China's Xi makes first Xinjiang visit since crackdown | Inquirer News

China’s Xi makes first Xinjiang visit since crackdown

/ 02:28 PM July 15, 2022
Supporters of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement rally in front of the British Embassy ahead of an April 22 vote in the British House of Commons on whether or not to declare that a genocide is underway in Xinjiang province and Chinas treatment of the Uyghur Muslims on April 16, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Supporters of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement rally in front of the British Embassy ahead of an April 22 vote in the British House of Commons on whether or not to declare that a genocide is underway in Xinjiang province and Chinas treatment of the Uyghur Muslims on April 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Beijing, China — Chinese President Xi Jinping made a public visit to Xinjiang, state media reported Friday, his first since a crackdown in the region saw Beijing accused of detaining over a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in camps.

The United States and lawmakers in other Western countries have labelled China’s actions in Xinjiang a “genocide,” imposing sanctions over the alleged human rights abuses.

ADVERTISEMENT

Beijing has denied the allegations, calling them the “lie of the century” and insisting that its policies have helped combat the threat of Islamic extremism.

State news agency Xinhua said Xi hailed the strides made during an inspection tour of the far-western region — his first since 2014, when three people were killed in an attack that presaged the start of the mass detention campaign three years later.

FEATURED STORIES

He also reportedly praised the work of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a sprawling paramilitary organization sanctioned by the United States for alleged human rights abuses.

The group had made “great progress” in reform and development, Xinhua reported Xi as saying during a Wednesday trip to the city of Shihezi in the region’s north.

State media footage showed Xi speaking to students and local officials, taking in a song and dance performance, and receiving rapturous applause from residents in traditional clothing.

The Chinese leader’s sojourn to Xinjiang comes after a similarly rare visit earlier this month to another formerly restive territory, Hong Kong, where authorities have come down hard on the city’s once-thriving pro-democracy movement.

It also comes ahead of a key party congress later this year, when Xi is widely expected to break with decades of Communist Party precedent and secure a third consecutive term at the helm of the world’s second-largest economy.

‘Arbitrary and indiscriminate’

Rights campaigners accuse China of a litany of abuses in Xinjiang, including mass incarceration, forced labor, compulsory sterilization, and the destruction of Uyghur cultural and religious sites.

Beijing vehemently rejects the claims and insists the centers are vocational and voluntary training facilities.

ADVERTISEMENT

It claims the allegations are part of a plot by the United States and other Western nations to smear China and contain its rise.

During a rare visit to China in May, Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations’ human rights chief, urged Beijing to avoid “arbitrary and indiscriminate” measures in Xinjiang.

But she acknowledged the harm caused by “violent acts of extremism” and declined to call her trip an “investigation.”

Bachelet’s remarks were criticized by campaigners and former detainees, who accused her of capitulating to a stage-managed tour of the region orchestrated by Beijing.

RELATED STORIES:

China database reveals the thousands detained in Xinjiang

US lawmakers call for UN Uyghur rights report before China’s Olympics

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Chinese human rights abuses, Chinese President Xi Jingping, Uyghurs, world news, Xinjiang
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.