Leaked Chinese documents reveal "merciless" policy in Xinjiang

A rare and massive leak of Chinese government documents has shed new light on the crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang, saying President Xi Jinping has ordered officials to act "mercilessly" against separatist tendencies. And extremism, according to a report published by the "New York Times."

Human rights groups and experts say more than a million Uighurs and other members of mostly Muslim minorities have been arrested in detention camps across the western region.

The 403-page internal documents obtained by the paper provide an unprecedented glimpse of the highly secretive controversial Communist Party campaign. The security crackdown has come under increasing international criticism, especially from the United States.

The documents include Shi's previously unpublished letters, as well as guidance and reports on censorship and control of members of the Uighur minority, the paper reported over the weekend.

The leaked documents also indicate a sense of unease within the ruling party over the security crackdown.

The documents leaked an unidentified member of the Chinese political establishment expressed the hope that the disclosure of documents will prevent the leadership, including Xi from "escaping conviction on the back of widespread arrests," according to the newspaper.

In a 2014 speech to officials after Uighur gunmen killed 31 people at a railway station in southwest China, Xi called for "confronting terrorism, infiltration and separation" using "dictatorships" and not showing "any mercy at all."

Detention camps expanded rapidly following the appointment of a new party leader in Xinjiang, Huang Guangyu.

According to the "New York Times", Shane distributed letters to the President to justify the security campaign and urged officials to "arrest all who should be arrested."

Chen is known in the party circles for his way of dealing with minorities, in the past leading hard-line policies aimed at crushing the opposition in Tibet.

The leaked documents included a guide on the answers to be given to students who returned to Xinjiang to find their family members missing or detained in the camps.

According to the directives, officials were asked to say that family members of these students were infected with the "virus" of radical thinking and needed treatment before "a small disease became a serious illness."

Neither the Chinese Foreign Ministry nor the Xinjiang regional government has yet to respond to AFP's request for comment.

The documents also highlight the party's punishment of an official named Wang Yongyi who was investigated from 2017 to 2018 for failing to comply with the party's orders.

Wang launched a personal initiative of more than 7,000 people from camps in Xinjiang and expressed concern that "the arrest of so many people could provoke conflict and deepen discontent," according to Luang's confessions leaked to The New York Times.

After initially denying the existence of the camps, China later described them as merely vocational colleges aimed at keeping detainees out of Islamic extremism and violence through vocational education and training.

But rights groups and foreign media, including Agence France-Presse, said official documents and satellite images showed the facilities were set up and run as prisons.

James Lippold, an expert on interracial relations in China and a professor at Melbourne's La Trobe University, said the leaks "clearly confirm, in the words of the party itself, its widespread and systematic detention of Muslims in Xinjiang extrajudicially."

He told AFP that the documents show that "there was resistance at the local level," so that local officials who disagreed with that approach were punished or cleansed.

He added that the leak of documents is "an important indicator of the presence of many within the party believe that this policy is wise and hope to be held Shi Jinping and Xin Guangyu."

 

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