China's campaign in remote Xinjiang is set to intensify in the month of Ramzan with one report which said that monitoring of minority Muslim communities in the province had become invasive and another asserting that several thousand Muslims had been detained in “re-education camps”.
Thousands of Communist Party of China (CPC) cadres have been tasked with carrying out “home stays” with Muslim Uyghur families across the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) under an ongoing scheme broadly designed to “safeguard social stability”.
“During these visits, families are required to provide officials with information about their lives and political views and are subjected to political indoctrination,” Human Rights Watch said in a report released this week.
“Muslim families across Xinjiang are now literally eating and sleeping under the watchful eye of the state in their own homes. The latest drive adds to a whole host of pervasive and perverse controls on everyday life in Xinjiang,” HRW’s China researcher Maya Wang said.
“Since 2014, Xinjiang authorities have sent 200,000 cadres from government agencies, state-owned enterprises, and public institutions to regularly visit and surveil people. Authorities state that this initiative, known as ‘fanghuiju’ which stands for ‘Visit the People, Benefit the People, and Get Together the Hearts of the People’ and is broadly designed to “safeguard social stability.”
“While estimates of internment numbers remain speculative, the available evidence suggests that a significant percentage of Xinjiang’s Muslim minority population, likely at least several hundred thousand and possibly just over one million are or have been interned in political re-education facilities,” Zenz said in his report released this week.
“Official public tenders indicate the construction of such facilities on city, county, township and village levels. Overall, it is possible that the region’s re-education system exceeds the size of China’s entire former ‘education through labour’ system that was officially abolished in 2013,” Zenz wrote.
Zenz calls it the most “intense campaign of coercive social engineering since the Cultural Revolution”.
“The state’s proclaimed ‘war on terror’ in the region is increasingly turning into a war on religion, ethnic languages and other expressions of ethnic identity. Even more than before, the boundaries between state security, stability maintenance and ethnic assimilation are becoming blurred,” Zenz wrote.