Leaked Chinese documents show details of Xinjiang crackdown: NYT

Beijing denies any mistreatment of Uighur Muslims and says it’s providing vocational training to stamp out ‘extremism’.

China Xinjiang
People at the Kashgar city vocational educational training centre attend a Chinese lesson during a government-organised visit in January this year [File: Ben Blanchard/Reuters]

A trove of leaked government documents details China‘s clampdown on Uighurs and other Muslims in the country’s western Xinjiang region under President Xi Jinping, the New York Times reported.

United Nations experts and activists say at least one million Uighurs and members of other largely Muslim minority groups have been detained in camps in Xinjiangin a crackdown that has drawn condemnation from the United States and other countries.

China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom on Monday dismissed the report on the government’s policies in Xinjiang as “pure fabrication” and “fake news”.

Beijing denies any mistreatment of the Uighurs or others in Xinjiang and says it is providing vocational training to help stamp out “extremism and separatism” and teach new work-related skills.

Asked in London about the Times article, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming told a press conference: “I can categorically deny there is such a document. It is sheer, pure fabrication.”

The documents, which the newspaper on Saturday said were leaked by “a member of the Chinese political establishment,” reportedly show how Xi gave a series of internal speeches to officials during and after a 2014 visit to Xinjiang following a stabbing attack by Uighur fighters at a train station that killed 31 people.

The report said Xi called for an “all-out ‘struggle against terrorism, infiltration, and separatism’ using the ‘organs of dictatorship,’ and showing ‘absolutely no mercy’.”

The documents show the Chinese leadership’s fears were heightened by “terrorist attacks” in other countries and the US’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

It is unclear how the documents totalling 403 pages were gathered and selected, the newspaper said. 

‘Not another Chechnya’

The state-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial on Monday the Times’ report “lacks morality” and accused some in the West of being “eager to see Xinjiang engulfed in extreme violence and chaos”.

It said China had taken “decisive measures” in the region to ensure it did not become “another Republic of Chechnya”.

The documents show how officials were given talking points to explain to returning university students that their family members had been taken away for training, and how the programme faced pushback from some local officials, the report said.

They also show internment camps expanded quickly after Chen Quanguo was appointed in August 2016 as the party boss of the region, it said. Chen had taken a tough line to quell restiveness against Communist Party rule during his previous posting in Tibet.

Source: Reuters