Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Xinjiang officials to further encourage assimilation of Muslims and curtail illegal religious activities during a visit to the autonomous region Saturday.
“We should always give top priority to social stability,” Xi said in a meeting with local government officials in the capital, Urumqi. He stressed the importance of maintaining order and peace in Xinjiang and ensuring long-term stability.
Over the past decade, Xi has tightened China’s grip on the region, which is home to millions of Muslim Uyghurs, with additional state surveillance and an expansion of a labor program that Western critics say is tantamount to forced labor. China has denied any human rights abuses in Xinjiang, at one point calling the allegations “the lie of the century.”
Stability in Xinjiang is also key to increased local economic development, Xi said during his visit. The region can promote resources-based industries and is encouraged to build more agricultural and solar industrial parks, according to Xi. Economic cooperation and personnel exchanges between Xinjiang and inland provinces will be supported, he added.
Earlier this year, the U.S. expanded a ban on imports from Xinjiang, placing two more companies on its so-called entity list.
Source: The Japan Times