In the name of “maintaining stability,” the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Committee in Xinjiang have arrested Falun Gong practitioners, human rights defenders, religious personnel, and ethnic minorities without legal formalities or procedures.
The authorities have also established “education and retraining centres” in every city and county. Those detained face physical and mental torture. In Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, there are 33 such detention centres.
The Xinjiang government heavily restricts the flow of information. According to internal sources, the total number of illegally detained people are around one million, with more being arrested every day.
Since Party Secretary Chen Quanguo took power in Xinjiang, Falun Gong practitioners in the region have faced the most severe persecution since it began in July 20, 1999. Those who do not cooperate have almost all personal freedoms restricted. Because governmental agencies share information online, practitioners who refuse to renounce Falun Gong are no longer able to work, live normally, or use public transportation.
Before and after the CCP’s 19th National Congress last year, the Xinjiang government and Political and Legal Affairs Committee ordered local police to question all Falun Gong practitioners and ask whether they intended to continue practicing. Those who answered in the affirmative were sent to detention centres, put on wanted lists, or placed under house arrest.
Advanced security checkpoints have now been installed at city and county borders, entrances to government facilities, markets, shopping malls, hotels, factories, and mining units.
Everyone entering or exiting such places is required to scan their ID card. As a result, several Falun Gong practitioners who were listed as wanted were immediately taken to the nearest police station. Several practitioners in other areas were arrested at security checkpoints for airplanes or trains.
Most persecution cases in the region have not been reported due to fear of retaliation by government officials. For example, I know of the forced displacement of four people, including Liu Hong, a practitioner in Urumqi.
The Xinjiang government has given local administrations unlimited power to investigate and detain anyone in their jurisdiction. Local administrations can exercise power over industry and commerce and arbitrarily drive away residents and merchants. Falun Gong practitioners have thus become subjects of arbitrary harassment, monitoring, and arrests–all without legal procedures.
Many practitioners have been harassed and arrested in remote areas. They have not been reported in a timely manner due to the lack of internet access. The situation has become very serious.
The Xinjiang government has escalated its coercion and persecution of all ethnic groups. In particular, community and village administrations require residents to raise the national flag and sing the anthem every morning. They are forced to study CCP doctrine every night. Those who resist are immediately taken to re-education centres, including a case I know of ten ethnic Han people in one village in Shawan County. These detentions do not have term limits.
Government employees are not exempt from the intimidation and brainwashing; anyone holding views that differ from official policy is also taken to a re-education centre.