After recent outbursts of violence in Xinjiang, in far western China, Chinese communist authorities dispatched an “elite” anti-terrorism squad to carry out “anti-terrorist missions” on Saturday.
China’s state media reported that the “Snow Leopard Commando Unit” will enter Southern Xinjiang, while troop deployments in other areas of Xinjiang will be extended as part of the “anti-terrorism operation.”
The move is seen as part of the regime’s suppression and intimidation of Uyghurs, however. Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), criticized the regime for exerting psychological and political intimidation against Uyghurs under the banner of anti-terrorism. But doing so will only deepen the Uighurs’ discontentment, he told The Epoch Times.
Twenty “stability maintenance patrol vehicles” were deployed in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, on Aug. 9 and 10, according to iyaxin.com, a news portal in Xinjiang.
A man calling himself only Gao, a resident of Northern Xinjiang, told The Epoch Times that, besides military stationing in Xinjiang, Domestic Security officers and military police also stopped and questioned Uighur on streets. Domestic Security forces are a much-feared unit that surveil and crack down on Chinese dissidents, often using extralegal and brutal means.
The authorities also extended the anti-terrorism operation to the grassroots, recruiting civilian informers.
Hu Jun, a human rights activist in Xinjiang, told The Epoch Times that the authorities are operating a defense alliance of the people in Xinjiang. Military police patrol the streets around-the-clock and helicopters hover over the city constantly. People feel the situation is very tense, he said.
Three incidents of violence broke out in Xinjiang’s Hotan and Kashgar last month, among which the two incidents in Kashgar at the end of July left at least 20 people dead.
Beijing blames terrorists for the violence, but overseas Uyghur groups criticize the Chinese regime’s coercive and restrictive ethnic policies.
Dilxat Raxit said the regime’s repression has made Uyghurs feel unsafe at home, because Chinese security forces can make forced entry into people’s houses, and take people away for detention at any time, without going through any procedures.
He said local residents told him that if a Uyghur refuses to cooperate or attempts to resist during a search, security forces are allowed to shoot to kill on the spot. “This has completely deprived Uyghur of the rights to use judicial process to defend and appeal,” he said.