China’s tense far-western region of Xinjiang will conduct a “re-education” drive against separatist unrest in the wake of attacks during the Olympics, with its Party chief vowing preemptive attacks on foes.
Wang Lequan, the hardline Communist Party boss, told officials that a sweeping propaganda campaign was needed to fight separatism in Xinjiang, where mostly Muslim Uighurs have bucked at Chinese influence and religious controls, the Xinjiang Daily reported on Wednesday.
Wang spelt out measures to tie the region more closely to the rest of China and to Communist Party control — measures that are sure to draw criticism from advocates of an independent “East Turkestan” homeland for Uighurs.
The re-education campaign will seek to enhance “identification with the Chinese nation and Chinese culture”, Wang said, promising measures to spread teaching in Mandarin Chinese among Uighur children.
A month after a brutal terrorist attack near its front entrance, the three-storey Yijin Motel in this largely Uygur city re-opened for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan:
China’s westernmost city saw a sharp drop in the number of tourists this year, but the faithful have flocked here for this holiest of months in the Muslim calendar. Life in this oasis on the edge of the Taklimakan Desert seems to have returned to normal.
“Most of our guests are Uygurs, so we only have Uygur signs in our rooms. We’re doing fine, only that tourism here has been bad in general because of the violence this year,” a Yijin staff member told China Daily. “But the degree of tension has been exaggerated by outside media. I’ve been in Kashgar for more than 40 years; people get along here just like they do elsewhere.”