RFA: Xinjiang Authorities Demand Suspected ‘Terrorists’ Turn Themselves in to Receive ‘Leniency’


Authorities in the mostly Uyghur-populated city of Kumul (in Chinese, Hami), in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), have issued a notice demanding that anyone who buys maps or refuses to watch state television turn themselves in within 30 days or face jail, according to state media, signaling an expansion in China’s definition of what defines “terrorism” in the region.

The two “crimes” are among “18 situations” listed by local authorities in a notice published on the official WeChat account of Hami Cyberspace Affairs Commission over the weekend in which suspects—that include those “influenced by the three evil forces” of separatism, extremism and terrorism—should give themselves up in the hopes of receiving leniency, the official Global Times reported Monday.

Spokesmen for Uyghur exile groups swiftly denounced the newly unveiled policy as the latest example of China criminalizing or labeling as terrorism routine cultural practices. Uyghurs have long chafed under intrusive Communist Party policies on food, facial hair and wedding and funeral practices, but since 2017, many aspects of Uyghur identity have been used as excuses to incarcerate them in camps.

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