Recruiting Loyal Stabilisers: On the Banality of Carceral Colonialism in XinjiangOctober 25, 2019
China’s settler institution, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (兵团, bingtuan), is facilitating new waves of Han influx from Inner China (内地, neidi) to settle as farmers, civil servants, prison guards, police officers, and teachers. The totalitarian nature of such a massive human transfer is neutralised by the banal and procedural language of recruitment and employment—disguising the continued occupation and colonisation of Xinjiang.
Since . . . 2017, bingtuan recruitment notices have frequently appeared on the websites of provincial governments, colleges, and universities in Inner China . . . Unlike civil servant recruitment materials in other provinces, bingtuan advertisements utilise propaganda discourse typically reserved for Xinjiang and Tibet, such as ‘ethnic unity, national integrity and stability, anti-separatism, and illegal religious activities’ to get politically obedient and manageable individuals to settle in Xinjiang . . . the bingtuan legitimises itself as a perpetual settler institution in Xinjiang, and serves to cultivate colonial ideology and a sense of belonging for incoming generations of settlers.
Another stream that absorbs a huge number of Han labourers from Inner China is the ‘employment transfer’ (转移就业) programme, which targets less-educated farmers and workers under 40 years old. Households of Han settlers are particularly welcome . . . recruitment adverts clearly explain agricultural production, land area, working seasons, and annual income for the farmers, and offer full packages of social welfare that are unfathomable in the hometowns of the potential applicants.