By Safvan Allahverdi
WASHINGTON (AA) - Leaked files Saturday revealed an unprecedented inside view of the Chinese continuing clampdown on ethnic Uighurs in China’s autonomous Xinjiang province.
Chinese President Xi Jinping urged security forces to “show absolutely no mercy” to minorities, as cited by the New York Times, which obtained 403 pages of internal government documents.
The documents included nearly 200 pages of internal speeches by Xi and other leaders, and more than 150 pages of directives and reports on surveillance and control of the Uighur population in Xinjiang.
“We must be as harsh as them,” Xi stressed after inspecting a counterterrorism police squad in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.
Xi also urged his party to emulate aspects of the U.S. “war on terror” after the Sept. 11 terror attacks
On Sept.11, 2001, Al-Qaeda terrorists flew hijacked jets into the New York City's Twin Towers and the Pentagon, defining an era of religious, political and cultural tensions. A third plane crashed into a empty filed in Pennsylvania.
In 2003, a coalition led by the U.S. and U.K. invaded Iraq on the pretext that Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein had biological weapons.
Referring to the U.S. invasion in Iraq after the 9/11 attacks, Xi said China “must make the public an important resource in protecting national security.”
The reports also highlighted how the Chinese government use dictatorship as a tool of eradicating radical Islam in Xingang.
Regarding minority students who left the country to receive education abroad, they would be told when they returned that “their relatives had been infected by the virus of Islamic radicalism.”
The officials would say their relatives received “treatment for exposure to radical Islam” when asked where were their parents.
“If they don’t undergo study and training, they’ll never thoroughly and fully understand the dangers of religious extremism,” the documents said, referring to the Syrian war and the emergence of an Islamic State.
“No matter what age, anyone who has been infected by religious extremism must undergo study,” it stressed.
The documents showed the indoctrination and interrogation process of authorities in Xinjiang to transform Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims into secular and loyal supporters of the party.
As many as 1 million people, or about 7% of Xinjiang’s Muslim population, have been incarcerated in a sprawling network of "political re-education" camps, according to U.S. and UN studies.
Last September, the New York-based Human Rights Watch released a report accusing Beijing of a "systematic campaign of human rights violations" against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
Beijing says that its camps in Xinjiang are "vocational training centers.” China and the U.S. are in the throes of a trade war, which has seen both sides slap tariffs on imports and attempt several rounds of negotiations.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar