As part of “stability maintenance” policies, authorities demand local businesses to implement costly “counterterrorist” measures.
Xinjiang authorities consider the so-called “stability maintenance” as its top priority policy, adopting all kinds of measures to ensure it. One of the ways the CCP does this is by using its suppressive powers to affect the small local businesses, forcing shop-owners to obey the authorities’ absurd and unreasonable demands. School teachers and students are also demanded to actively participate in “anti-terrorist” activities, pushing the primary task of schools to the sidelines.
Authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region’s Shawan county require every store to install anti-vehicle sidewalk barriers in front of shop entrances. The barriers are 1.5-meter-long steel columns, filled with cement and sand, 70 centimeters of which goes below the ground, and 80 centimeters above. The above-ground portion must be painted with yellow and black stripes, and the columns must be installed to form a straight line.
Those who do not execute this task are punished and reprimanded. If, after this, the shop-owners still don’t install the barriers, they will be locked up in a transformation through education camp, in other words, undergo behavior training. Shop owners are angry by this because installing the barriers isn’t cheap. Each post cost 360 RMB (about $52). When shop-owners, like the one in Shawan county who said the government demanded the barriers be installed, complained, the price was lowered by 100 RMB each.
But the governments’ demands on shop-owners doesn’t stop there: A shop-owner revealed that police in Hami city said stores must buy China Telecom cellphones and SIM cards. The cellphones must be on 24 hours a day, so that if the police have a way of communication to summon the shop-owners, meaning that they, too, must be available around the clock. If the small-business owners don’t come when summoned, they will be arrested. One farm (a township-level administrative unit in Xinjiang) even stipulated that if anyone’s cell phone is powered off and they can’t be reached, their wages or pension will be garnished. They may also face being arrested.
According to this shop-owner, the police can inspect their cellphones at any time, because there are monitoring devices installed on each of them. Shop owners are even afraid of chatting with each other, for fear of saying the wrong thing and being arrested. He added that the government had ordered all shops to install high-definition surveillance cameras with audio capabilities, the cost of which exceeds 2,000 RMB (about $290).
“People can’t live like this. Several stores have closed down,” the shop-owner said.
Bitter Winter previously reported that Xinjiang authorities have implemented a “ten household joint defense” policy and how this policy is ruining small businesses. Shop-owners are required to be equipped with stab-resistant clothing, batons, shields, helmets and a one-button alarm. They must also, and frequently, participate in “anti-terrorism” training. If anyone does not participate, they will be ordered to suspend their business and will also be sent to a “study class.”
It is reported that shop-owners must also take turns patrolling the streets dressed in heavily armed attire. Some shop-owners don’t operate their businesses in the winter, but during this period, they are still required to take part patrolling the streets. Under this high-pressure policy, many shop-owners have been unable to maintain their businesses and have had to shutter their stores.
Aside from shop-owners, maintenance-stability drills are also being conducted at schools. In one regiment in Xinjiang, middle school teachers must also participate in drills. Even if they are in the middle of teaching classes, as soon as a notification is broadcasted, teachers must put down their books and rush out of the classroom immediately to participate in group drills. During the drills, teachers are also required to answer maintenance-stability test questions. Those who cannot answer the questions are not allowed to go home for meals. Students are no exception either; they, too, must participate in “maintaining stability.” Every afternoon, all of the school’s students must patrol within the regiment until around 1 a.m. Checkpoints have been set up at every intersection and supermarket, creating a chilling atmosphere.
The school’s principal gave an order to all teachers and students: “The quality of students’ learning is no longer the main task for teachers. Stability-maintenance work is Xinjiang’s top priority. Farmers do not have to engage in production, and teachers do not have to teach; everybody must participate in stability-maintenance work.”
Reported by Li Zaili