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Uyghur genocide, imprisonment plans revealed through leaked Chinese documents

Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia. They are recognized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China.

Vani Mehrotra Edited By: Vani Mehrotra @vani_mehrotra New Delhi Updated on: June 30, 2022 10:10 IST
Uyghur genocide, Uyghur, China
Image Source : AP

Leaked documents show China's plan of Uyghur repression

Highlights

  • The documents were retrieved from internment camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)
  • Among the documents is a speech by Chinese Communist Party secretary of the XUAR, Chen Quanguo
  • Chen described the campaign strategy of governing Xinjiang that was directed by Xi Jinping

Uyghur genocide: The Chinese government has planned genocide and crimes against Uyghurs, leaked documents -- known as Xinjiang Police Files have revealed. These documents were retrieved from the internment camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and contain information about over 20,000 detained Uyghurs, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

Among the documents is a May 2017 speech by the Chinese Communist Party secretary of the XUAR (August 2016 - December 2021), Chen Quanguo. 

He said that the Chinese government's crackdown in Xinjiang was not an act of stamping out criminals but rather an "extinction war" aimed at the Uyghur population. He called the Uyghurs an "enemy class."

Chen described the campaign strategy of governing Xinjiang that was directed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping and included the imprisonment of Uyghurs. According to the files, Chen's instructions in his speech were based on directives received from China's central government.

The former official also said that those detainees, who were sentenced to fewer than five years in prison should be mobilized for "learning law" and "bilingual learning," and be released only after they reached a satisfactory study level no matter how many years it took, reported RFA.

The former official said Uyghurs deemed untrustworthy or harmful by the Chinese government had to be educated to the extent that they were committed to "completely freeing themselves from such ideas once they return to society."

In his speech, Chen Quanguo mentioned Uyghurs as 'harmful' people. 

The Chinese government considers being "poisoned by terrorism, violence and extremism" or during contact with foreigners. Chen said such people needed to be "treated" in what he called a "people's war."

Information in the Xinjiang Police Files and other research reports and leaked documents suggest that what Chen referred to as poison included Uyghur traditions and Islamic activities.

Another important part of Chen's speech was the extension of the government control over the Uyghur families. He believed that the police could monitor only a few households under what authorities called the "10 Families, One Ring" policy, creating a loophole in the surveillance of those who did not live in the vicinity of a police station, according to RFA.

To bring change to Uyghur communities and also to shape their way of living into Chinese ideas, Beijing imposed a "national language" on the Muslim ethnic minority.

In just a few months it was possible for the children to sing the national anthem in Chinese and to love the "great motherland," Beijing and Tiananmen Square, Chen said.

"Only in this way can we make the next generation hopeful for long-term stability, follow the party and be grateful to the party," Chen said.

Who are Uyghurs?

Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia. They are recognized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China. They are one of China's 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities. The Uyghurs are recognized by the Chinese government as the titular people of Xinjiang.

The Uyghurs speak their own language, which is similar to Turkish. They make up less than half of the Xinjiang population.

Recent decades have seen a mass migration of Han Chinese (China's ethnic majority) into Xinjiang, allegedly orchestrated by the state to dilute the minority population there.

China has also been accused of targeting Muslim religious figures and banning religious practices in the region, as well as destroying mosques and tombs.

Uyghur activists say they fear that the group's culture is under threat of erasure.

There are about 12 million Uyghurs, mostly Muslim, living in Xinjiang, which is officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

(With inputs from agencies)

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