Families living in the predominantly Muslim region of China’s Xinjiang are required to accommodate Chinese officials as part of the government’s Strike Hard campaign, the Human Rights Watch reported on Sunday. Authorities said that the initiative was designed to “safeguard social stability”.
During these visits or “home stays”, families are required to provide officials with information about their lives and political views, and are even subjected to political indoctrination. “Muslim families across Xinjiang are now literally eating and sleeping under the watchful eye of the state in their own homes,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The latest drive adds to a whole host of pervasive and perverse controls on everyday life in Xinjiang.”
Since 2014, nearly two lakh cadres from government agencies, state-owned enterprises and public institutions have regularly visited families in the region. Earlier this year, Xinjiang authorities extended the “home stay” programme wherein cadres would spend at least five days every two months with the families. Human Rights Watch reported that there was no evidence to suggest families could refuse to host the cadres.
Xinjiang is home to nearly 11 million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities. While staying with the families, cadres promote the “Xi Jinping Thought” and explain the Chinese Communist Party’s “care” and “selflessness” in its policies toward Xinjiang. They also warn people against the dangers of “pan-Islamism,” “pan-Turkism,” and “pan-Kazakhism”. They are also entrusted to impose a sense of ethnic unity between the families and the Han majority.