Chinese Regime Continues to Repress Uyghurs in Xinjiang Despite International Pressure
Commentary by Zhong Yuan
October 7, 2020
The suppression of Muslim Uyghurs in China’s farwestern region of Xinjiang by the Chinese regime has once again become the focus at the United Nations. French President Macron also called for an official investigation at the U.N. General Assembly in September. Despite international criticism, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to act recklessly and feels justified about implementing repressive policies in Xinjiang.
What is the Purpose of the Work Forum on Xinjiang?
China’s top leadership, including seven powerful members of the Chinese Communist Party’s Standing Committee, held the third Work Forum on Xinjiang on Sept. 25 and 26. The theme was about building a socialist Xinjiang.
The last Xinjiang Work Forum was held in 2014. This latest Forum was merely held as a formality to address international criticism against the regime’s tyranny.
But in fact, the CCP rejects criticism of China’s internal affairs. During the EU-China Leaders’ Meeting via videoconference on Sept. 14, European Union leaders raised the issue of human rights. Chinese leader Xi Jinping deflected criticism and said the Chinese people will not accept “an instructor” on human rights.
Xi’s speech at the Work Forum first listed and affirmed the “unprecedented achievements” of the regime’s efforts in Xinjiang and that “the Party’s policies on Xinjiang is perfectly right and must continue for the long term,” which includes the “sinicization of Islam” and “the core values of socialism.”
Xi demanded the entire Party to make “implementing the Party’s Xinjiang policies in the new era a political task, always maintaining the correct political orientation of the work related to Xinjiang.”
New Slogans Tell the Same Old Communist Story
Prior to the U.N. General Assembly, Xi Jinping’s slogan “community with a shared future for mankind” was removed from the Commemorative Declaration on the 75th Anniversary of the U.N. Charter. Of course, this is embarrassing to the regime. Xi’s propaganda team had to come up with new slogans to deceive the Chinese in the mainland, such as “community of the Chinese nation,” and a series of derivatives, including “community with the shared Chinese history,” “the pattern of multi-ethnic integration in the Chinese nation,” “the collective consciousness of the Chinese nation,” and the “cultural reinforcement project in Xinjiang” to ensure the direction that “upholds the sinicization of Islam in Xinjiang” is followed.
The CCP bureaucracy again tries to cover up various international embarrassments with new phrases to regain political momentum. Xi also demanded to “display Xinjiang stories in a multi-level, all-round, and three-dimensional manner,” and to “publicize Xinjiang’s excellent social stability” and “happiness.”
Not many people outside China are aware of how far the CCP would go in bolstering its own image. As for the mainland Chinese—under the situation of soaring unemployment, inflated meat prices, frequent natural disasters, and food shortage—they are worried about their livelihood and would care less about the political propaganda on Xinjiang.
Xi is struggling to hold on to his power. He demanded his cadres at all levels to “consciously maintain a high degree of ideological and political alignment with the core Party leadership” and to “ensure that the leadership at all levels is always firmly in the hands of loyal and responsible cadres.”
Nowadays, fabricated stories are hitting a dead end. The political power of the CCP is at stake. The top leaders should be worried every day. Officials at all levels are likely seeking their way out. Everyone knows the regime will fall apart on any day.
Xinjiang Officialdom is Collapsing
Xi Jinping knows that sanctions have left few authorities who would devote themselves to implement policies related to Xinjiang. Therefore, he said to “fully trust,” “boldly select and promote outstanding minority cadres” who “are politically strong and daring.”
Xi’s statement indicates that the local cadres in Xinjiang are ineffective. The so-called achievements in Xinjiang simply implied that the central decision is correct. Xi also said that “cadres of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are trustworthy and capable of fighting” and “effective measures should be studied and adapted to stabilize the cadre and talent team in Xinjiang.”
Obviously, sanctions have significantly destabilized the officialdom in Xinjiang. However, the high-level CCP officials can do nothing but continue praising its so-called “strategy in Xinjiang” in the Work Forum even though it only serves as another political show.
Premier Li Keqiang presided over the meeting, calling Xi’s speech “a guiding reference for governing Xinjiang in the new era.”
Vice Premier Wang Yang concluded that Xi’s speech is a “powerful ideological weapon” with “high-mindedness, profound thinking, and rich content,” that ought to be “highly publicized in an organized and dynamic manner.”
The audience at Work Forum was huge, including officials at all levels in Xinjiang, as well as members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China, party secretaries of the Secretariat, state councilors, presidents of the courts, chief prosecutors of the procuratorate, heads of financial institutions and state-owned firms, military leaders, and governors of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities.
However, if authorities continue to follow the central command to mess around in Xinjiang, more sanctions are likely to follow.
Zhong Yuan is a researcher focused on China’s political system, the country’s democratization process, human rights situation, and Chinese citizens’ livelihood. He began writing commentaries for the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times in 2020.