For residents of China’s far west Xinjiang province, the “perfect police state” has descended upon them. The central government has cracked down on separatism and the movement for Uyghur autonomy, and sent thousands of military men to the province in a show of fascist strength. Since the start of the year, the central government has conducted dozens of military parades through the streets of Kashgar, Urumqi, and Aksu. “All the roads are blocked,” said a police officer in Kashgar, with a 12-gauge shotgun slung across his chest.
Shopkeepers peeped from their closed doors as propaganda bannersfloated by reading, “Unity and stability are blessings! Separatism and unrest are a curse!” and “Let all those terrorists who dare to be enemies of the people be smashed to pieces!
Since last year, when strongman Chen Quanguo was deployed to Xinjiang, daily life has come under increasingly draconian control. Checkpoints have popped up in cities, activists have been arrested, passports confiscated and GPS trackers have been installed on cars across the province. “I haven’t seen so many roadblocks since the last time I was in Hebron,” said a European traveller who had come to the region in search of the Silk Road but had instead stumbled across scenes from a conflict zone.
China has been holding on dearly to a sense of unity in the outlying provinces. Increasing securitization has been the only way for the central government to maintain a grip over areas pushing for autonomy. Rather than increasing the standard of living for the residents of these regions, Beijing has been spending thousands of dollars beefing up security and everyday control over locals. All this as capitalist forces and de-development push people into greater and greater depravity. “This is hell for me,” said one Kashgari, “I would prefer to be a Syrian refugee than Chinese.”
Meanwhile the military parades go on unabated. Over 30,000 new security jobs were posted this year alone for Xinjiang. China has become the perfect police state. Welcome to the new normal.
Taken from Adbusters Issue #134
By Louis Plottel,
with material from Tom Phillips and the Guardian