Xi Jinping says ‘Sinicizing Islam’ should continue in Xinjiang

The leader defends the Worker’s Party’s policy towards Xinjiang

uighurs-china-reuters [File] Uighur women stand next to a street to wait for a bus in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang | Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday told a high-level party meeting its approach is bringing stability and prosperity to Xinjiang and the policy must continue ‘for a very long time’. China has been criticised by Western countries, including the US, for putting Uighur Muslims into camps for ‘vocational training’. 

Rights groups have said that the Uighurs and other minority Muslims are being kept in inhumane conditions, where they are being forced into labour, being subjected to political indoctrination and women being forcibly sterilised. Xi Jinping, at the party’s Third Central Symposium on Xinjiang Work, defended their totally ‘correct’ policies towards Xinjiang. 

Close to 2 million Uighur are said to have been detained in these camps and, according to the US State Department, been allegedly subject to abuse under the guise of de-radicalisation efforts. "The whole party must treat the implementation of the Xinjiang strategy as a political task, and work hard to implement it completely and accurately to ensure that the Xinjiang work always maintains in the correct political direction. We must also continue the direction of Sinicizing Islam to achieve the healthy development of religion. It is necessary to tell the story of Xinjiang in a multi-level, all-round, and three-dimensional manner, and confidently propagate the excellent social stability of Xinjiang,” the state media recorded Xi Jinping as saying. 

Muslims in the region had been facing restrictions even before the detaining began. They had limits on wearing the veil or growing beards, to pressure not to fast during Ramadan. French President Emmanuel Macron called for an official investigation into Xinjiang while speaking at the UN General Assembly this month. The US House of Representatives, last week, overwhelmingly approved a bill called the ‘Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act,’ which aims to prohibit certain imports from Xinjiang and impose sanctions on those responsible for human rights violations in the region.


📣 The Week is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TheWeekmagazine) and stay updated with the latest headlines