Surveillance in China’s Xinjiang Region: Ethnic Sorting, Coercion, and InducementMay 31, 2019
During one door-to-door sweep in Turpan in 2014, village-based work teams were instructed to root out individuals who instruct on religion, keep beards, wear full face veils or possess religious knowledge without official credentials. ‘You should set a time to visit them’, a local Party memo states, ‘and, if necessary, adopt forceful methods to get them to change in order to fully achieve the “three complete covers” of Party cells, stability maintenance work, and stability maintenance responsibility’ . . . In some cases, work teams are provided with a list of ‘extremist religious behaviour’ to assist them in their investigative work. One such 2014 list contains 75 items, which includes obvious signs such as advocating sharia law or inciting holy war, but also ‘unusual behaviour’ and ‘symptoms of religious extremism’. These less obvious signs include things like having a distorted view of Xinjiang history; wearing a veil, jilbab, or long beard; abstaining from alcohol and smoking; refusing to allow ones children to learn Mandarin or vilifying bilingual education, and also more prosaic actions like amassing a large quantity of food at home; pray together outside of mosque; and purchasing dumbbells, boxing gloves or other strengthening equipment without an obvious reason.