Crackdown in Xinjiang prevented another Syria or Libya, says China's state media

Police patrolling in a night food market near the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
Police patrolling in a night food market near the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - A Communist Party-run newspaper has issued a harsh rebuke to criticism of China’s security crackdown on its Muslim-dominated frontier, arguing that authorities had saved the region from becoming another Syria.

The Global Times said in an editorial on Monday (Aug 13) that China’s actions helped “salvage” the far western region of Xinjiang, which was on “the verge of massive turmoil”.

“It has avoided the fate of becoming ‘China’s Syria’ or China’s Libya,”’ the paper said in the editorial carried in both its Chinese and English editions.

The Global Times – a nationalistic tabloid published by the party’s People’s Daily newspaper – said that that Xinjiang had “no room for destructive Western public opinions.”

“We must hold onto our belief that keeping turmoil away from Xinjiang is the greatest human right,” the paper said.

A UN human rights panel said on Friday that it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China are held in what resembles a "massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy".

The Global Times said criticism of the rights record in Xinjiang was aimed at stirring trouble there and destroying hard-earned stability.

"There is no doubt that the current peace and stability in Xinjiang is partly due to the high intensity of regulations. Police and security posts can be seen everywhere in Xinjiang,"the paper wrote.

"But it's a phase that Xinjiang has to go through in rebuilding peace and prosperity and it will transition to normal governance." Maintaining peace and stability there is in the basic interest of people in Xinjiang and all of China, it added.

 
 

"The turnaround in Xinjiang's security situation has avoided a great tragedy and saved countless lives, thanks to powerful Chinese law and the strong ruling power of the Communist Party of China," the paper wrote.

"What the West has been hyping has destroyed numerous countries and regions. When the same evil influence was spreading in Xinjiang, it was decisively curbed." Xinjiang has "no room for destructive Western public opinions", and all steps must be taken to ensure its stability, it said.

"Peace and stability must come above all else. With this as the goal, all measures can be tried. We must hold onto our belief that keeping turmoil away from Xinjiang is the greatest human right." China's Foreign Ministry has not yet responded to a request for comment on the United Nations report.