Friday 6 December 2019

Show no mercy to ethnic minorities: Chinese president

Xi Jinping crackdown revealed by leaked documents

Ruthless: Xi Jinping has been president since 2013. Photo: Reuters
Ruthless: Xi Jinping has been president since 2013. Photo: Reuters

Jamie Fullerton

A tranche of leaked Communist Party documents have disclosed inside information about Beijing's crackdown on ethnic minorities, including how Chinese President Xi Jinping told officials to show "absolutely no mercy".

The cache of 403 documents given to 'The New York Times' was leaked by a person described as a "member of the Chinese political establishment".

The leak provided further evidence the crackdown against Uighur Muslims is happening in Xinjiang, a vast province in west China, despite the government's denials.

The documents, which include many pages of internal speeches by Mr Xi, showed that when the president visited Xinjiang in April 2014 he ordered officials to use the "organs of dictatorship" in a "struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism".

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He said they should show "absolutely no mercy". Mr Xi became China's president in 2013. In August 2016, Chen Quanguo, a senior party official who had previously worked in Tibet, was installed as Xinjiang's party secretary.

In October 2017, Mr Chen said in a speech recorded in the documents: "The struggle against terror and to safeguard stability is a protracted war, and also a war of offence."

In February that year, he told police to ready themselves for a "smashing, obliterating offensive" and gave orders to "round up everyone who should be rounded up".

More than a million members of ethnic minorities, primarily Muslim Uighurs, have been detained in prisons or internment camps in Xinjiang in the past three years.

Xinjiang camp survivors have reported torture, rape and medical experiments taking place in them. The police presence and surveillance methods in the province have effectively made it a police state, with Uighurs often sent to camps for making even small gestures of loyalty to their faith.

The documents feature a script for officials telling students returning home for holidays that their family members had been detained.

It suggests giving veiled threats about students' behaviour affecting loved ones' chances of being freed, and using language such as "infectious" and "illness" to describe terrorism-related thoughts.

The papers describe how officials who attempted to resist strongly implementing the crackdown have been crushed. A confession by Wang Yongzhi, who oversaw an area in Xinjiang called Yarkand, shows how he defied the party by releasing 7,000 inmates.

In 2018, Mr Wang was investigated for "gravely disobeying the party central leadership's strategy for governing Xinjiang".

The documents state that more than 12,000 officials had been investigated for not fully complying with the crackdown.

Elizabeth Warren, the US senator and Democratic presidential candidate hopeful, said: "The Chinese government's cruel, bigoted treatment of Muslims and ethnic minorities is a horrifying human rights violation." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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