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WALL STREET JOURNAL: China’s Xi Made Rare Visit to East Turkistan

The below article was published by the Wall Street Journal, photo credit: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping this week made a uncommon look within the troubled area of Xinjiang, his first go to there in over eight years and his second journey in two weeks geared toward demonstrating nationwide unity after touring Hong Kong, as he seeks to elongate his rule.

Early Friday, state media shops carried about 1 1/2 minutes of China Central Television footage displaying Mr. Xi in authorities places of work, a museum, lecture rooms and a commerce zone within the Xinjiang capital Urumqi. Mr. Xi was greeted by musicians and dancers in gown historically worn by members of the largely Muslim Uyghur minority, an ethnic group focused by what the U.S. and different Western governments say is an unlimited assimilation program.

China’s authorities denies it mistreats its ethnic minorities and says Xinjiang coverage is a home matter. The transient reporting about Mr. Xi’s go to appeared to emphasise nationwide unity as a substitute of ethnic divisions.

The shock go to caps an nearly two-week interval during which Mr. Xi hasn’t appeared in state media making a public look, an unusually very long time for China’s high chief to be out of view. This 12 months is important for Mr. Xi politically as he completes what analysts predict will probably be his bid to stay in energy for a 3rd time period. China’s authorities typically withholds information of Mr. Xi’s travels till his journey is concluded.Chinese President Xi Jinping took a practice to Hong Kong forward of the twenty fifth anniversary of the town’s handover from Britain. It’s his first journey exterior of the mainland in additional than two years. Photo: CCTV

The journey to Xinjiang got here on the heels of Mr. Xi’s go to over two days to Hong Kong in late June to mark 25 years for the reason that former British colony returned to Chinese sovereignty. It was Mr. Xi’s first go to there since Beijing imposed a strict nationwide safety legislation that critics together with the U.S. authorities say curtailed rights within the as soon as freewheeling metropolis.

Mr. Xi isn’t recognized to have visited Xinjiang since proof started rising that the Chinese authorities had expanded a yearslong marketing campaign of forcible assimilation and omnipresent surveillance by holding members of the area’s largely Muslim ethnic minorities in mass-detention internment camps.

The Chinese chief toured Xinjiang in April 2014 when, within the wake of violent incidents elsewhere in China that Beijing blamed on ethnic separatists together with Uyghurs from Xinjiang, he ordered army personnel within the area to “strike first” at terrorists. Hours after that four-day go to ended, Chinese media reported an assault involving knives and explosives at an Urumqi railway station that left a number of folks lifeless.

By 2018, Western human rights teams, governments and media have been documenting proof that surveillance of Uyghurs and a few members of different ethnic minorities had been vastly stepped up in Xinjiang and a few have been being mass-detained in internment camps and others topic to pressured labor. Estimates of these detained later topped a million.

Beijing has described the amenities as vocational faculties. This month, Foreign Ministry spokesman

Zhao Lijian

stated, “Xinjiang-related issues are of major concern to China. The so-called forced labor in Xinjiang is an outrageous lie from the U.S. side to smear and contain China.”

Shortly earlier than leaving workplace in January 2021, the Trump administration declared China’s exercise in Xinjiang as genocide, a time period the Biden administration has since adopted.

Western governments have additionally imposed financial sanctions on some Chinese officers concerned in Xinjiang coverage, and reduce commerce and funding hyperlinks to the area. The U.S. and a few allies diplomatically boycotted this 12 months’s Winter Olympics in Beijing in protest over Xinjiang coverage, in addition to China’s insurance policies towards Hong Kong.

In the transient report on Mr. Xi’s newest journey to Xinjiang, media stated its goal was a chance for the president to know Xinjiang’s strengthening of expertise, Covid-19 management, financial and social improvement, and reinforce the Chinese nation’s unity. A poster behind aged folks in Uyghur clothes who danced for Mr. Xi learn: “All ethnicities are one loving family; collectively building the China Dream with one heart,” utilizing one among Mr. Xi’s favored slogans.

Mr. Xi has stayed away from Xinjiang lately in a bid to create distance between China’s central authorities and the atrocities which have taken place, stated Salih Hudayar, the Washington, D.C.-based prime minister of a self-declared government-in-exile for East Turkistan. He interpreted Mr. Xi’s emphasis on native communities throughout the go to as signaling a extra “micro-level emphasis” on management for folks within the area.

Separately, Omer Kanat, an ethnic Uyghur who directs the Uyghur Human Rights Project in Washington, in an e mail criticized the president’s go to. “To see Uyghurs smiling and dancing in front of the man responsible for atrocities is difficult to bear, especially given how far the government has gone to erase genuine expressions of culture,” he wrote.

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