Propaganda on Overdrive for Xinjiang Anniversary

Propaganda on Overdrive for Xinjiang Anniversary

October 1 marked not only China’s National Day, but also the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. To mark the occasion, government authorities and state media have been highlighting “ethnic unity” and economic progress in a troubled region that is currently the center of a nationwide crackdown on terrorism. In a report for The Guardian, Tom Phillips contrasts the anniversary propaganda with descriptions of heightened security measures and ethnic tension in Xinjiang:

As Beijing celebrates the 60th birthday of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region this month, Communist party officials have decked out the region’s cities and towns in a garish blaze of multi-coloured propaganda.

[…] In fact, there is little normal about the backdrop to Xinjiang’s 60th anniversary, which comes amid growing ethnic tension and, many also suspect, bloodletting.

In the capital, Urumqi, primary schools are fenced off by yellow and black barricades – installed after a May 2014 bomb attack that was blamed on Uighur extremists and led Beijing to launch a crackdown dubbed the “people’s war” on terror.

Armoured vehicles, flanked by soldiers with automatic weapons, sit outside mosques, public squares and amusement parks, partly the consequence of deadly ethnic riots in 2009 that claimed about 200 lives.

[…] During a visit to Shache, a county in Xinjiang’s extreme west that witnessed one of last year’s bloodiest incidents, [CCP Politburo Standing Committee member] Yu [Zhengsheng], praised locals for standing on “the frontline of terror”. “Different ethnic groups should be united together like pomegranate seeds,” he added.

[…] [Xinjiang expert James] Leibold said the immense propaganda campaign underway in Xinjiang about ethnic unity was “really about trying to convince people that there is something that doesn’t exist really on a day-to-day basis.”

“You wouldn’t need to have that message of unity if there was unity.” […] [Source]

Tweeting from Xinjiang, The New York Times’ Andrew Jacobs introduced two of the government propaganda agents overseeing his news crew:


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