Archive for ‘Xinjiang’

14/02/2019

Pakistan and China build friendship ties at Aman – 19 multinational naval exercise but no room for India on the guest list

  • Chinese naval commander says war games strengthened mutual understanding and trust
  • Drills included protection of strategic projects such as China-Pakistan economic corridor
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 February, 2019, 8:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 February, 2019, 8:02pm

Pakistan’s multinational naval drill involving 46 nations has wrapped up in the Indian Ocean and, once again, India was not invited.

The Pakistan Navy has hosted the Aman – which means “peace” – exercises every two years since 2007 to promote regional cooperation and stability. India has never been invited, in a sign of the long history of strained ties between the neighbours.

China, Japan and the United States were among the countries taking part in Aman-19, from February 8 to 12, which included maritime conferences, seminars and cross-ship visits, as well as 23 sea operations with main-gun firing, formation movement and replenishment-at-sea.

Shao Shuguang, commander of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s 998 Fleet, was quoted on a Chinese military social media account as saying the exercise had strengthened mutual understanding and trust between the participating navies.

China sent one of its biggest warships, the Kunlun Shan amphibious landing vessel, to the exercise, signalling its close relationship with Pakistan and the key role both nations hold in the Indian Ocean, according to analysts.

“The Pakistan-China relationship is very strong, and this is one more illustration of the strength of the Pakistan-China relationship,” said Madhav Das Nalapat, honorary director of the department of geopolitics and international relations at Manipal University in India.

“China is also now becoming an important maritime power, especially in the Indo-Pacific. By aligning with China, Pakistan hopes to get the synergy of that.

“India by itself cannot have any primacy in the Indian Ocean. But along with the United States, the two countries together can have primacy in the Indian Ocean. India is positioning itself to be allied with the US, but has not yet reached there.”

Tridivesh Singh Maini, assistant professor with the Jindal School of International Affairs in India, said the exercises should be a cause for alarm for India. “They will keep an eye on what’s going on, but they don’t need to be too concerned,” he said.

The military exercise also centred on maritime security to protect strategic economic projects such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, as well as sea lanes from the Persian Gulf.

The US$62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is designed to connect China’s far west region of Xinjiang with Gwadar Port in Pakistan via a network of motorways, railways, oil pipelines and trading hubs.

The project is expected to be finished by 2030, and will provide China with an important trading route to the Middle East and Africa.

“India has very strenuously objected to the name CPEC being given to the part that goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, but so far nothing has been done,” Nalapat said.

Kashmir has long been a hotbed for competing territorial claims between India and Pakistan. The two countries have fought three wars against each other since their independence from Britain in 1947, and two of those conflicts have centred on the Kashmir territorial dispute.

Source: SCMP

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12/02/2019

Uighur crackdown: ‘I spent seven days of hell in Chinese camps’

Aibota Serik
Image captionAibota Serik says her father has disappeared into China’s network of detention centres

The Chinese government calls them free “vocational training centres”; Aibota Serik, a Chinese Kazakh whose father was sent to one, calls them prisons.

Her father Kudaybergen Serik was a local imam in Tarbagatay (Tacheng) prefecture of China’s western Xinjiang region. In February 2018 the police detained him and Aibota hasn’t heard from her father since then.

“I don’t know why my father was imprisoned. He didn’t violate any laws of China, he was not tried in a court,” she says, clutching a small photo of him, before breaking down in tears.

I met Aibota together with a group of other Chinese Kazakhs in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city. They gathered in a small office to petition the Kazakh government to help secure the release of their relatives who had disappeared in “political re-education camps”.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has heard there are credible reports that around one million people have been detained in internment camps in Xinjiang. Almost all of them are from Muslim minorities such as the Uighurs, Kazakhs and others.

There are more than a million Kazakhs living in China. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, thousands moved to oil-rich Kazakhstan, encouraged by its policy to attract ethnic Kazakhs. Today, these people feel cut off from their relatives who stayed in China.

Nurbulat Tursunjan
Image captionNurbulat Tursunjan says the Chinese authorities have confiscated his parents’ passports

Nurbulat Tursunjan uulu, who moved to the Almaty region in 2016, says his elderly parents are unable to leave China and come to Kazakhstan because the authorities took away their passports.

Another petitioner, Bekmurat Nusupkan uulu, says that relatives in China are afraid to talk on the phone or on the popular Chinese messaging app WeChat. And they are right to be afraid, he says.

“My father-in-law visited me in February 2018. From my place, he called his son in China, he asked how he was and so on. Shortly after that his son Baurzhan was detained. He was told that he had received phone calls from Kazakhstan two or three times and was sent to a political camp.”

Human Rights Watch says detainees are held “without any due process rights – neither charged nor put on trial – and have no access to lawyers and family”.

Detention centre in Kashgar, ChinaImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionChina insists its detention centres, such as this one in the city of Kashgar, are for “vocational training”

Orynbek Koksybek is an ethnic Kazakh who spent several months in camps.

“I spent seven days of hell there,” he says. “My hands were handcuffed, my legs were tied. They threw me in a pit. I raised both my hands and looked above. At that moment, they poured water. I screamed.

“I don’t remember what happened next. I don’t know how long I was in the pit but it was winter and very cold. They said I was a traitor, that I had dual citizenship, that I had a debt and owned land.”

None of that was true, he says.

A week later Mr Koksybek was taken to a different place where he learnt Chinese songs and language. He was told he would leave if he learnt 3,000 words.

Orynbek Koksybek
Image captionOrynbek Koksybek says he was thrown into a pit

“In Chinese they call it re-education camps to teach people but if they wanted to educate, why do they handcuff people?

“They detain Kazakhs because they’re Muslims. Why imprison them? China’s aim is to turn Kazakhs into Chinese. They want to erase the whole ethnicity,” he says.

It is not possible to independently verify Orynbek Koksybek’s story, but his account is similar to many documented by Human Rights Watch and other activists.

The Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan has not replied to the BBC’s request for comment, but the Chinese authorities have been quoted in state media as saying the camps are “vocational training centres”, which aim to “get rid of an environment that breeds terrorism and religious extremism”.

The Kazakh government says that any restrictions on Chinese citizens in China are their internal matter, and it does not interfere. However, Kazakhstan says it will try to assist any Kazakh citizens who are detained in China.

Source: The BBC

12/02/2019

Next stop Xinjiang for one of China’s rising political stars Wang Junzheng

  • Trusted senior cadre tipped for leadership role in implementing Beijing’s ‘stabilising measures’ in the Uygur region
  • His career so far has been a fast track of rotation and promotion
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2019, 6:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2019, 6:53pm

Beijing has sent a trusted senior cadre – with a track record of versatility and economic development – to join the highest decision-making body of China’s highly sensitive Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Wang Junzheng, 56, has been appointed to Xinjiang’s 14-member Communist Party standing committee, according to an official statement on Monday. His new role was not specified in the two-paragraph announcement.

 

Analysts said he was expected to assume a leadership role in the party’s regional political and legal affairs commission – a critical body in the implementation of China’s “stabilising measures” in Xinjiang, which include the controversial “re-education camps” where up to 1 million people from the Muslim ethnic minority group are reportedly being held.

In a move that may have paved the way for such a role for Wang, the incumbent head of Xinjiang’s political and legal affairs commission – Zhu Hailun, 61 – was elected deputy head of Xinjiang’s People’s Congress in January. It is standard practice in China for deputy provincial level cadres to step down and take up such positions on reaching 60.

Dr Alfred Wu, an associate professor at Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, said that while there were other vacancies in both Xinjiang’s political and legal affairs commission and its united front work department, Wong’s legal experience made it likely he would take up the role vacated by Zhu.

A source familiar with Wang told the South China Morning Post he was among a group of cadres who had won the trust of President Xi Jinping.

Wang’s career has been on a fast track of rotation and promotion. He reached vice-provincial level when he was only 49 and, five years later, became an alternate member of the Central Committee – the party’s highest organ of power – at the 19th party congress in October 2017.

He moves to Xinjiang from the northeastern province of Jilin, where he was a member of the provincial party standing committee and party chief of Changchun, the provincial capital.

It was not all smooth sailing for Wang in Jilin, where his career was tainted by last year’s Changchun Changsheng vaccine scandal.

National outrage followed the revelation that one of China’s biggest vaccine makers, Changsheng Bio-tech, had systematically forged data in its production of rabies vaccines and had sold ineffective vaccines for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus that were given to hundreds of thousands of babies – some as young as three months old.

Heads rolled. Sackings included Jilin vice-governor Jin Yuhui, who had overseen food and drug regulation; Li Jinxiu, a former Jilin food and drug chief; Changchun mayor Liu Changlong; and Bi Jingquan, deputy director of the State Market Regulatory Administration in Beijing.

In a farewell speech published in People’s Daily on Monday, Wang apparently made a veiled reference to the scandal and admitted some shortcomings.

“Because of my constraints, I could have done better on some issues … and have failed to meet the expectations of the Party and people,” he said.

Alfred Wu said the Xinjiang posting showed Wang’s career had not been tainted by the Changchun vaccine scandal.

“Going to Xinjiang is both an opportunity and a challenge for Wang. If he can prove himself in stabilising Xinjiang, he will go further [in his career],” Wu said.

Xinjiang is Wang’s fourth provincial posting. He began his political career in Yunnan, southwestern China, where he spent nearly two decades working with many ethnic minority groups.

He was the legal chief of Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan, from 1988 to 2000 and also served as vice-president of the Yunnan Higher People’s Court from 2005 to 2007.

In 2009 Wang became party chief of Lijiang, a tourist city in Yunnan where the economy thrived under his watch.

“More importantly, he struck a balance between tourism development and environmental conservation and was noticed by the leadership,” a source said.

Wang left Yunnan in 2012 when he was promoted to provincial vice-governor of Hubei in central China. He later became party chief of the city of Xiangyang in Hubei province and was promoted to provincial party standing committee member in 2013.

After three years in Hubei, Wang headed north to Jilin, becoming Changchun party chief in January 2016.

Wang was born in the eastern province of Shandong. He graduated from Shandong University with a bachelor’s degree in socialism studies and a master’s in the same subject from Renmin University in Beijing in the 1980s. He attained his doctorate in management from Tsinghua University in 2006.

Source: SCMP

11/02/2019

China retaliates after Turkey’s claims about Abdurehim Heyit

screenshot of video appearing to show Abdurehim HeyitImage copyrightCRI
Image captionA screenshot of the footage appearing to show Mr Heyit

China has railed at Turkish claims it is mistreating its Uighur minority, after a dispute about the fate of a prominent musician.

Turkey cited reports Abdurehim Heyit had died in a detention camp, and called China’s treatment of the Uighurs a “great embarrassment for humanity”.

China then released a video allegedly showing Mr Heyit alive.

The Uighurs are a Muslim minority in north-western China who speak a language closely related to Turkish.

They have come under intense surveillance by the authorities and up to a million Uighurs are reportedly being detained. A significant number of Uighurs have fled to Turkey from China in recent years.

China has asked Turkey to revoke its “false” claims. A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said the musician was “very healthy”.

“We hope the relevant Turkish persons can distinguish between right and wrong and correct their mistakes,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

What is in the video?

The video was released by China Radio International’s Turkish-language service, which said Turkey’s criticism of China was unfounded.

Dated 10 February, the video features a man said to be Mr Heyit stating that he is in “good health”.

He gives the date of the video and says he has “never been abused”.

The man is wearing civilian clothes, and is speaking the Uighur language.

What did Turkey say?

Turkey foreign ministry had said that detained Uighurs were being subjected to “torture” in “concentration camps”.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the reports of Mr Heyit’s death “further strengthened the Turkish public’s reaction to the serious human rights violations in Xinjiang”.

China has described the comments as “completely unacceptable”.

Meanwhile Nury Turkel – chairman of the US-based Uyghur Human Rights Project – told the BBC that some aspects of the video were “suspicious”.

Mr Turkel says China has the technology to doctor the footage and said it was “their responsibility to prove the video is authentic”.

So far, few Muslim-majority countries have joined in public international condemnation of the allegations.

Analysts say many fear political and economic retaliation from China.

Presentational grey line

Turkey’s strategic blunder?

By John Sudworth, BBC News, Beijing

Critics have long seen Turkey’s silence over the plight of China’s Uighurs as a strategic blunder, undermining President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s lofty claim to moral leadership of the Muslim world.

But belatedly basing its condemnation of China’s system of internment camps on a wrongful claim of a death in custody might be seen as an even bigger blunder.

That is certainly the view of China’s foreign ministry. “The video clip has provided very good evidence for the truth,” the ministry’s spokeswoman said.

In reality, it’s impossible to verify anything about the status of Abdurehim Heyit. Before the claims of the musician’s death, and China’s quick rebuttal, there had been no official word about his detention at all.

Like hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, he had simply disappeared into a legal black hole.

And the video bears all the hallmarks of the forced, televised confessions regularly produced by the combined efforts of China’s Communist Party-controlled courts, police investigators and state-run media.

China has been quick to claim that the reports of Mr Heyit’s death prove that much of the criticism of the situation in Xinjiang is based on falsehoods.

But critics will continue to argue that the confusion – stemming from the lack of any independent scrutiny – shows precisely why there’s such growing concern, even, finally, in Turkey.

Presentational grey line

China’s hidden camps

BBC
Presentational grey line

What do we know about Heyit’s fate?

Heyit was a celebrated player of the dutar, a two-stringed instrument that is notoriously hard to master. At one time, he was venerated across China. He studied music in Beijing and later performed with national arts troupes.

Mr Heyit’s detention reportedly stemmed from a song he had performed, titled Fathers. It takes its lyrics from a Uighur poem calling on younger generations to respect the sacrifices of those before them.

But three words in the lyrics – “martyrs of war” – apparently led Chinese authorities to conclude that Mr Heyit presented a terrorist threat.

Who are the Uighurs?

The Uighurs make up about 45% of the population in Xinjiang.

Media captionJohn Sudworth reports from Xinjiang, where one million Uighurs have reportedly been detained

They see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.

In recent decades, large numbers of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) have migrated to Xinjiang, and the Uighurs feel their culture and livelihoods are under threat.

Xinjiang is officially designated as an autonomous region within China, like Tibet to its south.

Source: The BBC

10/02/2019

Turkey demands China close camps after reports of musician’s death

John Sudworth reports from Xinjiang, where one million Uighurs have reportedly been detained

Turkey has called on China to close its detention camps following the reported death of a renowned musician from the ethnic Uighur minority.

Abdurehim Heyit is thought to have been serving an eight-year sentence in the Xinjiang region, where up to a million Uighurs are reportedly being detained.

A statement from Turkey’s foreign ministry said they were being subjected to “torture” in “concentration camps”.

China described the comments as “completely unacceptable”.

The Uighurs are a Muslim Turkic-speaking minority based in the north-west Xinjiang region of China, which has come under intense surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Their language is close to Turkish and a significant number of Uighurs have fled to Turkey from China in recent years.

So far few Muslim-majority countries have joined in public international condemnation of the allegations. Analysts say many fear political and economic retaliation from China.

What did Turkey say?

In a statement issued on Saturday, foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said: “It is no longer a secret that more than a million Uighur Turks exposed to arbitrary arrests are subjected to torture and political brainwashing” in prisons, adding that those not detained were “under great pressure”.

“The reintroduction of concentration camps in the 21st century and the systematic assimilation policy of Chinese authorities against the Uighur Turks is a great embarrassment for humanity,” Mr Aksoy said.

He also said the reports of Heyit’s death “further strengthened the Turkish public’s reaction to the serious human rights violations in Xinjiang” and called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “to take effective steps to end the human tragedy” there.

Presentational grey line

China’s hidden camps

BBC
Presentational grey line

Rights groups say Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities are being detained indefinitely without charge for infractions like refusing to give a DNA sample, speaking in a minority language, or arguing with officials.

What was Beijing’s response?

In a statement quoted by the Associated Press, China through its embassy in Ankara called on Turkey to withdraw its “false accusations”.

“Both China and Turkey face the arduous task of fighting terrorism. We are opposed to maintaining double standards on the question of fighting terrorism,” it said.

“We hope the Turkish side will have a correct understanding of the efforts made by China to legally deploy measures to effectively fight terrorism and extremism, withdraw its false accusations and take measures to eliminate their harmful effects.”

Beijing claims that the detention camps in Xinjiang are “vocational education centres” designed to help rid the region of terrorism.

Speaking last October, the top Chinese official in Xinjiang, Shohrat Zakir, said “trainees” in the camps were grateful for the opportunity to “reflect on their mistakes”.

What do we know about Heyit’s fate?

Amnesty International said it was very concerned about reports of his death, which has not been officially confirmed.

Heyit was a celebrated player of the Dutar, a two-stringed instrument that is notoriously hard to master. At one time, he was venerated across China. He studied music in Beijing and later performed with national arts troupes.

Heyit’s detention reportedly stemmed from a song he performed titled Fathers. It takes its lyrics from a Uighur poem calling on younger generations to respect the sacrifices of those before them.

But three words in the lyrics – “martyrs of war” – apparently led Chinese authorities to conclude that Heyit presented a terrorist threat.

Presentational grey line

Who are the Uighurs?

Uighur men read newspapers in Xinjiang (2015)Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

The Uighurs make up about 45% of the population in Xinjiang.

They see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.

In recent decades, large numbers of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) have migrated to Xinjiang, and the Uighurs feel their culture and livelihoods are under threat.

Xinjiang is officially designated as an autonomous region within China, like Tibet to its south.

Source: The BBC

07/01/2019

China says UN officials can visit Xinjiang as long as they ‘avoid interfering in domestic matters’

United Nations experts are welcome to visit China’s Xinjiang as long as they follow the proper procedures, Beijing said on Monday amid concerns over its internment and de-radicalisation programme in the far west region.

The statement, made during a foreign ministry press briefing, came after selected foreign media recently visited the internment facilities as part of an official tour.

A Pakistan-based news outlet reported over the weekend that Xinjiang’s chairman Shohrat Zakir told the visiting journalists that UN experts were also welcome to visit, so they could “know the real situation”.

When asked if Beijing had invited UN experts to the region, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that all parties, including UN officials, were welcome as long as they respected the appropriate travel procedures, Reuters reported.

UN officials should also “avoid interfering in domestic matters”, and adopt an objective and neutral attitude, he said.

06/01/2019

China says pace of Xinjiang ‘education’ will slow, but defends camps

URUMQI/KASHGAR/HOTAN, China (Reuters) – China will not back down on what it sees as a highly successful de-radicalisation programme in Xinjiang that has attracted global concern, but fewer people will be sent through, officials said last week in allowing rare media access there.

January 4, 2019. PREUTERS/Ben Blanchard

Beijing has faced an outcry from activists, scholars, foreign governments and U.N. rights experts over what they call mass detentions and strict surveillance of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and other Muslim groups who call Xinjiang home.

In August, a U.N. human rights panel said it had received credible reports that a million or more Uighurs and other minorities in the far western region are being held in what resembles a “massive internment camp.”

Last week, the government organised a visit to three such facilities, which it calls vocational education training centres, for a small group of foreign reporters, including Reuters.

In recent days, a similar visit was arranged for diplomats from 12 non-Western countries, including Russia, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Kazakhstan, according to Xinjiang officials and foreign diplomats.

Senior officials, including Shohrat Zakir, Xinjiang’s governor and the region’s most senior Uighur, dismissed what they called “slanderous lies” about the facilities.

Speaking in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, Shohrat Zakir said the centres had been “extremely effective” in reducing extremism by teaching residents about the law and helping them learn Mandarin.

“As time goes by, the people in the education training mechanism will be fewer and fewer,” he said.

Shohrat Zakir said he could not say exactly how many people were in the facilities.

“One million people, this number is rather frightening. One million people in the education mechanism – that’s not realistic. That’s purely a rumour,” he said, stressing they were temporary educational facilities.

Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Munich-based exile group the World Uyghur Congress, told Reuters the Chinese government was using extremism as an excuse to lock people up.

“What they are trying to do is destroy Uighur identity,” he said.

INSIDE THE CENTRES

Human rights groups and former detainees have said that conditions in the camps are poor, with inmates subject to abuse. They said detainees did not receive vocational training.

Seeking to counter that narrative, the government took reporters to three centres, in Kashgar, Hotan and Karakax, all in the heavily Uighur-populated southern part of Xinjiang, where much of the violence has taken place in recent years.

In one class reporters were allowed to briefly visit, a teacher explained in Mandarin that not allowing singing or dancing at a wedding or crying at a funeral are signs of extremist thought.

The students took notes, pausing to look up as reporters and officials entered the room. Some smiled awkwardly. Others just looked down at their books. All were Uighur. None appeared to have been mistreated.

In another class, residents read a Chinese lesson in their textbook entitled “Our motherland is so vast.”

There was plenty of singing and dancing in other rooms reporters visited, including a lively rendition in English of “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands,” that seemed to have been put on especially for the visit.

Several residents agreed to speak briefly to reporters, though all in the presence of government officials. Reporters were closely chaperoned at all times.

All the interviewees said they were there of their own accord after learning of the centres from local officials.

Many answers used extremely similar language about being “infected with extremist thought.”

Pazalaibutuyi, 26, told reporters at the Hotan centre that five years ago she had attended an illegal religious gathering at a neighbour’s house, where they were taught that women should cover their faces.

“At that time I was infected with extremist thought so I wore a face veil,” she said, speaking clear Mandarin after a year at the centre.

Government officials came to her village to talk to the villagers and after that, she said, “I discovered my mistake.”

In the Kashgar centre, Osmanjan, who declined to give his age, said he had incited ethnic hatred, so village police suggested he go for re-education.

“Under the influence of extremist thought, when non-Muslims came to my shop I was unwilling to serve them,” he said in unsteady Mandarin.

It was not possible to independently verify their stories. All the interviewees said they had not been forewarned of the visit.

Residents said they can “graduate” when they are judged to have reached a certain level with their Mandarin, de-radicalisation and legal knowledge. They are allowed phone calls with family members, but no cell phones. They are provided halal food.

Only minimal security was visible at any of the three centres.

Reuters last year reported on conditions inside the camps and took pictures of guard towers and barbed wire surrounding some. (tinyurl.com/y9zzouss)

‘A GOOD LIFE’

The situation in Xinjiang has stirred concern in Western capitals.

At least 15 Western ambassadors wrote to Xinjiang’s top official, Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo, late last year seeking a meeting to discuss their concerns. [nL4N1XQ2UR] Chen did not meet reporters on the trip.

Diplomatic sources told Reuters the ambassadors did not get a response.

The United States has said it is considering sanctions against Chen, other officials and Chinese companies linked to allegations of rights abuses in Xinjiang. [nL2N1VZ1WU]

Maya Wang, a Hong Kong-based Human Rights Watch researcher, said international pressure needs to increase.

“The fact that they feel they need to put on a show tour is a sign that this pressure is working,” she told Reuters.

Both Wang and Dilxat Raxit noted that the tight control over the visits and interviews showed China’s concern about their true nature.

Over a lunch of lamb kebabs, horse meat and naan, Urumqi party boss Xu Hairong told Reuters that “all of the reports are fake” when it comes to foreign coverage of Xinjiang. He dismissed worries about U.S. sanctions.

“We, including Party Secretary Chen, are working all out for the people of Xinjiang to have a good life,” Xu said. “If the U.S. won’t allow me to go, then I don’t want to go there. That’s the truth.”

The government says its goal is for Uighurs to become part of mainstream Chinese society. Shohrat Zakir said in parts of southern Xinjiang people couldn’t even say hello in Mandarin.

Officials point to a lack of violence in the past two years as evidence of programme’s success.

Urumqi’s Exhibition on Major Violent Terrorist Attack Cases in Xinjiang, normally closed to the public, displays graphic images and footage from what the government says are attacks.

“Only with a deeper understanding of the past can you understand the measures we have taken today,” Shi Lei, Xinjiang’s Communist Party committee deputy propaganda chief, told reporters.

One member of the Chinese armed forces, who has served in Kashgar, said the security situation had improved dramatically.

“You can’t imagine what it was like there in 2014 and 2015. There were attacks all the time, bombings, stabbings. It was chaos,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

In Kashgar, Hotan and Karakax, petrol stations are still surrounded by barbed wire and heavy security barriers. Residential areas are dotted with small police stations.

The stations have broader public service in mind, Zhang Yi, commander of one of the stations, told reporters. The one reporters visited provided pamphlets on a wide range of subjects, including how to legally change your sex.

Kashgar deputy party chief Zark Zurdun, a Uighur from Ghulja in northern Xinjiang, where many ethnic Kazakhs live, told Reuters that “stability is the best human right.”

“The West should learn from us” on how to beat extremism, he said, dismissing concerns Uighur culture was under attack.

“Did Kazakh vanish in the USSR when they all had to learn Russian?” he said. “No. So Uighur won’t vanish here.”

Source: Reuters

15/12/2018

Across China: Mixed farming enriches Xinjiang farmers

URUMQI, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) — For Wu Qingshan, a farmer in Burqin County in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a combination of growing sea buckthorn and raising chicken is the secret to wealth.

Wu has about 47 hectares of sea buckthorn, a shrub whose fruit is known for its richness in vitamin C. The land also serves as his open-air “chicken farm.”

“Growing up eating sea buckthorn and worms in the field, the chicken that I raise are more delicious and nutritious than regular ones,” Wu said.

“Each of my “sea buckthorn chicken” can be sold for more than 100 yuan (14.6 U.S. dollars), which is about 30 percent higher than regular ones.”

The concept of mixed farming, which involves growing crops and raising livestock, was new to Wu before the county government promoted it from 2011.

With the help of technicians sent by the government, he started to combine the planting of sea buckthorn and raising chicken in 2017.

“More than 90 percent of about 4,000 chickens that I have raised this year have been sold through e-commerce platforms,” he said. “The system of mixed farming helps increase my annual income by one-sixth.”

Li Zhengxin, another farmer in the county, sees the potential of mixed farming in agritourism.

He builds an orchard of sea buckthorn for tourists where they can pick and cook with the fruit and chicken.

“I can earn more than 500,000 yuan a year by managing the industry of agri-tourism,” Li said.

Burqin County invested about 1 million yuan to promote mixed farming featuring the planting of sea buckthorn and raising of chicken in 2018.

The county has broad areas that are suitable for sea buckthorn and other crops, which is a natural advantage for developing mixed farming, said Wang Gangyi, head of the forestry bureau of Burqin County.

The county has more than 1,000 hectares of plant area for mixed farming.

There is great potential in the land thanks to the new type of farming, said Li, who hopes to expand the scale of mixed farming in the future.

05/12/2018

China ‘rejects German human rights delegation’s request’ to visit Xinjiang

China has denied a German human rights delegation access to the far western region of Xinjiang to investigate mass detention centres for Uygurs, according to the German foreign ministry.

German Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler said on Tuesday that the request was made as part of preparations for the annual German-Chinese Human Rights Dialogue in Lhasa on Thursday and Friday.

“I am shocked by reports of the treatment of the Turkic Uygur minority, more than one million of whom are estimated to be imprisoned in internment camps in Xinjiang,” Kofler said, adding that she would continue to ask for permission to travel to Xinjiang.

She said she would also raise Germany’s concerns about religious freedom, civil society, and other human rights issues in China during the meeting in Tibet.

Germany has been a vocal critic of China’s human rights record, including the interment camps in Xinjiang

China says the camps are vocational training centres and part of its anti-terrorism efforts, but critics say Uygurs are forced into centres in violation of human rights.

Former inmates and monitoring groups say people in the camps are subjected to prison-like conditions and forced to renounce their religion and cultural background.

On a trip to China last month, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged Beijing to be more transparent about conditions in the camps.

Germany, along with the United States and France, called on China to close the camps during a United Nations review of China’s human rights record in Geneva last month.

Last week, Uygur woman Mihrigul Tursun told the United States Congress that she was tortured multiple times while detained in one of the centres, where a number of detainees died.

After the dialogue in Tibet, Kofler will return to Beijing to meet German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is on a state visit.

Last year’s human rights dialogue was cancelled by China, with neither China nor Germany saying why it was called off.

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