While the first ever China-Eurasia Expo in the northwestern Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang is much celebrated by China’s communist authorities, the expo has brought much inconvenience to the local Uyghur residents ever since it opened on Thursday.
To eliminate any chance of uprisings among a population that has long been discontent under the communist regime’s suppression, Chinese authorities have stepped up security.
They have deployed 20,000 troops, sent "anti-terror" vehicles to patrol on land, deployed military aircraft to patrol from the air, banned all flights into the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi and its neighboring cities, forced many stores and restaurants to temporarily close down, dispersed any crowd of 10 people or more, suspended local phone communications, and put main airports throughout the country on high alert.
“Vendors were removed for the fear that their stands would harm the city’s image," a local resident told Radio Free China. "Store owners were asked to wear red badges and to keep a lookout for possible suspects. Everyone is complaining about the preventive measures. The government cares only about its face.”
Another resident told the news agency that all major roads between the airport and the expo are closed and that residents won’t be allowed to open their residential windows until the expo’s closing ceremony wraps up.
“Now wine shops and nearby hotels are guarded by many police who prevent anybody from getting in or getting out," a local resident surnamed Han said. "Armed police and armies are patrolling everywhere. Downtown stores were forced to close down."
Although supposedly aimed to promote the Uyghur-populated Urumqi to Central, West, and South Asian and European countries, only a few Uyghur merchants were seen at the expo. Aside from them, the only other Uyghurs were state-run media outlets’ reporters or government officials, according to Reuters.
The RFA learned that stores throughout the city that sell Uyghur crafts were forced to close ahead of the expo’s opening ceremony. Upon the request of the Civil Aviation Administration, cargo and mail deliveries are suspended from Aug. 27 to Sept. 7.
Read the original Chinese article.