Urumqi, China, Nov 18, 2019 / 17:01 pm
The Chinese government is defending its policy of mass detention and re-education of Muslims in the country's northwest as an appropriate measure against terrorism, following a New York Times report that showed the direct involvement of senior government officials in ordering the policy.
Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, criticized the newspaper’s report Nov. 18, saying it smeared China’s efforts against extremism, but not disputing the authenticity of the leaked documents, The Times reported Monday.
The Xinjiang government said the earlier Times article was “completely fabricated by hostile forces at home and abroad … America’s New York Times has again fabricated and concocted fake news about Xinjiang. This is nothing more than getting up to its old tricks, and is completely unworthy of refutation. This despicable conduct will surely be met with the contempt of wiser minds in the international community.”
The Times reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping laid the groundwork for the development of the mass detentions in a series of private speeches to officials in 2014 in which he called for “absolutely no mercy” toward 'terrorists'.
In Urumqi on April 30, 2014, Xi said that “the psychological impact of extremist religious thought on people must never be underestimated. People who are captured by religious extremism — male or female, old or young — have their consciences destroyed, lose their humanity and murder without blinking an eye.”
In another speech in Xinjiang, Xi stated: “There must be effective educational remolding and transformation of criminals … even after these people are released, their education and transformation must continue.”
According to the Times, 403 pages of documents, nearly half of which were speeches from Xi and other leaders, were leaked to it “by a member of the Chinese political establishment who … expressed hope that their disclosure would prevent party leaders, including Mr. Xi, from escaping culpability for the mass detentions.”
Among the documents, the Times said, are a model script for officials encountering returning university students who ask what has happened to their disappeared family members.