Xin­jiang res­i­dents must turn in pass­ports

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

BEI­JING: All res­i­dents in China’s restive re­gion of Xin­jiang must hand in their pass­ports to lo­cal po­lice sta­tions for “ex­am­i­na­tion and man­age­ment”, the Global Times news­pa­per said yes­ter­day.

“Any­one who needs the pass­port must ap­ply to the po­lice sta­tion,” an anony­mous po­lice of­fi­cer in Aksu pre­fec­ture told the pa­per, adding that the pol­icy had been im­ple­mented through­out Xin­jiang.

Many mem­bers of the more than 10 mil­lion-strong Mus­lim Uighur mi­nor­ity in the re­gion com­plain of dis­crim­i­na­tion – in­clud­ing de­nials of pass­port ap­pli­ca­tions – as well as con­trols on their cul­ture and re­li­gion.

The Global Times ar­ti­cle fol­lowed nu­mer­ous re­ports from cities across the re­gion of tight­ened pass­port con­trols.

In mid-Oc­to­ber, the pub­lic se­cu­rity bu­reau of Shi­hezi city posted a di­rec­tive on a ver­i­fied so­cial me­dia ac­count ask­ing res­i­dents to hand in their pass­ports to po­lice, stat­ing: “Those who refuse to hand them in will bear the re­spon­si­bil­ity them­selves should there be con­se­quences such as be­ing for­bid­den to go abroad.” The post was later deleted. Pho­tos of other no­tices posted on so­cial me­dia showed po­lice sta­tions in var­i­ous coun­ties and in the re­gional cap­i­tal Urumqi re­quest­ing cit­i­zens hand in pass­ports or stat­ing that new doc­u­ments would no longer be is­sued.

An­gry ques­tions about the new re­stric­tions abounded on Chi­nese so­cial me­dia.

“I didn’t spend time and money get­ting a pass­port to be­come the fo­cus of the gov­ern­ment’s safe­guard­ing or to ask for their in­struc­tions ev­ery time I go out on hol­i­day,” said one in­censed user, from the bor­der dis­trict of Tacheng, on the Twit­ter-like Sina Weibo plat­form.

“If cit­i­zens can­not en­joy even ba­sic rights, how can we live? Would the gov­ern­ment please give me a sen­si­ble rea­son for this?”

A sec­ond said: “Xin­jiang is be­com­ing stranger and stranger, re­gress­ing as time goes on.”

In June, lo­cal state-run me­dia re­ported that the mostly Kazakh res­i­dents of a Xin­jiang bor­der dis­trict had to give po­lice DNA sam­ples, fin­ger­prints, voiceprints and a “three-di­men­sional im­age” in or­der to ap­ply for cer­tain travel doc­u­ments, in­clud­ing pass­ports.

A Xin­jiang of­fi­cial told the pa­per the new pol­icy tight­en­ing was in­tended to main­tain so­cial or­der in the re­gion. – AFP

Res­cue work­ers search the site where the power plant's cool­ing tower, which was un­der con­struc­tion, col­lapsed in Fengcheng yes­ter­day.

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