Leaked Documents Detail Xi Jinping’s Extensive Role in Xinjiang CrackdownNovember 30, 2021
A panel of lawyers and activists in the U.K. has published what it describes as leaked Chinese government documents that shed additional light on the role leader Xi Jinping played in directing the Communist Party’s campaign of forcible assimilation against religious minorities in the country’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.
Copies of the documents, some marked top secret, describe internal speeches delivered by Mr. Xi and other senior party leaders regarding circumstances in Xinjiang between 2014 and 2017, the period when the assimilation campaign was conceived and launched.
The documents show Mr. Xi warning about the dangers of religious influence and unemployment among minorities, and emphasizing the importance of “population proportion,” or the balance between minorities and Han Chinese, for maintaining control in the region.
In another previously unpublished speech, Mr. Xi argued that “population proportion and population security are important foundations for long-term peace and stability.” The phrase was repeated word-for-word six years later by a senior Xinjiang official in warning that the Han Chinese share of the population in Uyghur-dominated southern Xinjiang was “too low” at 15%.
The documents show Mr. Xi drawing a distinction between “the pure spirit of religion” and religious extremism, arguing that “normal religious activities and the legal rights of the religious world must be protected.” But the Chinese leader also rails against what he describes as religious interference in matters of “secular life,” such as marriage, funerals and the finding of spouses, according to the documents.
The leaked documents also contain the text of a 2017 speech by Xinjiang Communist Party boss Chen Quanguo, in which he directly links the internment camps to orders from Beijing, listing them alongside the region’s mass surveillance platform as an example of efforts to “fully implement the central goal” laid out for Xinjiang by Mr. Xi.