatism Campaigns
Both central and local government authorities called for intensifying security measures and promoting anti-separatism campaigns. Reports include:
- In a visit to Kashgar in late September, Ismail Tiliwaldi, Vice-Chair of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, called on officials to strengthen stability work, implement preventative measures, and recognize the notion that stability "is above all else," according to a September 27 Xinjiang Daily report. At a meeting on anti-separatism reeducation held by the XUAR procuratorate on December 1, a procuratorate official also called on officials to recognize that stability "is above all else," according to a December 3 article from the Xinjiang Legal Daily.
- Authorities in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture continued to implement a prefecture-wide "Oppose Separatism, Safeguard Stability" campaign. (See the CECC 2008 Annual Report for earlier reports on the campaign.) Ghulja (Yining) city's mayor said the city would deepen the campaign, according to an October 15 report on the Ili News Net. In Qorghas (Huocheng) county, in Ili, authorities reported positively on stability work, noting that within the year, the government had uncovered three cases of "inciting separatism" and seven cases of "using superstition to undermine implementation of the law" and had eliminated a "holy war" training class, according to a November 4 report also from the Ili News Net. The article gave no further details on the "inciting separatism" charges, but XUAR authorities in the past have imprisoned people on similar charges based on peaceful forms of expression.
- At an October 21 meeting devoted to a two-month phase of anti-separatism reeducation activities, Urumqi Communist Party Committee Secretary Li Zhi called on the government and Party to strengthen the battle against separatism and resolutely stop "illegal religious activities," according to an October 22 report on the China Xinjiang Web site.
Campaigns Targeting Students and Schools
Schools continued to enforce anti-separatism education throughout the fall, according to reports from various government Web sites. Anti-separatism education has included emphasis on the "Three Upholds, Two Opposes," a campaign calling for safeguarding the "unification of the motherland," ethnic unity, and social stability, and opposing ethnic separatism and "illegal religious activities." (See a report posted February 22, 2008, on the Turpan Party Construction Web site for a description of anti-separatism education earlier in the year and a definition of the "Three Upholds, Two Opposes.") Recent reports of measures targeting students and educational staff include:
- At an October 6 meeting, XUAR Communist Party Committee Standing Committee Member Erkinjan Turaxun described the region's education system as an "important front" against separatism and called on teachers and cadres to strengthen their sense of responsibility and urgency in work against separatism and "infiltration," according to an October 8 report from the Xinjiang Daily.
- A township in Maralbéshi (Bachu) county, Kashgar district, described work to integrate the "Three Upholds, Two Opposes" into the curriculum, create guidelines for "restraining" and evaluating teachers, and promote education in topics including atheism, as part of the local school system's anti-separatism education, according to a November 11 report from the Xinjiang Peace Net. Authorities throughout Maralbéshi county have strengthened educational policies to guard against "ethnic separatism" and "illegal religious activities," according to a November 7 report from the Kashgar district government Web site. Under the leadership of the county's Communist Party secretary, authorities have prepared educational materials to advance the "Three Upholds, Two Opposes," requiring each classroom to hold at least one class per week on the topic.
- In October, authorities in Qaramay city launched a six-month period of anti-separatism education activities, according to a November 13 report from the Qaramay government Web site. According to the city's education bureau, the "three forces" of separatism, terrorism, and extremism had targeted schools for infiltration in recent years, and some students had participated in "extremist" religious groups and separatists groups, the article reported.
- The Communist Party branch and state-controlled labor union at a middle school in Qorghas county, Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, organized a ceremony on November 10 to have staff pledge loyalty to Communist Party policy on education, fight the "three forces" and resist "reactionary forces," according to a November 13 report on the Ili News Net.
Controls over Religion
Authorities have continued to ratchet up control over religious communities. As noted in the CECC 2008 Annual Report, local governments monitor sites of worship, and state-controlled Islamic Association branches throughout the XUAR align doctrine to government and Communist Party policy. Recent reports include:
- XUAR Communist Party Committee Standing Committee Member Shawket Imin called on Communist Party cadres from the United Front Work Department to take measures including strengthening "leadership" and "education" of religious people, strengthening cultivation and training of religious leaders, and curbing unauthorized religious pilgrimages and "illegal religious activities," according to an October 17 report from the Xinjiang Daily.
- The Qaramay city government implemented a system requiring high-level officials to make contact with and maintain oversight of mosques and religious figures, according to a November 19 report from the Qaramay government Web site. As noted in the CECC 2008 Annual Report, other local governments also have described implementing similar programs of fixed contact and oversight of mosques and leaders. (For detailed information on the program of contact and oversight known as the "two-point system," see, e.g., a July 4 report posted on November 12 on the Awat county government Web site, describing implementation of the system and listing plans to expand it in 2009 as part of a series of measures to tighten control over religion.)
- Authorities in Hoten district held anti-separatism reeducation training for Communist Party United Front Work Department officials who work on religious issues to strengthen their capacity to "manage" religious work and carry out activities to "expose and condemn" Rebiya Kadeer and the "three forces," according to an October 16 report on the Hoten district government Web site.
For more information on conditions in Xinjiang, see Section II--Freedom of Religion and Section IV--Xinjiang in the CECC 2008 Annual Report.
NOTE: I have added Mandarin names in parentheses to Uyghur place names ONLY where the Mandarin and Uyghur versions are different, as in Qorghas (Huocheng). For names like Turpan (Tuerfan) and Ili (Yili), I do not include the Mandarin names, since they are just transliteration of the Uyghur names. PARA. 1 Based on information in Annual Report ________ "Widespread Security Measures and Anti-Separatism Campaigns"--BULLET 1 Text: In a visit to Kashgar in late September, Ismail Tiliwaldi, Vice-Chair of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, called on officials to strengthen stability work, implement preventative measures, and recognize the notion that stability "is above all else," Source: 9月21日至24日