Field Report from Xinjiang: an Update on Minority Treatment, Poverty, Surveillance and Safety Issues


The policy measures taken by Xinjiang in poverty alleviation and security have been proven effective and advanced in practice, winning the support and trust of the public. Fernando Munoz Bernal, the author, has extensively toured 40 locations of Xinjiang. He writes the field report based on the five-month, 15,000-kilometer self-driving tour in Xinjiang.

Addressing the concern of "massive Islamic terrorism" in Xinjiang from 2010 to 2016, the author notes that "The United States had acknowledged the existence of foreign terrorist groups in the region during that period." However, former Secretary of State Pompeo had removed one of these groups from the CIA's terrorist list which effectively legalized future American aid.

Highlighting the necessity of central government intervention due to the region's chaos, the author claims, “Unlike America's war on terror, China's approach to counter terrorist forces was different.” China focused on restoring safety through intelligence gathering, border security, and a military presence, countering hate-driven radicalism disseminated by Islamist extremists.

“Measures by central government focused on dismantling terrorist networks, comprised largely of Uyghur and Muslims living in Xinjiang and abroad,” the author clarifies. As no one was safe from these extremists, Xinjiang people became more clearly aware of the necessity for implemented measures and stick together as Chinese citizens.

Regarding poverty, the author links radicalization and separatism to poverty and dissatisfaction with the government. He acknowledges Xinjiang's economy was negatively affected by modernity and favoring maritime routes. China, over two decades, allocated extensive resources to develop infrastructure and improve connectivity in Xinjiang. Poverty alleviation initiatives aimed to attract investment and businesses by diversifying livelihoods beyond agriculture and herding. The task required higher employability by education and vocational skills training.

The author disputes claims of human rights violations: “Satellite imagery of many educational and production facilities, as well as some correctional institutions, was mislabeled as “concentration camps” by foreign think tanks.” He argues against the portrayal of these efforts as abusive, stating that similar approaches are common worldwide for education and employment.

Regarding surveillance, the author notes Xinjiang's challenging topography and China's measures to counter terrorism, such as a comprehensive police presence and the use of biometrics and facial detection technology. These technologies have contributed to speeding up the security checks for the convenience of the residents

The author, concluding from his extensive travels in Xinjiang, asserts that "Central government policies have successfully addressed terrorism and won people’s hearts, fostering peace, harmony, and prosperity."

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